A Commercial Driver’s License Will Create Problems If Charged With DUI!
If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), and you are charged with driving under the influence, you may NOT be able to avoid a criminal record.
When someone is arrested for a DUI where there was not a serious accident, and that person has no prior DUI arrests or convictions within the last 10 years, that person stands a great chance to avoid a criminal conviction (record). Connecticut has a program called the Alcohol Education Program that will allow a person, if the court grants the program, to have their charges dismissed and avoid a conviction. A person applies for the program, and the court schedules the matter for a hearing at a future date; if that person’s attorney persuades the court to grant the Alcohol Education Program, then the case will be fast-tracked for a dismissal.
HOWEVER, if the driver has a CDL, the driver is NOT eligible for the Alcohol Education Program, often leaving the defendant with no avenue to avoid a conviction.
Many people must have a CDL for their job, and have no choice, but many others don’t need their CDL. For example, some of those people may be retired from a job that required a CDL, and never changed back to a “regular” license: a Class D license, in Connecticut. Others may have a CDL because they are trying to secure a job in a field where a CDL would be required, though they haven’t secured that job yet. Whatever the reason, many people have a CDL but don’t need it.
What if the CDL operator was driving his personal non-commercial vehicle when arrested?
Even if the CDL driver were driving a Honda Civic (for example), he would still be ineligible for the Alcohol Education Program.
What should you do?
Clearly, don’t drink and drive, regardless of what class of drivers license you carry. If you have a CDL, you need to consider why you have a CDL, and if it benefits you in any meaningful way. Obviously, if you support your family and do so because you have a job that requires a commercial drivers license, then you must have a CDL. If, instead, you don’t need a CDL, then go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and voluntarily give up your CDL, and revert back to a “regular” Class D license. It’s a small price to be eligible for the Alcohol Education Program.