If you have a commercial driver’s license in Illinois, then you have to be aware of the enhanced penalties you can be subject to if charged with a DUI.
For most CDL holders, their license is their livelihood. If that’s the case with you, losing it can have a huge impact on your life beyond the possible jail time, court fees, and license suspension you face. Here’s what you need to know about DUIs in Illinois if you hold a CDL.
When Penalties Can Be Enforced
There are two separate parts to DUIs for CDL holders in Illinois:
- Criminal charges related to the DUI
- Statutory Summary Suspension of the license based on chemical testing
Either of these factors can have a major impact on the status of your CDL.
Additionally, these penalties can be enforced regardless of what you were driving at the time of the DUI, whether it’s your commercial vehicle or your private vehicle. If you had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher when driving your personal vehicle or 0.04 percent when driving your commercial vehicle, then you can get hit with DUI charges that set it all into motion.
Whether you submit to a blood alcohol test and fail it, or you refuse to take the test, there is a one-year disqualification of your CDL privileges. That is automatic. If you are found guilty of a DUI, then the same penalty will apply.
Regular Driving Privileges
Under Illinois law, there are varying lengths of time you can have your license suspended for a DUI. If you are a first offender, then you face up to a six-month suspension if you fail the test. And you can receive a one-year suspension if you refuse to test.
For a second offense, failed testing can get your licenses suspended for up to one year, and refusing a test can get your licenses suspended for three years.
License suspension or disqualification will begin automatically 46 days from the date you are served a Notice of Summary Suspension. That often happens at the same time you are arrested for a DUI, unless you submit voluntarily to a urine or blood test.
What About a Hazmat Endorsement?
If you drive a commercial vehicle with a hazmat endorsement and are driving it when you get a DUI, then you face a disqualification of three years of CDL privileges as a result.
What About Driving During the Suspension?
If you get your license suspended due to a DUI, you can petition for what is called a Monitored Device Driving Permit. This allows someone to drive during their time of suspension – but only for regular driving privileges, not CDL.
In fact, no permit can be offered for a CDL license during the period of disqualification. This applies to both the state and federal levels.
Can You Challenge a Statutory Summary Suspension?
If you work with an experienced DUI attorney, then you may be able to petition to rescind the suspension with the court. Whether you’ll be successful depends on the strength of the case against you, including any evidence the state obtains.
Every case is unique, however, so it might be a good idea to meet with an attorney to see if this avenue is something you can pursue to keep your CDL privileges. Don’t let a DUI derail your career. Understand what scrutiny you’ll be under with a CDL and do what you can to keep it.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.