Being convicted of DUI in Maryland can result in stiff penalties and long-term consequences for anyone. However, the ramifications can be catastrophic for a commercial driver who must drive for his job. If you are a commercial driver and have been arrested for DUI, one of your first steps should be to retain an experienced DUI defense attorney who can help you mount a strong defense to fight the charges against you.
When Can You Be Charged With DUI as a Commercial Driver?
In Maryland, individuals who are driving a personal vehicle can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher. However, a commercial driver can be arrested for DUI if his BAC is 0.04 percent or higher. Even if a commercial driver is charged with DUI while driving his own vehicle during non-work hours, the ramifications for his commercial license will be severe.
What Are the DUI Penalties for a Commercial Driver?
The criminal penalties for a DUI for a commercial driver will be similar to those for other drivers in our state. You could be punished as follows:
- First offense. You could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000.
- Second offense. If you are convicted of a second offense DUI, your punishment could include a two-year prison sentence and $2,000 fine.
- Third offense. A third conviction for DUI can result in a five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $5,000.
How a DUI Can Affect Your Commercial Driver’s License
Another harsh consequence of a DUI as a commercial driver is that your commercial driver’s license would be suspended. You face these consequences immediately upon your arrest. Here is how long your driver’s license would be suspended when you are arrested:
- If your BAC was between 0.08 percent and 0.15 percent, your commercial and personal driver’s license would be suspended for 45 days.
- If your BAC was over 0.15 percent, both licenses would be suspended for 90 days.
- If you refused to submit to a blood alcohol test at the time you were pulled over, your personal license would be suspended for 270 days and your commercial license for one year.
Unlike drivers who only have a personal license, you would not have the option of obtaining a restricted commercial license to allow you to drive for work. In addition, if you are convicted of DUI, your commercial driver’s license could be suspended for these time periods if your BAC was 0.04 percent or higher and you were driving a commercial vehicle, or you were driving a personal vehicle and had a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher:
- First offense. Your commercial driver’s license would be suspended for one year. If you were transporting hazardous materials, the suspension is increased to three years.
- Second or subsequent offense. Your commercial license would be suspended for life.
What You Must Do If You Are Convicted of a DUI
In Maryland, if you are convicted of DUI and are a commercial driver, you have obligations to report the conviction. You must do the following:
- Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles in your home state of your conviction
- Notify your employer of your conviction
- Notify your employer of any suspension, revocation, cancellation, or other disqualification of your commercial driver’s license
How a DUI Conviction Will Affect Your Job
If your commercial driver’s license is suspended, you cannot drive for work during this time period. As a result, you most likely would be fired by your employer. In addition, it may be difficult or impossible to find another job as a commercial driver once your license is restored if you were convicted of DUI or had your driver’s license suspended due to an arrest.
If you are a commercial driver who was arrested in Maryland, you may be able to avoid these harsh consequences if you hire an experienced DUI defense attorney. He can mount a strong defense for you that may result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense that does not result in your driver’s license being suspended. To find out about how we would aggressively defend you, call our office or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation today.