In Ohio, Commercial Driver Licenses (CDLs) are required for people who drive commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles are defined under Ohio Revised Code §4506.01 and are required to drive school busses, eighteen-wheelers, construction vehicles, and others. There are three classes of CDLs in Ohio and the type of vehicle that can be operated depends on the class of CDL an individual has.
Many people wonder how – or if – a charge or conviction of an OVI will affect their CDL status. The fact is that an OVI can have very serious consequences for a person with a CDL. The consequences for an OVI depend on whether the CDL holder was driving a commercial or non-commercial vehicle at the time of the offense.
While Driving a Non-Commercial Vehicle:
If a CDL holder is arrested for OVI / DUI, even while driving a non-commercial vehicle and a chemical test indicates the CDL holder has an alcohol concentration above the legal limit, the CDL will be suspended administratively (i.e., by the BMV) for ninety (90) days. If the CDL holder refuses the chemical test, the CDL will be suspended administratively for one year. Additionally, refusing a chemical test is a separate offense under CDL law. If a CDL holder refuses a chemical test a second time, he or she will have the CDL disqualified for life.
Although limited driving privileges may be granted for driving a non-commercial vehicle, no limited driving privileges will be granted for driving a commercial vehicle during the period of the administrative license suspension (the suspension by the BMV). What does this mean? It means that during the period that a CDL is suspended by the BMV the CDL holder CANNOT drive a commercial vehicle. However, an attorney can appeal the administrative license suspension. If the appeal is successful, the CDL may be reinstated.
If a CDL holder is convicted of OVI while driving a non-commercial vehicle, the result is a one-year CDL disqualification. If a CDL holder is convicted of a second OVI while driving a non-commercial vehicle, the result is a lifetime CDL disqualification.
While Driving a Commercial Vehicle
If a CDL holder driving a commercial vehicle has a detectable amount of alcohol in his/her system, the CDL holder will be immediately placed out of service for 24 hours.
If a CDL holder is arrested for OVI while driving a commercial vehicle, the legal alcohol concentration limit is lower than that for driving a non-commercial vehicle. An administrative license suspension can be imposed by the Ohio BMV.
If a CDL holder is convicted of OVI while driving a commercial vehicle, the result is a one-year CDL disqualification, and a second conviction results in a lifetime CDL disqualification.
If you are a CDL holder and are facing Ohio DUI / OVI charges, it is imperative that you have an attorney working for you that understands not only Ohio OVI / DUI law, but the effect a conviction can have on your CDL. Contact Columbus, Ohio DUI Attorney W. Joseph Edwards to start fighting your charges now.