Fort Wayne Commercial OWI Attorneys
Defending CDL Holders Accused of DUI in Allen County
Indiana laws are particularly severe on people accused of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. They are even harsher for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. Because these drivers operate big rigs and other large vehicles, they are held to a higher standard to ensure the safety of others on the road. As such, Indiana law provides that a CDL holder may be charged with a DUI even if their BAC was under .08 (the legal BAC limit for drivers of passenger vehicles).
If you are a CDL holder accused of operating a vehicle with alcohol in your system, you face not only fines but also the loss of your livelihood, as your license will be suspended and you will not be able to drive for work. To seek to avoid or minimize such penalties, it is imperative that you get in touch with one of our Fort Wayne commercial OWI lawyers at Arnold Terrill, P.C. immediately. The sooner you retain our services, the sooner we can get started on building the strongest possible defense for you.
OWI Charges for Indiana CDL Holders
As mentioned previously, CDL holders are held to a higher standard than drivers licensed to operate passenger vehicles. This is evident in how the state handles instances of drinking and driving.
Generally, a non-commercial driver’s license holder will be charged with an OWI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher. For CDL holders, the BAC limit is much lower.
Under IC 9-24-6.1-6, a commercial driver’s license holder commits an offense when their blood or breath alcohol concentration is .04 or higher but less than .08.
Penalties for a Commercial OWI in Indiana
A commercial DUI in Fort Wayne is a Class C infraction. In Indiana, a Class C infraction is a civil matter and is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 (IC 34-28-5-4).
Still, a fine is not the only penalty a CDL holder can face after an OWI conviction. They may also lose their privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
The length of the CDL suspension period depends on the situation:
- First OWI conviction: 1-year suspension
- First OWI conviction (transporting hazardous material): 3-year suspension
- Second OWI conviction: Lifetime suspension
If a CDL holder has been convicted of an OWI and has been subject to a license suspension, they are required to notify their employer. Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines, the driver must complete this requirement within 30 days of the conviction and the next business day after the suspension. Failing to do so could result in civil and criminal penalties.
At Arnold Terrill, P.C., our Fort Wayne commercial OWI attorneys are ready to fight aggressively for you. We will seek to help you maintain your CDL and livelihood.
Commercial OWI and Implied Consent Laws
CMV drivers who refuse a chemical test following an OWI arrest can also face a license suspension. Under implied consent laws and regulations, CDL holders have agreed to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine the level of alcohol in their system.
A refusal of any of these tests can result in a driver’s license suspension for the following periods:
- First refusal: 1 year
- Second refusal: 2 years
Special Driving Privileges and CDL Holders
Special driving privileges allow a person to continue to operate a motor vehicle (with conditions set by the court) during the period of suspension. In Indiana, these privileges do not apply to those operating commercial vehicles. Thus, although a CDL holder can drive a non-commercial vehicle with special driving privileges, they cannot drive a CMV, which means they would not be able to work.
Our Fort Wayne Attorneys Can Help Fight Your Commercial OWI Charge
At Arnold Terrill, P.C., we recognize the adverse effects a commercial OWI can have on your ability to support yourself and your family. We genuinely care about the outcome of your case, which is why we will be dedicated to defending your rights and future.
Our firm has built a great reputation due to our proven track record of success in complex cases.
Our legal team will provide a vigorous defense regardless of the severity of the charge.
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We understand that time is of the essence. We are available 24/7 and offer free consultations.
At Arnold Terrill, P.C, our attorneys have a combined 75 years of legal experience.