CDL and DUI

What happens if you have a CDL and get arrested for a DUI

A DUI arrest in Washington State can have many consequences, both direct and collateral. Everyone knows that a DUI carries jail, fines, alcohol treatment, probation, ignition interlock device requirements, and personal license suspensions. But if you’re a holder of a commercial drivers license (CDL) you face a loss of that license in addition to your personal license.

What I would like to discuss is what happens to a CDL after a DUI arrest in a personal non-commercial vehicle. Anytime a person is arrested for a DUI they most likely will face 2 legal actions. One is with the Washington Department of Licensing, and the other is from the judicial system. Depending on what happens from either of those legal actions, a CDL holder may be affected.

What happens to a CDL holder at the DOL Hearing

First, if you win the DOL hearing then there is no CDL disqualification.

If you lose the DOL hearing and it’s your first violation under RCW 46.25.090(1) then you face a 1-year license suspension.

If you lose the DOL hearing and it’s your second or subsequent violation of RCW 46.25.090(1) then it’s a lifetime disqualification.

Now let’s look at what can happen in the criminal case. In a criminal case for a DUI charge a person basically has 5 different things that can happen to them.

What happens to a CDL holder at the Criminal DUI Case

First, if you beat the DUI charge in the criminal case then no CDL disqualification.

Secondly,  if you get convicted of the DUI and it’s your first violation under RCW 46.25.090(1) then it’s a 1-year CDL disqualification. If you get convicted and it’s your second or subsequent violation of RCW 46.25.090(1) then it’s a lifetime disqualification.

Thirdly, if you get the DUI charge reduced to reckless driving and you have a prior serious traffic violation within 3 years you will face a 60-day CDL disqualification. If you have two or more prior serious traffic violations within 3 years then it’s a 120 CDL disqualification.

Fourthly, if you get the DUI reduced to negligent driving then there is no CDL disqualification but it will count as a prior serious traffic offense.

And lastly, if you’re considering a deferred prosecution from my reading of the statute it is unclear this will be treated by DOL. It is clear however that a deferred prosecution will not stay the disqualification of the CDL in the DOL hearing.

If you have been arrested for a DUI, and you carry a CDL it’s important to speak with a DUI attorney that not only understands but can help you navigate the waters of the CDL and disqualification. Remember many attorneys out there claim to be DUI attorneys, but in reality, they are pretenders. Contact my office today to schedule a free 60-minute consultation that is completely confidential to discuss your options and rights when facing a DUI arrest.

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