If you are a commercial truck driver by trade and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you are likely overwhelmed with emotions, including fear about your future. Will you lose your license? Will you lose your job? Will your family be able to recover from this regretful event? Let’s take a closer look at how a DUI in Indiana can affect your commercial driver’s license—and your livelihood.
Statistics and Standards
According to the most recent data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 5,000 people killed in accidents involving large trucks in 2019. This is the national figure; in Indiana, 140 people lost their lives in this type of vehicular accident.
One way that authorities are attempting to combat truck fatalities is by holding drivers to stricter standards; those include a lower threshold for allowable blood alcohol content (BAC). So while 0.08% BAC is the limit for drivers of passenger vehicles, CDL holders will be charged with a DUI if their BAC exceeds 0.04%.
That’s a low limit. You might feel completely sober and absolutely fine to drive, but you will be arrested if your BAC tells a different story.
The Penalties of DUI in Indiana
One of the repercussions of breaking this law is the suspension of your CDL for one year. That means you won’t be able to work as a truck driver. Obviously, this hardship—along with lawyer’s fees, court costs, and any fines you have to pay as a result of your conviction—will affect your financial well-being for at least 12 months.
Interestingly, this one-year suspension occurs whether the driver was arrested while operating a commercial vehicle or their personal car or passenger truck. Any infraction can seriously, negatively impact a driver’s career.
Additionally, your refusal to submit to a breathalyzer or other chemical test will result in an automatic CDL suspension.
Harsher Repercussions for Additional Offenses
Drivers who haul hazardous materials will face a three-year CDL suspension for a first conviction of DUI (or refusing a breathalyzer test).
A second DUI conviction—involving either your commercial or passenger vehicle—means a lifetime ban from holding a CDL. You can request reinstatement, but not until an entire decade has passed. Additional or similar convictions will trigger a lifetime ban with no possibility of reinstatement.
Help Is Available
By no means should you take these charges lightly. There are ways to mitigate their consequences and still demonstrate to the court that you have learned your lesson. To find out more about how legal assistance can benefit you, your livelihood, and your family, please contact Razumich & Associates to schedule a consultation.