Drive down any major highway in Illinois. You will see thousands of trucks bound for locations across the country. These 18-wheelers deliver raw materials and the finished goods we use every day. You’ve heard the slogan, “If you bought it, a truck brought it.” Nothing could be truer.
The federal government regulates interstate commerce and the trucks that use the highways. The federal government is charged with promoting highway safety. As such, truck drivers are subject to significant state and federal regulation. A person must obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to drive 18-wheelers (and other large vehicles) in Illinois. One must have a CDL to drive 18-wheelers and to earn a living as a CDL holder. Losing a CDL because of a Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI) charge can lead to immediate job loss and have devastating legal and financial consequences.
Steven Herzberg uses his extensive experience defending CDL holders charged with DUI to reach the best result for the client. Steven Herzberg takes quick action to try to preserve your CDL, immediately filing court pleadings to fight the Statutory Summary Suspension/Disqualification (SSS/D) of a CDL following a DUI arrest and, in appropriate circumstances, beginning negotiation with the prosecutor.
A person with an Illinois CDL is licensed to drive commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles. CDL holders are federally regulated because drivers often travel between states. An arrest of a CDL holder for DUI in Illinois implicates federal and state statutes. A DUI arrest effects on a CDL holder to drive passenger vehicles only implicates state statutes.
The legal limit for alcohol, when driving a passenger vehicle is .08 g/210L, the same as a non-CDL holder. The limit is reduced to .04g/210L, when the CDL holder is driving a commercial vehicle. A limit is further reduced to .02g/210L if the CDL holder is transporting hazardous materials.
A DUI arrest has a civil and criminal component. A CDL holder suffers stricter consequences on the ability to legally drive a truck following a DUI arrest when compared with the consequences on the ability to legally drive a passenger vehicle.
First, the civil consequences to a CDL holder. Failure to complete chemical testing or completing chemical testing with a result in violation of the DUI statute leads to a 12-month CDL SSS/D for a first offender. The SSS/D begins on the 46th day after arrest. A second failure to complete chemical testing or completing testing with a result in violation of the DUI statute results in a lifetime CDL SSS/D on the 46th day after arrest. Prompt action gives the CDL holder the best chance to win rescission of the SSS/D, possibly before the SSS/D begins. A rescission is the reversal of the SSS/D, so the record of the SSS/D is not on your driving record.
As with any criminal charge, the burden is on the State to prove the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of violating the DUI statute. If you are a first-time DUI offender and the State meets its burden of proof at trial or you plead guilty, you will suffer a one-year disqualification of your CDL. This is true, even if sentenced to Court Supervision. Your license to drive a passenger vehicle will not be affected if you successfully complete a sentence of Court Supervision. This is because federal regulation considers Court Supervision a conviction, unlike the Illinois Secretary of State. A second DUI conviction will result in a permanent revocation of a CDL. It will also cause the Illinois Secretary of State to revoke your license to drive passenger vehicles.
There are many possible outcomes for a CDL holder charged with DUI. Each case has different facts and each person charged has different goals for the outcome of the case. Time is very important in all DUI cases. This is especially true for a CDL holder. Contact Steven Herzberg today if you are a CDL holder and arrested for DUI. Steve has defended dozens of CDL holders arrested and charged with DUI in Illinois.