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Attorneys Stephen G. Fabian Jr. and Brian P. Young

Oklahoma has higher driving standards for commercial drivers

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2020 | DUI - Drunk Driving |

Earning a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is a challenging process. Applicants must undergo rigorous training in driving big rig trucks, with double clutches and incredible weights. Professional truck drivers are highly skilled individuals whose job demands high performance and safety standards.

Consequently, Oklahoma lawmakers hold commercial drivers to a higher legal standard, especially when it comes to drinking and driving. Commercial drivers charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Oklahoma face harsher penalties than most.

Penalties for CDL drivers who commit a DUI

Oklahoma is unique in its drunk driving laws. An offender’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and behavior on the road will determine the charge:

  • DUI (Driving under the influence): Operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% will result in a DUI charge.
  • DWI (Driving while impaired): Oklahoma is one of the few states that charges drivers for operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of less than .08%.
  • APC (Actual physical control): Those with a BAC of .08% or higher may commit APC by merely being in a vehicle, even with the engine off.

Committing these offenses may disqualify a CDL license, even if the offender was not operating a commercial vehicle. The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) will disqualify a CDL (Class A, B or C) for the following reasons:

  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04%, higher than the standard .08%;
  • Refusing a BAC test while operating a commercial vehicle;
  • Refusing a BAC test while operating any vehicle;
  • Driving or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any combination.

A DWI charge in Oklahoma does not have any bearing on a CDL. For the first offense, CDL disqualifications will last for one year, or three years if the driver was operating a vehicle containing hazardous materials. Second offenses result in a lifetime CDL disqualification.

Facing a DUI charge? Consider hiring a lawyer

Commercial drivers cannot appeal a CDL disqualification but can still protect themselves against criminal and administrative penalties. DUI offenders find more success in working with a local attorney familiar with Oklahoma’s complex DUI laws.