Can A Person With A Commercial Driver’s License Drive On a Temporary License After a DUI Arrest?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Aug 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

A Commercial Driver's License ("CDL") holder charged with a DUI faces many legal and practical consequences above and beyond the ordinary DUI consequences. Not only are Georgia's DUI laws much stricter, but also a CDL holder's job depends on a valid driver's license.

Being arrested for a DUI in Georgia triggers a criminal and civil process. In the civil process, the Georgia Department of Driver Services ("DDS") tries to administratively suspend your driver's license. This proceeding is called an Administrative License Hearing (“ALS”).

If you refuse the state-administered breath test or test over the “per se” legal limit, your CDL could be suspended for one year. This suspension includes operating commercial vehicles. Furthermore, you could potentially lose your CDL permanently is convicted of two DUI's in your lifetime.

If you have a CDL, the “per se” limit depends on whether you are in a vehicle that must be driven by a CDL holder.  When a CDL holder is driving an ordinary vehicle, the applicable DUI laws are no different from any other drivers, including the .08 "legal limit."  When a CDL holder is driving a commercial vehicle, the applicable "legal limit" is .04.

After a Georgia DUI Arrest, the arresting officer, should have given you a temporary driver's license.  The temporary license is called a DS-1205 Form.  It serves as a temporary driver's license for the 30 days following your arrest.

You should not confuse the Form 1205 temporary license with a limited permit. Limited permits are available to Georgia drivers after a first DUI conviction within a 5-year period. A limited DUI permit allows driving to work, school, and medical purposes.  Unfortunately, limited driving permits are not valid for driving a commercial vehicle.

A 1205 temporary license (given at the time of arrest), on the other hand, is a pre-conviction license.  It has no restrictions.

CDL holders often ask if they can drive a commercial motor vehicle with this temporary license. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA"), the answer is yes. FMCSA notes that when the State takes your CDL at arrest, that license is valid until the administrative revocation action is taken. Thus, according to this interpretation, the temporary license can be considered a “receipt” for your CDL, and a driver does not violate any CDL requirements by "accepting" this receipt and using it for a designated time.

While the does not expressly prohibit driving a company car on a temporary license, you may still want to check with your trucking company to make sure that its insurance policy will cover you while you have a temporary license.  Like circumstances with any company vehicle, insurance coverage is sometimes the deal breaker.

If you have been charged with a DUI in Georgia, contact your Atlanta DUI Attorney today to save your driving privileges. You only have 30 days to have your Atlanta DUI Lawyer file an appeal. Atlanta DUI Attorney Richard Lawson is a former DUI Prosecutor with over 20 years experience defending people accused of DUI throughout Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are here when you need us most.

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Richard Lawson

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