Commercial drivers are entrusted with responsibilities for which everyday drivers are not equipped. Because they must know how to operate heavy and expensive semi-trucks safely and carefully, they are expected to study, test, and apply for a commercial drivers license before they are hired on by over-the-road hauling companies.
When you want to acquire or maintain this license, you may wonder Can You Get a CDL with a DUI on your record. You may be able to start or continue driving a truck after a DUI depending on the state in which you plan to work or the company at which you apply for employment.
What is a commercial drivers license and how does it differ from a license that you get to drive your personal vehicle? A CDL is a special license that allows you to drive not only big rigs or semi-trucks but also may be required for driving a limo or driving for Uber. Many states require this special class of license for driving any vehicle that is longer or heavier than a personal vehicle like a sedan or pickup truck or any vehicle that is used for a commercial purpose like public transport.
Many commercial companies like over-the-road hauling corporations or companies that hire people for driving a limo for special events likewise require that their drivers undergo this special training and licensing. People hired for driving for Uber or other ride-sharing companies are typically considered to be safer and better drivers if they go through the rigorous training and testing for a CDL.
However, like a regular drivers license, a CDL can be negatively impacted if you are arrested for and convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The court has the right to restrict or take away your CDL, which in turn could make it difficult or impossible for you to keep your job as a commercial driver.
Further, a DUI could prevent you from getting a CDL if you have yet to obtain this type of license. Again, the answer to Can You Get a CDL with a DUI varies from state to state. Nonetheless, it is best that you know the broader impact of how this offense can impact your ability to pursue a career in commercial driving. You may be able to realize your career goals and protect your CDL better if you have a DUI attorney to help you avoid a drunk driving conviction or expunge your record.
How a DUI Attorney Can Help
A DUI attorney can be your best resource if you are serious about getting or keeping a CDL as well as a job in the commercial driving industry. Some companies that hire commercial drivers will overlook a DUI that has been on your record for some time. In fact, some businesses require you to have no DUI offenses within the last year on your record but may overlook convictions that are a year or older.
Still, some CDL companies are not that forgiving and require that you have a stellar driving record as possible. Even an older DUI could put you in jeopardy of being turned down for a driving job even if you have a current CDL. Rather than put your driving career at risk, you can get and maintain a clean driving and criminal record by hiring a DUI attorney to take your case. Your attorney may be able to help you avoid a DUI conviction or have prior DUIs expunged from your record so that you can get a CDL and commercial driving job.
If you are facing a possible DUI conviction, it is crucial that you get a DUI lawyer on retainer as quickly as possible. You cannot afford to lose even a single day of defense as your case progresses through the court system.
Immediately after your arrest, booking, and processing, you should reach out to a local DUI attorney to take your case. If you can, you should make that phone call before you are arraigned. If not, you should hire a lawyer just as soon as you bond out of jail. You need a lawyer working your case from the very first day after you are arrested for DUI.
Your attorney will get to work right away to determine if the police had due cause for pulling you over and testing you for DUI. If there is any discrepancy in your detainment or field sobriety test results, your lawyer may ask the court to dismiss the charges. The charges also could be dropped if your rights were violated at any time during your arrest and processing.
If the charges are upheld, your lawyer may be able to get them reduced if you are a first-time offender or if you are a juvenile. Reduced charges could result in you paying a fine or doing community service. These punishments could help you keep your CDL and still make you eligible for employment as a commercial driver.
Once a DUI is placed on your record, it is important that you know whether or not you can have it expunged. When you have the conviction expunged, you are basically hiding it from certain people like corporate recruiters, insurers, leasing agents, and others who typically perform routine background checks.
When the conviction is expunged, it is no longer visible to these individuals. They cannot find out if or when you were ever convicted of DUI.
Your lawyer may be able to get the record expunged if the offense took place years ago and you satisfied all of the terms of your sentencing. Likewise, it could be expunged if the conviction occurred when you were a juvenile or if any details of the case like your field sobriety tests could be called into question.
How to Hire a DUI Attorney
A DUI attorney can be a tremendous ally in your efforts to avoid a DUI conviction or clean up your driving and criminal records. But how can you find one to hire and how can you afford to pay for an attorney?
When you want to find a good DUI lawyer to take your case, you should start by asking friends and family members for recommendations. With DUI being one of the most common offenses in society today, chances are that someone you know also knows the name of a good DUI lawyer.
If not, you can go online and read the reviews of local DUI attorneys. You may consider those who have the highest client ratings. You can also call the state bar association to ask for a referral for a competent DUI attorney.
Paying for a DUI lawyer is not as complicated as it would appear. Many lawyers allow you to make payments or use a credit card to pay your legal fees. Some even allow you to use assets like a tax refund to settle your legal expenses.
If you cannot afford to hire a DUI attorney, you must by law be appointed one by the court. This right is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and allows people with little to no financial means to have access to suitable legal counsel when facing charges of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A career in commercial driving can give you the satisfaction and income that you look for in a job. However, your license and employment could be in jeopardy if you are convicted of driving under the influence.
You can beat a DUI charge and keep your CDL by hiring a DUI attorney to take your case. Your lawyer may be able to help you avoid being convicted or ask the court to have your DUI conviction expunged from your record.