Do you have a commercial driver’s license? Did you get an OVI? Are you concerned about the ramifications that it can have on your license? Are you confused about the law surrounding OVIs and CDLs? The attorneys at Suhre and Associates can help you.

What happens when a CDL holder gets pulled over in a non-commercial vehicle?

Unfortunately, there are immediate consequences for CDL holders who get charged with an OVI. These penalties apply even if the CDL holder is driving his own personal vehicle. If you get pulled over and ultimately charged with an OVI, either the ALS suspension (See blog “What is an ALS?”) or an OVI conviction will result in a 1 year disqualification of the driver’s CDL. Accordingly, in order for a CDL holder to avoid this suspension, they must test under or successfully appeal the ALS, and avoid an OVI conviction or a conviction of “any serious traffic violation.” That means, even if your attorney is able to get the OVI charged reduced to a reckless operation- a common occurrence for first time offenders, you still face this 1 year disqualification.

Can I get driving privileges?

Yes and no. Judges are authorized to give CDL holders pre-trial and post-trial privileges to operate their personal vehicles. However, a judge does not have the authority to grant privileges to a CDL holder to authorize them to drive a commercial vehicle or any purpose.

What happens if I’m driving a Commercial Vehicle when I get charged with an OVI?

The legal limit is substantially lower for those driving a commercial vehicle compared to a personal vehicle. The Ohio Revised Code prohibits driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle with a breath or blood alcohol level of .04 or higher. That’s ½ the legal limit for a passenger vehicle.

If you refuse a chemical test, you will immediately be placed “out of service” for 24 hours and will ultimately receive the 1 year disqualification from operating your Commercial Motor Vehicle. If you take the test, and test over a .04, you will receive the 1 year suspension.

Further, if you are pulled over in a commercial vehicle, you are also subject to the standard ALS provisions. Accordingly, if you refuse or test over the .08 limit, you will be subject to the hard-time suspension associated with non-commercial vehicles.

What does all of this mean?

If you hold a CDL and have been charged with an OVI, it is important to contact an attorney who is experienced in the field who can help you with your case. The attorneys at Suhre and Associates will discuss your options with you and answer any questions that you may have. If you are currently in this position, please contact Jaime Glinka and she will assist you with your case.