Driving is a necessity for almost everyone in Colorado, but it is your meal ticket if you drive for a living, especially with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). We understand the seriousness of your pending DUI charge as it relates to your commercial driver’s license, your livelihood and your ability to support your family.
Commercial drivers are subject to Federal regulations as outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Colorado statutes mirror the federal regulations set by the FMCSA and regulations set forth for commercial driver’s license standards, requirements and penalties which can be found in Title 49 CFR Part 383.
Federal requirements also require one license, one record for all CDL holders. This means that regardless of the state in which you hold a license out of, violations and convictions from all states will be reported and will appear on your driving record.
Commercial drivers are held to a much higher standard and have less wiggle room for error than non-commercial drivers do. That is never more apparent than when a CDL holder is charged with a DUI or DWAI in Colorado.
Alcohol Offenses for CDL Holders
According to Colorado law, C.R.S. §42-2-405(3) states:
For purposes of the imposition of restraints and sanctions against commercial driving privileges:
(a) A conviction for DUI, DUI per se, DWAI, or habitual user, or a substantially similar law of any other state pertaining to drinking and driving, or an administrative determination of a violation of section §42-2-126(3)(a) or (3)(b) shall be deemed driving under the influence
There is a separate revocation for drivers in Colorado who hold a commercial endorsement. In this scenario, the Colorado DMV will open up two cases, one for the regular driver’s license action and one for your CDL. If you are found to have been driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 or more, you face a one-year revocation for a first-offense. C.R.S. § 42-2-126(3)(d). If the vehicle was carrying hazardous materials, the revocation of the CDL is for three years for a first-offense. C.R.S. § 42-4-125(2). Any second conviction or administrative revocation for alcohol-or-drug-related driving with a CDL results in a lifetime revocation. 49 C.F.R. 383.51.
Even if a CDL holder was driving a personal or non-commercial vehicle, they still face a loss of commercial driving privileges upon being charged with a DUI or DWAI. A driver with a CDL faces at least a one year revocation if he or she is revoked for excess BAC at a DMV hearing or is convicted of a DUI or DWAI in court. Any DUI, DUI per se, or DWAI conviction will result in a one-year revocation of a CDL. C.R.S. 42-2-403(1); 49 C.F.R. 383.51. A second offense while you possess a CDL results in a lifetime revocation of your commercial driving privileges, if both offenses happened on or after October 1, 2005. C.R.S. 42-2-403(1); 49 C.F.R. 383.51.
In addition to the period of mandatory revocation, a driver is not eligible for a commercial license if they have any type of restriction on their regular driving privileges. This means that a driver who has an ignition interlock restriction, cannot apply for or obtain a CDL until they have reinstated to a regular unrestricted license. In Colorado, all multiple offenders are required to have interlock for two years from the date they reinstate their license as are first-time offenders who refuse chemical testing or submit to a test with a BAC of 0.150 or greater. This two year interlock requirement means that commercial drivers face the loss of their CDL for much longer than one year if they are designated as a Persistent Drunk Driver under Colorado law.
Federal regulations allow for potential reinstatement on a lifetime ban after 10 years and a showing of rehabilitation, however, Colorado does not allow any reinstatement from a lifetime ban. Title 49 CFR Part 383.51, Subpart D outlines all the Driver Disqualifications and Penalties that CDL holders face upon conviction in court or administratively. The CDL Penalties Table contain a list of offenses and periods for which a CDL holder is disqualified based on type of offense and and type of vehicle the driver was operating at the time of the violation.
If you are concerned about losing your CDL due to a recent DUI arrest in Colorado, call Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. today. Our DUI defense team has extensive experience defending commercial drivers facing the loss of their CDL due to a DUI arrest. As a commercial driver you have more to lose and more at stake than most when it comes to a DUI and your driving privileges. Invest in yourself and your future by contacting us today!