If your occupation is a trucker or bus driver, the last thing you want is to lose your commercial driver’s license.
However, the penalties in Wisconsin for driving under the influence when operating a commercial vehicle are severe and could seriously disrupt your career.
Earning your CDL
In the state of Wisconsin, anyone who operates a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds, that hauls hazardous materials or that carries 16 or more passengers, such as a school bus, must have a commercial driver’s license. Exemptions include firefighters and rescue personnel, farmers and RV operators. Those under the requirement to carry a CDL go through considerable testing and are expected to have a thorough understanding of state and federal laws as applicable to their occupation.
Penalties for OWI/DUI
If the police arrest you for drinking and driving while operating a commercial vehicle, and your blood alcohol content level is between .04 percent and .08 percent, you will face a fine of $150 to $300 as a first offender. However, you will also no longer qualify to operate a commercial vehicle for a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. If receive a second arrest for OWI/DUI while driving a commercial vehicle, the fine increases to as much as $1,000 and the penalty will be a lifetime disqualification. Your career as a commercial driver will be over.
Fighting your charges
Regardless of guilt, you have rights and can challenge the charges against you, especially when your livelihood is at stake with the possible revocation of your CDL. An investigation into the charges and the circumstances surrounding your arrest may produce evidence that there was an error in the procedures or that a breathalyzer machine did not undergo proper calibration. When your future is at stake, you will want to pursue every avenue available to protect your commercial driver’s license and thus your job.