The federal government requires that commercial motor vehicle drivers obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Commercial vehicles include trucks, buses, large capacity vehicles, and hazmat vehicles, among others. There are three classes of CDL: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Classes are determined by vehicle types, vehicle weights, and the types of materials being transported.
As a piece of federal documentation, a CDL is an interstate license. A CDL may be obtained by commercial drivers in Massachusetts through MassDOT at RMV locations, but only after they pass driving tests, written exams, and other requirements.
Commercial Driver’s License Offenses
There are two classifications for CDL offenses in Massachusetts: major offenses and serious offenses. A DUI is considered a major offense, whereas serious offenses are usually moving violations, reckless driving violations, and traffic violations.
If you are convicted of a first DUI in Massachusetts, you will be disqualified from obtaining a CDL for at least one year, or three years if you transport hazardous materials. This is true regardless of whether or not you were charged while driving your commercial vehicle or a personal vehicle. A second DUI conviction will result in a lifetime disqualification from obtaining a CDL.
Your CDL will also be suspended for one year if you refuse a breathalyzer test, leave the scene of an accident involving your commercial vehicle, or cause a death through neglectful driving of your commercial vehicle. Although the BAC limit is .08% for Massachusetts over the age of 21, it is .04% for drivers while they are operating a commercial vehicle. You will face a one-year suspension for having a BAC over .04% while driving your CDL vehicle.
It is important to distinguish between DUI arrests, DUI charges, and DUI convictions. Although police officers may arrest you for driving under the influence, it is up to the prosecutor to file charges. Usually, the prosecutor is a district attorney. Once charges are filed, you must go to court with or without an attorney before you can be convicted.
You should seek legal counsel immediately if you are a commercial driver and have been arrested for a DUI. You should also seek legal help if you were cited while driving your commercial vehicle over the .04% BAC limit. Remember, just because you have been arrested and charged, does not mean you are guilty.
Reinstating Your CDL in Massachusetts
If you are already disqualified from obtaining a CDL and you are attempting to be reinstated, seek the help of a Massachusetts DUI attorney. You can reinstate your CDL through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, but there are some steps you need to take.
First, you will have to wait until you are eligible to be reinstated. The wait time will depend on your violation. A first-time DUI violation is considered major and has a waiting period of one year. A first-time serious violation, such as speeding in excess of 15 mph, does not result in a disqualification. However, a second serious violation within three years of the first will result in a 60-day disqualification. A third serious violation within 3 years will result in a 120-day disqualification.
In any instance, you must reapply for your Commercial Driver’s License. The court may apply additional penalties depending on your case.
Second, you will need to meet any requirements laid out by the court and the RMV. You may be required to attend driving courses, go to alcohol education classes, participate in alcohol treatment programs, or participate in necessary hearings. A DUI attorney can help you determine which requirements you need to meet and prepare you, and your documentation, for all of them.
Third, you will need to pay any fines, fees, or costs that resulted from your violation. You may also need to pay requisite fees associated with CDL registration.
Fourth, you may need to retake any written exams, road exams, or endorsement exams as specified by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, even if you already took them previously.
As a commercial driver, a DUI is a very serious charge. But it doesn’t have to be the end of your career. If your Commercial Driver’s License is at risk because of a first-time DUI charge or any other offenses, seek the help of an experienced Massachusetts DUI attorney.
Everyone deserves a defense in the court of law. Depending on the details of your case, a DUI attorney may also be able to have your charges reduced or earn you a verdict of not guilty in court. A DUI attorney will also walk you through all the necessary steps for getting your CDL reinstated should you become disqualified.