OVI and Commercial Drivers

The gravity of an OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) charge is heavy in Ohio, particularly for those who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL). For CDL professionals, an OVI offense could spell not just legal trouble but could pose a threat to their very means of earning a living. Immediate suspension or worse, disqualification from holding a CDL, can result from either being charged with OVI, failing an administered OVI test, or declining to partake in a chemical test. This is in addition to the standard penalties endured by non-commercial drivers.

Should you, or an acquaintance, be facing charges under OVI as a CDL operator, securing competent legal representation is crucial. A Youngstown OVI attorney with proficiency in Youngstown OVI laws related to commercial driving licenses can meticulously dissect your case to forge a robust defense capable of discounting the prosecution’s case. Reach out to the Youngstown Criminal Law Group for adept legal counsel to protect your professional standing.

OVI charges are a serious matter in Ohio, carrying potentially devastating implications for individuals with a CDL. Youngstown Criminal Law Group provides legal expertise to commercial drivers combating OVI and other grave traffic-related allegations. Our aims include supporting you throughout the ALS appeal and hearing, all while mounting a solid defense for your courthouse proceedings.

Contact us today at (330) 992-3036 for a complimentary first consultation. Our legal team will review your situation in detail and present you with all available legal paths. Serving clients across the Youngstown area and Mahoning County

Does a DUI Mean CDL Loss in Ohio?

Being stopped on the suspicion of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) as a CDL holder can lead to your license being suspended or disqualified. Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) enforces stringent measures to prevent the occurrence of drink-and-drive cases among their drivers. This is clear from the set legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) limit for CDL drivers in Ohio, which is a stringent .04, rather than the standard .08.

Refusal to participate in a chemical test for alcohol or drugs results in an outright disqualification for one year. Should you fail the test, the same punishment applies. Below are the periods of disqualification for failing an OVI chemical test as a CDL holder:

  • Any detectable level of alcohol – Immediate 24 Hours Off-Duty
  • .04 on a Breathalyzer Test – One-Year Disqualification
  • .048 on a Blood Test – One-Year Disqualification
  • .056 on a Urine Test – One-Year Disqualification

One might assume that an OVI conviction made during personal time won’t impact one’s career. Sadly, this is not true. A conviction in any motor vehicle can trigger a CDL disqualification for up to a year. This also holds if under the influence of controlled substances.

The legal BAC for a CDL driver operating a commercial vehicle in Ohio stands at .04 – merely half of the standard legal limit of .08. It’s critical to note that even if the OVI was not obtained while driving a commercial vehicle, a one-year ALS can still be enforced.

Ohio law stipulates that a CDL can be suspended or terminated for a variety of infractions, including but not limited to:

  • BAC of .04 or above – one-year suspension per 4506.15(A)2
  • Operating under the influence of controlled substances – one-year suspension under 4506.15(A)5
  • Use of a commercial vehicle in committing a felony – one-year suspension under 4506.15(A)6
  • Refusal of a blood, breath, or urine test – one-year suspension under 4506.15(A)7

For drivers hauling hazardous materials and convicted of these offenses, a three-year disqualification is enforced under section 4506.16(B)6 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC).

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Suspensions

Understanding Restrictions and Privileges Post-Violation

For individuals holding a CDL, there are certain non-negotiable restrictions that the court must follow if the driver has been suspended due to OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired), refusal to take a test, or failing such tests. Specifically, the law clearly states:

  • The court has no authority to permit individuals to drive a CMV during a suspension period.
  • This includes prohibitions on driving CMVs for work purposes as per the strict guidelines of R.C. §4506.161, which asserts that:

 > “Limited driving privileges shall not be granted for the operation of a CMV to any individual whose driving rights have been suspended or who is disqualified from driving such a vehicle.”

  •  Furthermore, any suspension of a commercial driver’s license will coincide with the suspension or disqualification under R.C. §4506.16.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), in accordance with federal laws and standards, will impose disqualifications and such measures cannot be decreased or amended in any way.

When a CDL holder is given driving privileges, it’s essential to understand that while they may drive for “employment purposes” the law strictly forbids them from operating a CMV. To clarify, the BMV recommends the use of specific language in any legal documentation regarding driving privileges of a CDL holder:

  • “The individual is sanctioned to drive a non-CMV for employment-related travel only. Operation of a vehicle that necessitates a CDL is strictly prohibited.”

