Practice Areas

CDL Disqualification for DUI Charges in Ohio

Is your CDL at risk after a DUI charge? Call LHA right away at (513) 338-1890 to schedule a free consultation.

As a commercial driver, you are held to a higher standard than other motorists. This higher standard is not only because you need to uphold your employer’s image of safety and professionalism, it is also due to the fact you drive large, heavy vehicles that could cause significant damage and death. If you are negligent behind the wheel, it is likely that lives will be lost. That is why an arrest or conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated is taken very seriously in Ohio.

As a commercial driver’s license holder, you can expect a DUI/OVI arrest or conviction to take away your livelihood for a period of time. That is why it is essential you fight any allegations of drunk driving. Experienced Cincinnati DUI defense attorney Brad Groene from Luftman, Heck & Associates knows the real consequences of CDL disqualification for a DUI and will fight for your right to drive and provide for your family.

To learn more about your options, contact us today at (513) 338-1890.

The Effects of a DUI/OVI Arrest on Your CDL

A DUI/OVI arrest can have an immediate effect on your CDL depending on the circumstances. If you are arrested for a DUI after blowing at or above the legal limit, or after refusing to take a breath test, then the police will take away your normal driver’s license and CDL. This is a civil administrative license suspension (ALS), not a criminal penalty. You will be given a temporary permit to drive on, which will only let you operate your personal vehicle. For a BAC at or above the legal limit, your suspension is automatically for 90 days. For a failure to submit to a chemical test, the suspension is for one year.

The only way in which you may be able to retain your license after a DUI arrest is if you were taken into custody despite agreeing to a chemical test and not having a BAC at or above the legal limit. You can be arrested for a DUI/OVI based on impairment caused by illegal substances or prescription medications. In this situation, you BAC may be zero, yet there might be probable cause to arrest you. At this time, your license may or may not be suspended.

The Legal Limit for Commercial Drivers

If you were driving your commercial vehicle at the time of the traffic stop, then the legal limit for alcohol in your system is .04 percent – not the normal .08 percent. As a commercial driver, a BAC at or above .04 percent will result in a DUI arrest and ALS. If you were driving your personal vehicle at the time and blow at or above .08 percent, then you will lose your driving privileges, including your CDL.

Limited Driving Privileges Do Not Apply to CDLs

You have the option to challenge an ALS. You must file a request for a hearing within 30 days and will likely only have the ALS lifted if you can show you did not refuse a chemical test, did not have a BAC at or over the legal limit, or the underlying traffic stop was unlawful. It can be very difficult to prove an ALS is not appropriate, though not impossible. It depends on the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop and arrest.

If either of those circumstances existed, then your next option is to seek limited driving privileges after a period of time. However, limited driving privileges will only count toward your personal license and vehicle. There are no limited driving privileges for CDLs.

You Will Need to Notify Your Employer Immediately

If you are arrested for a DUI, you will have to let your employer know immediately. With your CDL license disqualified, you will not be allowed to drive your vehicle back to work, your home, or another safe area. Your vehicle may sit by the side of the road until you contact your employer to have someone move it.

Without a CDL, you cannot return to work. Driving without a CDL puts you at risk for additional criminal charges and greatly increases your employer’s liability if anything were to happen. Since your employer will know right away, it may put you on suspension until the case is worked out and you find out whether you will get your CDL back. Your employer could also invoke a zero tolerance policy and let you go.

The Effects of a DUI/OVI Conviction

You will lose your CDL if you are convicted of a DUI, even if you were driving your own personal vehicle at the time. Driver’s license suspensions are common criminal punishments, and both state and federal regulations call for CDL suspensions due to drunk or drugged driving.

For a first DUI offense, you will likely have your CDL suspended for one year. If you were transporting hazardous materials at the time, then your suspension will last three years. It is important to note that your CDL suspension may begin after a license suspension that was part of your criminal punishment. In reality, a one-year CDL suspension may not be over for more than 18 months or two years after your conviction. After your criminal license suspension and CDL disqualification are both complete, you should be proactive about reinstating your personal license and CDL. This will require paying fees and retaking your CDL driving and knowledge tests. It might also have to maintain SR22 insurance for a period of time.

However, if this DUI conviction is your second, then you may have your CDL suspended for your lifetime.

Are You a CDL Holder Being Charged with a DUI? Call us Today

DUI/OVI charges can be stressful and downright scary, particularly when there is a threat of it taking away your ability to work and provide for you and your family. Without your CDL, you could be let go and have no way of applying for new driving positions. You might have to look for an entirely different type of job that you do not yet have the skills for. Ultimately, you could end up unemployed for a significant period of time or forced to take a job that pays far less than your commercial driving position.

To avoid these harsh consequences, contact skilled Cincinnati DUI lawyer Brad Groene of Luftman, Heck & Associates. He has years of experience helping individuals defend against drunk driving charges and get back onto the road as soon as possible. He will explain your rights and legal options, walking you through the civil and criminal court processes step by step.

To learn more about how defending against a DUI/OVI and keeping your CDL, call us today at (513) 338-1890 or email at We are available 24/7 to schedule an initial consultation.