Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is always a serious crime, no matter what type of vehicle you are driving at the time of your arrest. Having a commercial driver's license affects many different parts of the DUI arrest, from what type of vehicle you were driving at the time of arrest to the outcome of a conviction. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions surrounding a commercial vehicle and DUI arrest/conviction in Maine:
I was arrested for DUI while driving my personal vehicle. Can I lose my CDL too?
Yes. Regardless of what vehicle you were driving, if you hold a CDL you will lose it for at least one year after a DUI conviction. If you are driving a personal vehicle, your blood alcohol content must be below .08%, and those above this number will lose both licenses if they are convicted of DUI.
My commercial vehicle was carrying hazardous materials when I was arrested for DUI. Will that make a difference?
Carrying hazardous materials will only affect the time period that you lose your CDL if you are convicted of DUI. The suspension period changes from one year to three years for drivers carrying hazardous materials.
My BAC was only .05% when I was arrested for DUI in my commercial vehicle. Is there a difference in the legal limit for those driving commercial vehicles?
Driving under the influence is determined based on a .08% legal limit only for drivers of passenger vehicles. The limit for commercial drivers is half that amount, .04%, in Maine. Any number above this legal BAC limit will result in a DUI arrest.
The legal limit for commercial drivers is .04%, but my BAC was .03%. Why was I still arrested?
Even if you are under the legal limit for commercial vehicle drivers, any number above 0.00% will result in a 24-hour shut down in the state of Maine. After that, you may continue your delivery without needing to be charged for DUI. It is simply a precautionary measure used to prevent commercial vehicle accidents.
How long will I lose my license if I am convicted a second time for DUI in a commercial vehicle in Maine?
There is absolutely no tolerance for a repeat offense in a commercial vehicle, so a second conviction means lifetime loss of CDL driving privileges. You will not be allowed to drive or operate any type of commercial vehicle without this license, and some states will check for this type of revocation before issuing a CDL in that respective state.
Why are commercial drivers treated so differently than drivers of personal vehicles?
On average, a commercial vehicle weighs thousands more pounds than a family vehicle, even a larger personal vehicle such as an SUV. Accidents in commercial vehicles have a far greater likelihood in resulting in more serious end results, such as extensive property damage, serious bodily injuries, and fatalities. For that reason, drivers have to be far more aware of everything going on around them, and having alcohol in your system means lowered ability to focus, impaired vision, and slower reaction time, all elements of a real disaster for commercial vehicle accidents.