Need help now?
Aggressive, Focused, Strategic Defense

Commercial drivers and OWI

Your CDL is the key to your livelihood, so it is important to understand how Indiana's OWI laws can affect it. OWI laws for commercial drivers differ in some substantial ways from the general, more commonly known OWI rules.

Specifically, OWI standards for CDL holders include both lower thresholds for what the law deems intoxication and harsher penalties.

Lower BAC threshold

Unlike ordinary motorists who may face OWI charges based on a blood alcohol count of 0.08, getting behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 and upward can trigger OWI charges. While everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, most people can easily get up to this BAC level with as little as one or two drinks, depending on the type of alcohol. If you are driving your own car, you are subject to the normal 0.08 limit.

Any impairment can trigger OWI

BAC is not the only measure of intoxication. If police officers determine you were impaired, even if your BAC was below the legal limit, you may still face OWI charges. Impairment through substances such as medication can also result in charges, even if you did not consume alcohol at all. For this reason, you should exercise caution when beginning a new prescription or changing your dosage. Unlike alcohol, medication does not have a defined legal amount, and various people can have highly differing experiences with side effects.

Implied consent

As with the general public, CDL holders agree to chemical BAC testing by possessing a CDL. Refusing to take a breath, blood or other kind of chemical test can cause the suspension of your CDL.

Penalties and consequences

A commercial driver convicted of OWI can face the regular legal penalties of fines and potential jail time. In addition, the law bans a first-time offender from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If a driver commits a OWI or refuses testing while driving a commercial truck carrying hazardous materials, the CDL suspension can extend to three years. Additional offenses can result in a lifetime ban.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information