Commercial Driver DUI in Illinois

Updated on 08/10/2023 / Under

The commercial driver DUI law in Chicago, Illinois requires drivers operating motor vehicles to have 0.08% (or below) blood alcohol content or BAC in their system. Anything above that is illegal. Drivers who have a BAC higher than 0.08% are considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances.

Commercial drivers are held by higher standards compared to other motorists even while they are not operating commercial motor vehicles on the road. In the state of Illinois individuals who have a CDL have a lower legal BAC limit. Instead of the standard 0.08% blood alcohol concentration, an individual with a CDL and is driving a commercial vehicle will be considered to be driving under the influence if their BAC is as high as 0.04%.

Chemical testing equipment such as blood tests and breathalyzers are prone to error. Small errors can occur when the breathalyzer is rounding up the results of the measurements can give a false positive that will end up putting your commercial license at risk.

Commercial DUI lawyer Alex Ktenas

Motorists who drive for a living and are required to have a CDL, or a commercial driver’s license, in order for them to do their job.  Most of the commercial drivers on the road, transport goods and cargo around Illinois or all around the country.

CDL drivers operate large trucks that carry heavy and valuable cargo. For that reason, the government holds them to a higher standard and is keen on making sure that commercial drivers are abiding by the traffic laws. This is to ensure that they keep other road users safe on the road.

Consequences of a DUI on Commercial Driver’s Licenses

In Illinois drivers with a commercial driver’s license face stricter traffic violation rules that are not incurred by drivers with an ordinary driver’s license. After 3 convictions an individual with an ordinary driver’s license will have their license suspended for moving violations within a year. A CDL license will be canceled after 2 moving violations in a period of 3 years.

Getting arrested for driving under influence can hurt a commercial driving license in different ways. At times their CDL will be canceled even without the driver being found guilty. A first-time DUI conviction in Illinois for a CDL holder will lead to a license suspension of 1 year if the driver is arrested charged and convicted. The driver can face a 3-year disqualification/ suspension if driving a hazardous waste vehicle.

After a second DUI-related offense the CDL holder can result in commercial license revocation it is the same as a permanent disqualification of their commercial driving license. Even as this is the case there are some commercial drivers in Illinois who may be eligible to complete their alcohol awareness program. After that, they will have their CDL license reinstated after a ten-year suspension.

This increased suspension period will lead to the professional driver losing their job most of the time. A DUI stains the driver’s criminal and driving history and it can prevent them from ever getting hired again despite the period of the license suspension is over.

It is important to note that the penalties will apply even if you were driving a non-commercial vehicle.

What to Do After a Commercial Driver DUI Charge

The best way to prevent a CDL driving charge is not to drink and drive especially since the CDL commercial drivers are held by higher standards than other non-commercial drivers. However, people do make mistakes. If you made a mistake out of ignorance there is a way that you can plead your case.

It is possible for a driver to not be aware of the BAC limit in the state that they are in. Also, if there are certain medications that a commercial driver with a CDL could be taking that played a part in indicating that their blood alcohol control was higher.

These and other reasons show that commercial truck drivers having a 0.04% limit does not mean that the commercial driver is guilty. If you have been arrested for a DUI you can protect your CDL by challenging the suspension and charge in a criminal court.

You can file a petition to rescind in Illinois. This is the process of challenging a summary suspension. After the petition to rescind is filed you have a right to a hearing within 30 days. If the officer does not appear in court during the hearing it will result in a summary of suspension being revoked or canceled.

Since a DUI is a criminal offense the driver is presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt lies with the state/ prosecution. If your DUI defense lawyer is able to show that the field sobriety test taken was compromised and is not reliable the charges against the driver will be dropped. The breathalyzer malfunctioning can prove that the test is not reliable.

How Much Does a CDL DUI Criminal Attorney Cost in Illinois?

After being arrested because of a CDL DUI charge you have to find the best criminal defense lawyer to represent you. As a commercial driver who drives for a living losing license will mean that you cannot be able to do your job. You have more to lose compared to other ordinary drivers since you stand to lose your commercial driving privileges.

commercial driver dui in illinois

The easiest way that you can save your CDL is to avoid getting charged. You can do that by hiring a good criminal defense attorney. Hiring a good defense attorney will cost you, but getting to keep your job and provide for your needs and your family is worthwhile in the long run.

A DUI attorney can cost you anywhere between $1500 to $25000 if you are a first-time offender. However, the cost will vary depending on a few factors. They are;

  • The criminal charges you are facing
  • The activities surrounding your arrest
  • How long your case will last

When looking for a good and experienced attorney and your job is at stake you should make sure that you have the best legal representation.

We Can Help You Protect Your Commercial Driving License

Before hiring a DUI attorney you should find out how long they have represented other clients with a case such as yours. You need to prove their credibility and ability to represent you in court and give you the desired outcome based on their previous results. 

Look for an attorney who possesses unquestionable work ethics and who values the attorney-client relationship. The information that you disclose to us will only be used to help us to prepare your case. With the information you give us we will know the legal procedures to follow in order to help you beat your DUI charge

We will listen to the details concerning your case and discuss the different strategies that we will employ. We want you to win and avoid getting a lifetime CDL disqualification. Let us get you back to work as soon as possible. Don’t waste your time, hire an experienced lawyer. Trust the best criminal defense lawyer in Ktenas Law firm and get the best outcome!