If you are a commercial driver in Pennsylvania, a DUI charge can have a grave impact on your privilege to drive a commercial vehicle. A DUI conviction, or even entry into the ARD program for a first time offender, will result in a disqualification of your Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and in turn, a loss of your livelihood. PennDot has categorized DUI as a "Major Offense" and penalizes it the same as much more serious crimes, like causing a fatality through negligent operation of your commercial vehicle. Simply put, CDL drivers face extremely harsh DUI penalties in Pennsylvania. With so much on the line, it is imperative that CDL drivers understand PA DUI Law and the penalties associated with a DUI violation.
In PA, a first offense DUI conviction, whether it was committed in your commercial vehicle or your personal vehicle, will result in a 12 month disqualification of your CDL (in addition to any suspension imposed on your non-CDL license). That disqualification increases to 3 years if you were carrying hazardous materials. A second DUI conviction, even if both were committed in a personal vehicle, will result in a lifetime CDL disqualification.
ARD is Not the Answer.
An important note, and one that was alluded to above, is that entry into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program will not result in a reduction to a CDL disqualification. ARD is a diversionary program for first time offenders in PA that results in a dismissal of your charges and expungement of your record upon successful completion of the program. It is the preferred choice for the vast majority of people facing a first time DUI. However, for CDL drivers, ARD is NOT the solution, as entry into the ARD program still results in a 12 month CDL disqualification. In PA, the only way a commercial driver charged with DUI can keep their CDL is by fighting the charges and beating the case.
Different BAC Limits for CDL Drivers.
While the length of disqualification remains the same whether the DUI was committed in a commercial vehicle or personal vehicle, the BAC limits are quite different. In PA, the per se rate for a DUI while operating a personal vehicle is a BAC of .08% or above. However, the per se rate for a CDL driver in their commercial vehicle is a BAC of .04% or above. Furthermore, a BAC between .04% and .159% for a CDL Driver in their commercial vehicle is treated as a "High Rate" DUI, which is normally only applied to those who have a BAC between .10% and .159%.
If You are a CDL Driver Charged with DUI, Call Bishop Law Today.
For CDL drivers in Pennsylvania, fighting your DUI charges is your only option. At Bishop Law, we welcome the fight. If you are a CDL driver who has been charged with DUI in Western PA, call or text (412) 589-9422 to speak to an experienced DUI Attorney at Bishop Law immediately. Don't risk your livelihood by going into court unprepared and unprotected. Call us today.