How Can I Regain My CDL Following a DUI?

Restoration of a CDL after a DUI falls under the management of Ohio’s BMV and operates separately from criminal court cases. For commercial drivers looking to contest their CDL disqualification:

  • Lodge an appeal with the BMV by requesting a hearing within 30 days post-disqualification notice.
  • If a hearing is granted, the disqualification is on hold until the final decision.

Should you have legal representation, an accomplished Ohio, Youngstown OVI attorney specializing in CDL issues can assist during this process.

In the event the hearing doesn’t end in your favor, the following steps must be taken to get your license back:

  • Wait until your suspension or disqualification period concludes.
  • Fulfill any sentencing ordained by the court, which might include imprisonment or payment of fines.
  • Complete any mandated courses targeting substance and alcohol abuse recovery.
  • Engage in and successfully finish a remedial driving class.
  • Undergo and pass the CDL examination again.
  • Pay the reinstatement fees, approximately $475.

It’s critical to remember, a second DUI-related disqualification results in permanent revocation of your CDL. Legally, any CDL driver with two OVI-related infractions is permanently banned from driving a CMV.

Can You Obtain a CDL in Ohio with an OVI?

Obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in the wake of an Operating a Vehicle under the Influence (OVI) charge or conviction in Ohio is still within the realm of possibility. Those who have encountered such legal hurdles should be aware, however, that their history will be under scrutiny as the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) examines their background during the application process.

The BMV has the full authority to deny CDL applications and a history of OVI can be a significant factor in their decision-making. Career aspirations as a commercial driver could be halted by such past convictions; therefore, it is paramount to seek legal aid to contest any OVI accusations. Successfully contesting these charges may prevent them from becoming a roadblock in your professional pursuits, particularly in relation to obtaining a CDL in the future.

Reinstating a CDL After Multiple DUI Offenses

A second conviction related to OVI could result in a perpetual suspension of your CDL. The specific circumstances and nature of the offense dictate the duration and terms of disqualification:

  • A Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .04% or greater under ORC 4506.15(A)2 could result in a lifetime ban.
  • Operating under the influence of a controlled substance per ORC 4506.15(A)5 also carries a lifetime suspension.
  • Departing the scene of an accident as stipulated under ORC 4506.15(D) invites a lifetime suspension.
  • Utilizing a commercial vehicle in the course of a felony as per ORC 4506.15(E) leads to a lifetime suspension.
  • Refusing to undergo a blood, breath, or urine test as described in ORC 4506.15(F) results in a lifetime suspension.
  • A first-time felony involving a controlled substance under ORC 4506.16(B)4 carries a lifetime suspension.
  • An initial Out of Service violation under ORC 4506.15(A)7 may result in a 90-day suspension.
  • A second Out of Service offense under ORC 4506.16(A)2 can lead to a one-year suspension.
  • A third violation of Out of Service according to ORC 4506.16(A)3 could mean a three-year suspension.

Further Reading and Resources

To find more detailed information about disqualifications and how to handle CDL infractions, you may refer to the following resources:

  • CDL Disqualifications | Ohio BMV: This is the official portal for Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles where comprehensive insights about disqualification from CDL, major violations involving alcohol or drugs, traffic infractions, border violations, and the procedure for appealing a CDL revocation are available.
  • Ohio CDL DUI Laws: For an exhaustive rundown of Ohio’s legislation regarding OVI, visit the Ohio Revised Code’s official site. Here, you can explore the nature of the offense, its potential legal consequences, and other offenses connected to OVI.

At Youngstown Criminal Law Group in Youngstown, we recognize the value of your CDL to your career, and our Youngstown Criminal attorneys are committed to representing a spectrum of commercial drivers, whether they are truckers or part of the moving, construction, or utility sectors. Our experience encompasses the tactics of local law enforcement within Mahoning County, including both the Youngstown Police Department and the Mahoning County OVI Task Force.

Our Youngstown Criminal lawyers are well-acquainted with the specific challenges a CDL holder encounters in the aftermath of an OVI charge in Ohio. No matter the scenario—be it a disputed breathalyzer result or refusal to partake in chemical testing—we invite you to reach out   or call us at (330) 992-3036 or a discussion about your legal options.

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