As a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, your entire livelihood is dependent on your ability to drive. Unfortunately, this ability may be taken away if you are arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI) in Wisconsin. This is a serious matter, and requires the skill of a qualified OWI to appeal not only your CDL suspension, but also the criminal charges you face.
As a CDL holder, you are subject to different blood alcohol content (BAC) levels depending on the vehicle you were driving at the time of arrest. If you are pulled over while operating your personal vehicle, the legal limit is .08%; however, if you were operating a commercial vehicle, the BAC is reduced to .04%.
Following an OWI arrest, you have only 10 days to appeal your administrative license suspension, which is imposed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT). This automatic suspension will occur whether you tested over the legal limit or refused to take the breathalyzer or blood test. Successfully appealing an administrative suspension is difficult, so having experienced representation on your side is encouraged.
Under Wisconsin law, a CDL holder who is arrested for OWI could face a one-year CDL disqualification. If the driver was hauling hazardous materials while under the influence, this is increased to a three-year disqualification. However, a second (or subsequent) OWI will result in a lifetime disqualification from holding a commercial driver’s license.
Additional penalties for an OWI CDL offense include $150-$300 in fines for a first offense. For a second offense, the sentence is increased to $300-$1,000 in fines, five to six months in jail, license revocation and the ignition interlock device.
These court-imposed penalties are not the only repercussions you face if convicted of OWI with a commercial license—you can also face consequences in your personal life. For example, you may be terminated from your current position if you are unable to drive, and could face problems seeking future employment. In addition, your insurance company could also raise your rates or even terminate your policy.
As a CDL holder, you have a lot to lose if convicted of driving over the legal limit. Fortunately, the attorneys at Tracey Wood & Associates have helped a number of clients—some in positions similar to yours—obtain a successful resolution to their charges.