Oklahoma's Oldest DUI Defense Firm

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

2 ways drunk driving puts someone’s CDL at risk

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2023 | CDL DUI Defense |

Securing a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Oklahoma requires more effort than obtaining a standard driver’s license. There are additional educational and testing requirements, and an individual who obtains a CDL will be subject to more traffic regulations, including federal statutes that do not apply to those in passenger vehicles.

One of the realities that is different for commercial drivers as opposed to those traveling in passenger vehicles is that the consequences of a driving under the influence (DUI) offense can be much more severe and longer-lasting. How do the strict rules for those with a CDL increase their chance of losing their license over a drunk driving arrest?

The CDL standard is twice as strict

It takes a lot of focus and skill to maintain control of a commercial vehicle at all times. Therefore, it would likely require less alcohol for someone to reach a point where they cannot safely operate a commercial vehicle than it would to impair someone operating a smaller and simpler passenger vehicle. In Oklahoma, anyone driving a commercial vehicle is subject to a very strict limit on their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Police officers can arrest them for a BAC of 0.04%, which is half the standard limit of 0.08% imposed on those in passenger vehicles.

Personal offenses carry professional consequences

In many careers, what someone does on their own time will have very little impact on their professional options. However, in the commercial driving world, a single infraction in someone’s off time could be enough to permanently alter the course of their career. Not only can a DUI in a commercial vehicle render a driver ineligible for continued CDL privileges for a time, a driver’s DUI incurred in a passenger vehicle will result in the same consequences. Anyone convicted of a DUI will become temporarily ineligible for a CDL even if the infraction occurred during their own time and in no way affected their employment or professional performance.

Given the very harsh penalties possible if someone who drives professionally pleads guilty to a DUI, there’s more incentive for someone with a CDL to respond assertively to allegations of drunk driving. Recognizing the differences in the rules that apply to commercial drivers might help someone recently arrested for an Oklahoma DUI make more informed decisions about how to respond to those charges.