If you have a commercial driver’s license, you are held to a high standard. You see, if you are a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or police officer; you get a second chance. But if you drive a big rig a second mistake can result in a lifetime disqualification. This is true even if your “mistakes” do not happen when you are on the clock. A CDL holder does not have to be driving a commercial vehicle under the influence to trigger a suspension of his commercial driver’s license.
The first offense drunk driving charge is bad enough. Blow over the limit or refuse to blow, a CDL permit holder automatically loses his commercial driver’s license for one year. This is the case if the driver is in his rig or in his private car. Worse yet, the CDL driver cannot by law get driving privileges. R.C. 4506.161. A first offense conviction means that you lose your right to earn a living for one year. If you have an OVI conviction, you can no longer get convicted of an OVI or have a refusal of a breath test for the rest of your life! R.C. 4506.16 (F)(2). This is the bad news!
The good news is that I can defend you. First step – make sure the officer did his/her job. The police officers must read the proper consequences to a CDL holder from the 2255 form, which includes specific advice for CDL holders. R.C. 4506.17 (C). Many police officers do not realize that the advice for CDL is applicable when the offender was operating an ordinary vehicle—not just a commercial vehicle. The Administrative License Suspension (ALS) is often improperly executed, because the officer fails to read the offender the pertinent sections on the BMV 2255. Want to get back to work? Appealing the ALS for failure to read the specific consequences will allow you to get back to work.
Step two – Plead To The Right Section!
If you plead to the OVI city ordinance instead of the state ordinance, many times this will not trigger a lifetime disqualification of the commercial driver’s license. Why? The answer lies in the language of the Revised Code. The BMV has, at times, set aside disqualifications and issued reinstatements of CDL’s when appealed. If it saves your job, most prosecutors will not oppose a conviction for OVI under the city code.
Is that good enough? No! You cannot plead to the “per se” section (prohibited concentration) of the city code, for that would likely trigger the per se level prohibition under 4506.16 (D)(1). If so convicted, it would lead to lifetime disqualification on a second offense.
Let’s save your job. You can apply for a “regular” license and then seek limited driving privileges. Although you will not be able to have privileges to operate a commercial vehicle, you can work at the dock or in some other phase of the packing or distribution division without need for the CDL. Sometimes, this will save your job.
What else? My father was a CDL driver. He delivered coal for a living. Without his back-breaking hard work, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to college. On occasion, I helped him and believe me – working for you is not as hard as shoveling two or three tons of coal in the cold. I am good at what I do and he would be proud of me helping you.