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Driving While Intoxicated 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 driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.





What Types of Driver’s Licenses are Available in Louisiana?


Louisiana issues five classes of driver's licenses: Commercial Driver's License (Classes “A” [Combination Vehicle], “B” [Heavy Straight Vehicle] and “C” [Light Vehicle]), Chauffeur's License (Class “D”) and Personal Vehicle Driver's License (Class “E”).


What Happen is 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. 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.


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.


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.


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.


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. © 2017-2020 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law.


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.

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