Many commercial drivers' license (hereafter CDL) holders make their livelihood using their CDL. Not only do CDL holder drive tractor trailers, but many heavy equipment operators are required to have a CDL. CDL holders can earn a substantial income, and when they are accused of a DUI, their livelihood is at risk, even before the criminal case has been adjudicated. There are many special concerns CDL holders have when they are arrested for a DUI.
What about due process?
What about a person being innocent until proven guilty?
How about our other constitutional rights?
Under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, we are afforded the right not to self-incriminate ourselves. Even though the constitution is very clear on the right not to self-incriminate oneself, the legislature and appellate courts have turned a blind eye on the application of such regarding CDL holders.
Refusing to take a Breathalyzer is not a crime. However, refusing to take a breathalyzer as a CDL holder is considered a “Major Violation. See. The crime of refusing to take a Breathalyzer does not exist, only the criminal offence of driving under the influence. The punishment for refusing to take a Breathalyzer as a CDL holder is a one-year disqualification of the CDL license for a first offense. A second violation results in a lifetime disqualification of their commercial driver's license.
Furthermore, a CDL driver must have their physical driver's license in their possession to drive legally.
When a person is arrested for a DUI, the officer takes their physical license and gives the accused the GA DDS-1205 form. A Georgia DDS-1205 form (temporary driver's license) will not suffice for a CDL holder. They need an actual, plastic license.
As a result, even though refusing a Breathalyzer has never been designated as a crime in Georgia, in and of itself, a CDL holder can lose his or her privilege to drive, and earn a living before they have even been convicted of driving under the influence. Getting a DUI in Georgia as a CDL holder is a serious problem, and we are here to help.
Thank you to my Law Clerk Sarah Illg for this contribution to our blog.