Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs)
This blog post will discuss the rights of Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Holders In Louisiana who are arrested for DWI. When drivers with commercial driver’s face suspensions of their driver’s licenses because of DWI arrests, they really needs an experienced DWI lawyer to assist them with the administrative hearings and the possible criminal charges that follow the suspensions.
1. What Types of Driver’s Licenses are Available in Louisiana?
Louisiana issues five classes of driver’s licenses:
A. Commercial Driver’s License (Class “A” [Combination Vehicle],
B. Class “B” [Heavy Straight Vehicle] and
C. Class “C” [Light Vehicle]),
D. Chauffeur’s License (Class “D”) and
E. Personal Vehicle Driver’s License (Class “E”).
2. What Happens if a Commercial Driver’s License Holder (CDL) is Arrested for DWI?
The Louisiana Legislative has enacted laws to hold commercial license vehicle operators to a higher standard than that for non-commercial vehicle operators. For example, when a commercial driver’s license holder is disqualified, there is no economic hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle as there is for noncommercial vehicles. That means that although the CDL holder may be able to get a hardship license to drive a personal vehicle, he will be unable to obtain a hardship license to drive a commercial vehicle.
Thus, once a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is disqualified, there is no economic hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle as there is for noncommercial vehicles.
3. What Art Some of the Laws That Apply To CDL Holders?
Here are a few of the laws that apply to holders of commercial driver’s licenses:
1. If a CDL holder is arrested and his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is greater than 0.8% or he was under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) while driving any vehicle (a commercial vehicle or a non-commercial vehicle), he can be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year.
2.If a CDL holder is arrested and his BAC is between 0.4% & 0.8% while driving a commercial vehicle, he can be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for 1 year.
3. If a CDL holder is convicted for DWI, he can be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year.
4. If it is determined that a commercial driver has left the scene of an accident while operating any vehicle, a commercial vehicle or a non-commercial vehicle, he can be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year.
5. If a CDL holder refuses to submit to a BAC test or drug test while operating any vehicle, commercial or otherwise, he can be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year.
4. What Are Some Serious Driving Offenses for Which a CDL Holder May Be Disqualified?
1. Excessive speeding, involving any single offense for any speed of fifteen miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit.
2. Reckless driving
3. Improper or erratic traffic lane changes.
4. Following the vehicle ahead too closely.
5. A violation arising in connection with a fatal accident
6. Texting while driving.
7. Use of a handheld mobile telephone while driving a commercial motor vehicle.
5. Can a Person With a Suspended CDL Drive a Personal Vehicle?
Yes. The strict laws for drivers of commercial vehicles do not prohibit drivers from driving their personal vehicles. For example under some circumstances, any driver should be able to obtain a hardship license as allowed under Louisiana law.
6. Do the Administrative Hearings Apply to Holders of CDLs?
Yes. After the license of a CDL holder has been suspended under the Louisiana Implied Consent Laws, he has thirty days from the date of his arrest to file a request for an administrative hearing before an Administrative Law Judge to contest the suspension. The Implied Consent Laws apply to commercial driver’s license holders as well as to all other drivers.
7. What Happens at the Administrative Hearings for DWI License Suspensions?
When the administrative hearing occurs, law enforcement officer usually do not testify at the administrative hearing. A new law passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2012 prevents attorneys from subpoenaing law enforcement officers to appear at administrative hearing. The Administrative Law Judge will begin the hearing by introducing the records of the DPSC or other such evidence as will show whether the license should be suspended or returned to the motorist. At the administrative hearing, attorneys are allowed to call their clients and other witnesses who can contest the findings of the arresting officer or other officers on the scene of the arrest. Further, when the DPSC records are introduced by the administrative law judge, the motorist’s lawyer will usually object to the admissibility of these documents on the grounds that they are hearsay, incompetent evidence, and that they are not authenticated. However, the administrative law judge will usually overrule these objections and these documents are admitted at the administrative hearing notwithstanding the hearsay and authentication issues. For more information on commercial driver’s license suspensions, go to the web site of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections .
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorneys in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2017 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law. Published October 11, 2017.
If you are in need of a DWI/DUI, criminal defense, expungement, or personal injury lawyer, please contact Gaynell Williams today at 504-302-2462 for an appointment so that an aggressive lawyer who will be committed to your case can assist you today. Evenings and weekend sessions are available by appointment. We will work around your schedule.