As a commercial truck driver, your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the most important document you have. Without it, you cannot drive, and you cannot make a living. Because the consequences for a violation can be so serious, it is essential to practice safe driving habits.

Drunk driving is an area of the law where Ohio CDL holders face especially strict penalties. While drivers of regular vehicles cannot have a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than .08, if you are behind the wheel of your truck, your BAC cannot be higher than .04.

Do not drink and drive

Even if you are behind the wheel of your car instead of your commercial truck, you will face CDL-related penalties for drunk driving. For example, if you refuse a breath, blood or urine test, your CDL will automatically be suspended for a year. A conviction for OVI or DUI will also mean a year-long CDL suspension.

A second conviction or test refusal will mean the lifetime suspension of your CDL. Unlike regular driver’s licenses, where you can – in some circumstances – be granted limited driving privileges, this is not possible for a CDL. You will need to find a new line of work.

Call an attorney immediately

Just like with any other drunk driving arrest, it is important to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. While you will not receive limited driving privileges with a CDL suspension, an attorney may be able to secure a stay of the suspension or file an appeal.

Police take drunk driving by truck drivers extremely seriously, because trucking accidents are usually much worse than car-on-car collisions. It is, however, important to remember that you have the same rights as anyone else when facing arrest. A lawyer can help protect them.