What are the consequences of being charged or convicted of a DUI in Kentucky if I carry a Commercial Driver's License?

In Kentucky, if you are convicted of a DUI and carry a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) the consequences are a lot more severe than if you merely had a regular Operator’s License.

For a regular DUI offense with an Operator’s License, the legal limit is 0.08. For a CDL, however, if you have any measurable or detectable amount of alcohol or other controlled substances in your system, you will be placed “out of service” for twenty-four (24) hours. See KRS 281A.210(1) & (2). Also, the per se limit is 0.04. See KRS 281A.210(3).

If you are convicted of DUI due to registering a breathalyzer result above a 0.04 or are found to have had controlled substances in your system, you will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of one (1) year. See KRS 281A.210(4) and KRS 281A.190(1)(a) & (b). If you choose to refuse the breath, blood, or urine tests offered after you are arrested for DUI as a CDL driver, and are convicted of that refusal (i.e. the Cabinet finds you refused the test per KRS 189A.107- See KRS 281A.190(8)), you will also be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of one (1) year. See KRS 281A.210(4) and KRS 281A.190(1)(e).

If during the course of the offense, you were carrying Hazardous Material (HazMat), your disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle will be three (3) years. See KRS 281A.190(3).

For a second offense during one’s lifetime of any of the provisions in KRS 281A.190(1), your CDL disqualification shall be for life. The offenses must arise from two separate incidents, however. KRS 281A.190(2).

The fine for having a BAC between 0.04 and 0.08 is between $20 and $50. See KRS 281A.2102(1). If the result is above a 0.08, the standard DUI fines apply. See KRS 281A.2102(2).

The implied consent provisions that apply in a regular DUI, apply to the CDL driver as well. See KRS 281A.220(1).

Obtaining a hardship license after you have been convicted of a DUI as a CDL Driver is not an option, i.e. there is no ‘CDL Hardship License.’ However, you may want to talk to your attorney to see if the prosecutor or the judge may be convinced to allow you to operate a personal motor vehicle.

CDL Consequences Please Note: It does not matter whether or not you are operating a Commercial Vehicle or your own personal vehicle — if you are convicted of a DUI (per se or testimonial), you will have your license suspended for one year. See KRS 281A.190(1)(a) and (b). However, if you were convicted of a DUI in your own personal vehicle, and you hold a CDL license (meaning you are suspended from driving a Commercial Vehicle for one year), you may still obtain a regular operator’s license after completion of alcohol classes and the end of the suspension time.

Finally, a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) may be administered to the suspect, just like in a regular DUI; but, it is not admissible in Court. See KRS 281A.230(1). The police may also videotape or record the interaction with the suspect. See KRS 281A.230(2).

You may appeal your one year CDL License suspension to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If the FMCSA did not comply with the rules outlines in 49 CFR 383.52, or if you can convince the Administration that they should grant you your driving privileges back notwithstanding the DUI conviction on your record, you may be able to get your CDL reinstated. See KRS 281A.190(14).

Special Note: As a CDL driver, you run the risk of losing your job or your license by simply being charged with a DUI, let alone convicted, due to the position you are in. Consult with an experienced Kentucky DUI defense attorney if you carry a CDL License.

If you need assistance with a CDL DUI charge, you need competent and experienced counsel to help you with your case. Your entire career is probably at stake. Do not delay, call the DUI Guy today to avoid serious CDL Consequences.


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