A traffic stop that turns into a driving under the influence (DUI) investigation is a nerve-racking and often frightening experience for any motorist. If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and you find yourself the suspect in a DUI investigation, you have considerably more to lose than the average motorist. As you already know, obtaining your CDL requires exceptional driving skills and knowledge. Consequently, the law holds commercial drivers to a higher standard than drivers of passenger vehicles. To ensure that you understand what is at stake if you hold a CDL, a Cass County DUI attorney explains how a DUI impacts a commercial driver’s license.
Nebraska’s DUI Law
Nebraska Revised Statute 60-6,196 governs driving under the influence, reading as follows:
Driving under influence of alcoholic liquor or drug; penalties.
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or be in the actual physical control of any motor vehicle:
(a) While under the influence of alcoholic liquor or of any drug;
(b) When such person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per one hundred milliliters of his or her blood; or
(c) When such person has a concentration of eight-hundredths of one gram or more by weight of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of his or her breath.
In summary, the statute makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level of 0.09 percent or while “under the influence” of alcohol or drugs. The BAC level of 0.08, however, only applies when the motor vehicle in question is a passenger vehicle.
How Is the Law Different for a Motorist with a Commercial Driver’s License?
If you hold a commercial driver’s license, the rules are a little different when it comes to a conviction for DUI. You will be disqualified for a CDL license for one year upon the first conviction for any of the following “major offenses” that occur while you are operating any motor vehicle (it does not have to be a commercial vehicle):
- Driving any motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
- Refusing to take an alcohol or drug test after operating any motor vehicle.
- Leaving the scene of an accident driving any motor vehicle.
- Committing a felony offense involving the use of any motor vehicle.
If you are operating a commercial vehicle at the time, you will be disqualified for one year for a CDL license upon the first conviction for any of the following major offenses:
- Driving a CMV while the person’s alcohol level is 0.04% or more.
- Driving a CMV while the driver’s CDL is revoked, suspended, cancelled, or the driver is disqualified from operating a CMV.
- Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV, including motor vehicle homicide.
Note: For a first offense, the disqualification period is three years if the vehicle is transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded.
If you are convicted of any of these offenses for a second time, you will be disqualified for a CDL license for life. Some drivers may qualify to apply for reinstatement of their CDL license after ten years if disqualified for life; however, you will need to consult with your DUI attorney to find out if you qualify for the possibility of reinstatement.
Additional Penalties and Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Keep in mind that being disqualified for your CDL license is a penalty in addition to all the potential penalties any driver faces when convicted of driving under the influence. If convicted, you also face the possibility of penalties and consequences that include:
- Jail time
- Period of time on probation
- Court costs and fines
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Increased insurance rates for several years after your conviction
- Lost job opportunities
If you hold a CDL and have been charged with DUI in the State of Nebraska, you have more to lose than the average driver. Do not make the mistake of assuming a conviction is a foregone conclusion, as the police and the prosecutor would like you to believe. You owe it to yourself, and your future, to discuss the possibility of avoiding a conviction with an experienced DUI defense attorney.
Contact a Cass County DUI Attorney
If you were recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Nebraska, contact a Cass County DUI attorney at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.