If you drive a truck for a living, you may have been fortunate to be among the few who kept your job during the recent worldwide crisis and economic shutdown. Having a steady job in any economy is critical, especially if you have bills to pay, goals to reach or family members who depend on you. For this reason, you may be rightfully anxious about the future if you have been arrested under suspicion of drunk driving.
A DWI arrest can have enormous implications for a Minnesota commercial driver or a driver who is arrested passing through this state. The drunk driving laws are among the strictest in the country, and the collateral consequences may be enough to derail your future.
Can you afford these consequences?
Because commercial drivers often operate enormous vehicles and sometimes carry hazardous materials, the regulations for CDL holders are much stricter and the penalties even more severe than for most other drivers. Even in your personal vehicle, your actions may affect the status of your CDL. When it comes to alcohol offenses, however, you should be aware of the following:
- After a first offense DWI, you will likely lose your CDL for at least one year. This will probably mean you will not be able to work in your chosen profession.
- If you were transporting anything hazardous at the time of your DWI arrest, your CDL license suspension will last three years.
- To regain your CDL, you may have to repeat your training, retake your test and submit to a background check, likely at your own expense.
- A second offense DWI typically results in a permanent disqualification from holding or regaining a CDL.
- Even if the first DWI occurred before you got your CDL, the lifetime disqualification may still apply if you get a second DWI after obtaining your commercial license.
It may seem like having one DWI on your record will only affect you for a short time, and when you have regained your CDL, you can return to your job driving a commercial vehicle. However, since those with drunk driving convictions on their records often pay much higher insurance premiums, many trucking companies will not hire someone with a DWI on his or her record.
Therefore, it is wise to avoid these consequences altogether by never drinking alcohol before you drive, even in your personal vehicle. However, if you should face this difficult issue, you will want reliable information for building a solid defense strategy.