Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Rhode Island that can have significant consequences, especially for commercial drivers with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). A DUI can significantly impact a CDL holder’s ability to operate a commercial vehicle and potentially jeopardize their career.
What constitutes a DUI for a CDL holder?
The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers in the United States is 0.08%. However, the legal limit for CDL holders is lower, at 0.04%. This means CDL holders can be charged with a DUI if they have a BAC of 0.04% or higher. It is also worth noting that CDL holders can be charged with a DUI for driving under the influence of drugs, not just alcohol.
The consequences of a DUI for a CDL holder can be severe. In addition to the standard penalties for a DUI, such as fines and possible jail time, a CDL holder may also face the suspension or revocation of their CDL. This can make it difficult for them to continue working as a commercial driver, as they may be unable to operate a commercial vehicle for a period of time legally.
The length of a CDL suspension or revocation will vary depending on the state and the severity of the offense. In Rhode Island, a first offense can cause a CDL holder to face a suspension of up to one year. A second offense can result in a suspension of up to three years, and a third offense can permanently revoke the CDL.
It is worth noting that beyond any criminal defense implications, a CDL holder’s employer may also have their own policies regarding DUIs. Some employers may terminate an employee’s contract immediately upon a DUI conviction, while others may have a more lenient approach. However, even if an employer does not terminate an employee’s contract, a CDL suspension or revocation can still make it difficult for the employee to continue working as a commercial driver.
In the long run
In addition to the immediate consequences of a DUI, a CDL holder may also face long-term consequences. A DUI conviction will stay on a CDL holder’s record for several years, making it difficult for them to find employment in the future. Some employers may view a DUI conviction as a red flag and may be hesitant to hire a CDL holder with a history of DUIs.
Protecting your CDL
A DUI can significantly impact a CDL holder’s career and livelihood. The suspension or revocation of a CDL can make it difficult for a commercial driver to continue working in their profession. The long-term consequences of a DUI conviction can also make it difficult for them to find employment in the future. As such, it is important for CDL holders to be aware of the legal limit for alcohol and drug consumption and to avoid driving under the influence to protect their livelihood and reputation.