Commitment To Justice

How an OWI in a personal vehicle could impact your CDL in Indiana

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2023 | Specialized Driving Privileges

People who drive a vehicle for a living are held to higher standards of safety and conduct behind the wheel than average drivers are. If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the threshold for mistakes or violations of the law is much lower, even when operating your personal vehicle.

Qualifying for specialized driving privileges (SDPs) is one example. This post will discuss why commercial drivers face greater risks when charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI).

Commercial drivers are ineligible for specialized driving privileges

If you hold a CDL and have been convicted of OWI, you may be able to apply for SDPs in your personal vehicle (so long as you did not refuse a chemical test). Even if they are granted, however, SDPs will not apply to your CDL. For the length of time that your license is suspended, you are not legally allowed to operate any commercial vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license.

Put another way, you may be able to drive to work, but you could not drive for work. Needless to say, this would effectively end your employment as a commercial driver.

Blood-alcohol limits are also lower for CDL holders

The standard measure for alcohol impairment is blood-alcohol content. Most drivers in Indiana will face legal trouble if their BAC is at or above 0.08%. For commercial drivers, however, the threshold is half of that.

If caught driving with a BAC between 0.04% and 0.08%, you won’t be charged with OWI but you will be cited for a Class C traffic infraction. This can and likely will negatively impact your commercial licensure status.

Protect your license by contacting an attorney

As a commercial driver, you cannot afford to lose your CDL or your personal license. If you’ve been accused of OWI or a Class C traffic infraction related to drinking and driving, it is imperative that you contest these charges with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney.