Special Concerns for CDL Holders Arrested For a DUI

Posted by Richard Lawson | Dec 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

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? 

How Quaint!

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.

Georgia CDL DUI

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Richard Lawson

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