CDL Holders & DWI Charges: What Your Up Against

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No one wants to ever be charged with a DWI; this is especially true for anyone with a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). Many people who are charged and then convicted with DWIs will face criminal penalties and civil penalties, such as having their license suspended. A person with a CDL may also be automatically out of work in addition to the criminal and civil penalties imposed by Missouri law. 

Today on the blog, we will take a look at DWIs in Springfield, MO, and how they can affect commercial driver’s licenses, along with how the laws and penalties differ for a commercial driver who is charged with DWI. 

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In Missouri and many other states, if your blood alcohol content is .08% or higher, you’ll be charged with a DUI or DWI. If you are a CDL holder, you can be charged with a DWI in Springfield if your blood alcohol is at .04%. Even if a CDL holder is driving their personal vehicle, if they have a current CDL, they can be charged with a DWI at .04%. This is because CDL holders are held at higher standards than people with regular driver’s licenses. You can only obtain a CDL after taking a specialized knowledge exam and possibly a specialized driving skills test, depending on the class of CDL you are applying for. 

Additionally, many CDL holders must undergo a background check. Mandatory background checks are the reason that a person with prior DWI convictions may not be eligible to apply for a CDL. According to NOLO, if you already have a CDL, the following significant violations can also lead to a disqualification of a CDL from one year to ten years include:

  • Being under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by Missouri law.
  • Being under the influence of any controlled substance that could influence your driving.
  • Having an alcohol concentration of .04% or higher while operating a CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle)
  • Refusing to submit to an alcohol test as required by Missouri Law under its Implied Consent Law and regulations
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Using the vehicle to commit a felony
  • Driving a CMV when, as a result of prior violations operating the CMV, the driver’s CDL is revoked, suspended, or canceled, or the driver is disqualified from operating a CMV. 
  • Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV, including but not limited to the crimes of motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, and negligent homicide.
  • Using the vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance.

DWI Penalties for CDL Holders

If you are charged with a DWI in Springfield and convicted as a CDL holder, you can expect the following penalties to occur for a first time DWI offense:

  • Two points will be assessed to your Missouri Driver Record
  • You will be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for one year
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Fines up to $500
  • Increased insurance premiums. Even with just one DWI on your record, insurance premiums for a CDL will sky-rocket. 

The following penalties can occur for subsequent alcohol-related driving offenses:

  • You could lose your CDL for life. In some cases, you can possibly apply again after a minimum of 10 years has passed since your conviction. However, it is almost impossible to get an affordable insurance premium with two DWI convictions on your record. 
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended anywhere from 60-90 days
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fines up to $1000

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As a CDL holder, if you have been charged with a DWI in Springfield, time is of the essence. In fact, you have until the next business day to notify your employer of your DWI charge if you plan on applying for your CDL again. Then, you need to call a qualified attorney to represent you in court. In addition to helping you with all the necessary court paperwork and proceedings to fight the charges against you, your DWI representation will help you to get your CDL back as soon as possible. While your CDL reinstatement is up to the judge’s discretion, you may also be required to do the following to apply for reinstatement if your CDL is revoked, suspended or disqualified as a result of your DWI charge:

  • Successfully complete an alcohol and substance abuse program
  • Pay reinstatement fees. This does not include court or attorney fees.
  • File SR-22 Insurance and maintain coverage for at least three years.
  • Successfully retake and pass the commercial driver’s license test and any required skills assessment. 

Contact DWI Springfield today, if you are facing DWI charges as a CDL holder or any other violations that could result in termination of your CDL. We offer no-obligation consultations where we will be able to discuss your case and which defense strategies can be used. Our goal is to provide all of our clients with the best possible defense available in Springfield. We have helped thousands of people in similar situations either reduce their charges or have the charges dismissed. We understand that mistakes happen. But that doesn’t mean these mistakes should destroy your life or your career.