OWI Conviction With a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL)
May 1st, 2023
Drivers who hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) are held to higher standards than other people on the road. This is particularly apparent when it comes to drunk driving charges. As a professional driver charged with a Michigan OWI, you face severe penalties, including hefty fines, possible jail time, and suspension or revocation of your CDL. The consequences of an OWI conviction can devastate your career and harm your ability to earn a living.
With so much on the line, you need an experienced OWI defense attorney who will protect your rights, fight to minimize the penalties on a conviction, and help you continue to earn a living.
How is a Michigan OWI Charge Different If You Have a CDL?
As a CDL holder, you have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to safely operate a commercial vehicle. As a commercial driver, you are held to higher standards than other people on the road. As a result, an OWI conviction for someone with a CDL is different than for someone with a normal operator’s license.
Lower BAC Limits for Commercial Drivers
Commercial drivers are subject to enhanced Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) restrictions and penalties for any driving violation. Unlike non-CDL holders, who can face OWI charges if their BAC is .08% or higher, CDL holders can be charged with OWI if their BAC is .04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle.
Enhanced Penalties for an OWI Conviction
For a first-time conviction, non-professional drivers face up to 93 days in jail, $500 in fines, 45 days of community service, vehicle mobilization, and mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID).
As a professional driver, you face these penalties plus a mandatory one-year suspension of your driver’s license. You cannot appeal the suspension and will be prohibited from driving commercially.
If you are convicted of OWI while transporting hazardous materials, your license will be suspended for three years.
If this is your second or third OWI conviction, your license will be revoked for at least ten years.
Drivers’ License Suspension and Revocation
The difference between a driver’s license suspension and a driver’s license revocation is significant, and it is important to understand the difference.
When your driver’s license is suspended, it will automatically be returned to you when the suspension is over.
If your driver’s license was revoked, it will not be returned to you. The only way to get it back is by reapplying and going through the same process you did when you first applied for a CDL.
Defending Commercial Drivers Against a Michigan OWI Conviction
Defending against a Michigan OWI is stressful enough. It is even more difficult when your livelihood is on the line.
If you were charged with Michigan OWI, contact Elmen Legal to evaluate the circumstances of your arrest and determine the best way to defend against the charge. There are three primary ways to defend against a Michigan OWI Charge.
- Lack of Probable Cause. Before charging someone with an OWI, police must have probable cause to believe you committed a crime. If the officer lacked probable cause, evidence of your alleged intoxication should be excluded.
- Reliability of Field Sobriety Tests. If the officer believes you were intoxicated, they will ask you to perform various Field Sobriety Tests, such as standing on one foot, the walk-and-turn, or touching your finger to your nose. If the police officer did not follow the proper standards, the test results should be excluded.
- Accuracy Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Inaccurate test results should not be considered. If the machine was not properly calibrated, the test sample was improperly stored, or the test was improperly administered, the results should not be considered by the court.
Having the OWI Charges Reduced
Elmen Legal will challenge the evidence the prosecutor will use to try to convict you of OWI. Excluding some of the evidence can lead to having the charges reduced to a lesser offense, such as reckless driving or a non-alcohol offense, or even having the case dismissed.
If you negotiate a plea to a lesser offense, you may be able to avoid having your driver’s license suspended or shorten the length of the suspension.
Contact Elmen Legal for Aggressive Michigan OWI Defense
If you are facing a Michigan OWI charge and have a commercial driver’s license, the stakes are high. You need an experienced Michigan OWI defense lawyer who will critically evaluate your situation, challenge the evidence against you, and work to negotiate a favorable resolution or have the case against you dismissed.