When commercial drivers face a criminal charge, the first thing they want to know is whether they will lose their license. Under state and federal law, CDL holders operate under tougher restrictions than ordinary drivers.

If you are charged with an offense that could result in suspension or revocation of your CDL, you have very limited time from the date of the citation to ask for a hearing. This means it is important to act fast and speak with an experienced attorney about the best way to handle your case.

Lower BAC limit

In addition to all the regular types of DUI offenses, CDL drivers can also face charges of excess BAC if their blood alcohol count reaches .04 percent or higher. For everyone else, the DUI per se threshold is .08 percent BAC, and a BAC of .04 percent would not result in charges unless the driver was actually impaired. For a CDL holder, it does not matter if his or her driving was at all affected by the alcohol; once the reading is there, so are grounds for charges.

DUI offenses that affect a CDL

Offenses that can affect your CDL include any type of DUI, including excess BAC DUI, refusing chemical testing, driving without a valid CDL and abandoning an accident scene. Typically, a first offense in South Dakota will result in a minimum of one year’s suspension, or three years if your truck contained hazardous cargo while you were committing the offense. A second offense leads to lifetime revocation. In addition, you will still need to deal with whatever criminal penalties are assigned to the offense you are charged with.

These penalties typically apply whether you were driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense or not. You can also face suspension or revocation of your South Dakota CDL based on an out-of-state offense and conviction.

Reinstatement

A CDL holder under a lifetime suspension can apply for reinstatement starting 10 years after the revocation. This entails successfully completing a voluntary, approved alcohol or drug rehab program. You can only get reinstatement once – if you commit another offense, there will be no second chance.