Commercial Vehicle DUI Charges
Ohio's stance on driving under the influence is very staunch and punitive. In fact, it is illegal to operate a commercial vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol, illegal drugs, or controlled substance in your system. Your commercial driver's license (CDL) could also be in jeopardy if you are charged with an OVI offense while in your personal vehicle.
If you're worried about losing your CDL and your livelihood to a DUI or OVI offense (in or out of the commercial vehicle you operate), an experienced defense attorney can help you protect your driving privileges, your good criminal record, and your career.
Commercial Vehicle DUI Attorney in Cincinnati, OH
The legal team at Joslyn Law Firm understand that your CDL is more than just a specialized driver's license – it's how you provide for your family. With specialized BAC testing training and experience in the most complex of cases, our team will fight hard to protect your rights and get any questionable evidence dismissed.
If you've been charged with a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) DUI offense that affects your CDL in Cincinnati or the surrounding areas, including Sharonville, Elmwood Place, and Saint Bernard. Nearby cities in Hamilton County include Lebanon, Cheviot, Deer Park, Forest Park, Harrison, Village of Indian Hill, Madeira, Montgomery, Mount Healthy, North College Hill, Sharonville, Reading, Silverton, Springdale, St. Bernard and Wyoming, Ohio.
Brian Joslyn also represents commercial drivers and CDL holders in Hamilton County and the adjacent counties including Butler County to the north, Warren County to the northeast, and Clermont County to the east.
Call (513) 399-6289 today.
How Commercial Drivers Cope with OVI Charges in Ohio
- Criminal Consequences of Commercial OVI Violations
- Hamilton County CDL Disqualifications
- Cincinnati CDL Disqualification Appeal
- Finding the Best Attorney to Fight for your CDL After a DUI Arrest
OVI violations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are specifically defined in the Prohibited Acts section (§4506.15) of Ohio Rev. Code. According to Ohio law, whoever violates the following is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor:
- Operate a CMV with any detectable amount of alcohol in the person's blood, breath, or urine;
- Drive a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04% or higher;
- Operate a CMV while under the influence of a controlled substance;
- Drive any motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher; and
- Refuse to submit to a BAC or urine test while operating any type of commercial or personal motor vehicle.
A first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days of jail time and/or probation and up to $1,000 fine. Additionally, you could be facing an out-of-service mandate or CDL disqualification of one day to life.
If a law enforcement officer catches you in violation of the Prohibited Acts section of Ohio CDL law or OVI law, your license will be subject to a period of disqualification. The length of the out-of-service order or disqualification period is directly proportionate to the severity of the violation.
- 24-Hour Out-of-Service Order
- Alcohol detected, but under .04%
- 60 days
- Two serious traffic violations within a three-year period – including OVI reduction to reckless driving
- 90 days
- First violation of Out-of-Service order
- 120 days
- Three serious traffic violations within a three-year period – including OVI reduction to reckless driving
- 180 days
- First violation of Out-of-Service order while transporting hazardous materials
- One year
- BAC of .04% or more
- DUI controlled substance
- BAC or urine test refusal
- Second violation of Out-of-Service order
- Three years
- Third violation of Out-of-Service order
- Second violation of Out-of-Service order while transporting hazardous materials
- Two serious traffic violations within a three-year period while transporting hazardous materials
- Three serious traffic violations within a three-year period while transporting hazardous materials
- BAC of .04% or more while transporting hazardous materials
- DUI controlled substance while transporting hazardous materials
- BAC or urine test refusal while transporting hazardous materials
- Second conviction, BAC of .04% or more
- Second conviction, DUI controlled substance
- Second BAC or urine test refusal
- Use of CMV in commission of any felony
- Felony conviction involving controlled substance
Once you have served your CDL suspension period, you do not have to retest unless you are downgrading or it has been more than six months since your Ohio CDL expired. Please note that those sentenced to disqualification for life or certain criminal convictions will not be able to have their commercial driver's license reinstated.
Commercial Driver’s License Licensing (CDL) Suspension
If a person is arrested for OVI while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that requires a CDL, then the driver is subject to lower per se levels than those outlined in R.C. Section 4511.19(A). A driver of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) can be charged with a criminal offense for operating a CMV while having only measurable or detectable amounts of alcohol or controlled substance in the person’s blood, breath, or urine.
CDL holders who are convicted of violating R.C. Section 4511.19 while operating either a CMV or their personal vehicle will be subject to CDL disqualification. Persons arrested while operating a CMV that requires a CDL are subject to immediate disqualifying action under R.C. Section 4506.17.
Ohio law applies when the officer has reasonable grounds to stop or detain a person operating a commercial motor vehicle or has reason to believe that an offender is operating a commercial motor vehicle while having a measurable or detectable amount of alcohol or controlled substance in his or her blood, breath or urine.
In addition to the “Consequences of Test and Refusal” on the back of the BMV 2255, an officer must also read an additional warning on the BMV 2255. This warning notifies the offender that if the offender refuses the chemical test, he or she will be placed out of service immediately for 24 hours, be disqualified for a minimum of one year, and that the offender must surrender his or her CDL to the officer.
Offenders are not subject to a CDL disqualification for a refusal or positive chemical test if operating their personal vehicles at the time of the arrest. The CDL holder must be read the advice, be shown the advice, and sign the BMV 2255 indicating that the offender received the advice before the test is administered.
If the CDL holder refuses or tests positive, the offender’s license should be forwarded to the registrar and the BMV 2255 should be completed.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Suspension in Ohio
Under R.C. Section 4510.13(A)(4), the court is prohibited from missing driving privileges to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) when the offender is under suspension for an OVI, refusal, or positive test. The court is also prohibited from granting any type of privileges to drive a commercial motor vehicle in the course of employment.
R.C. Section 4506.161 provides that: “No court shall issue an order granting limited driving privileges for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle to any person whose driver’s license or commercial driver’s license has been suspended or who has been disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle.”
Under R.C. 4510.13(C)(2), a suspension of a person’s commercial driver’s license must run concurrent with the period of suspension or disqualification imposed by R.C. Section 4506.16.
Disqualification are imposed by the BMV in accordance with federal law and regulations, and as such, the length of disqualification cannot be reduced, suspended or modified.
When granting driving privileges to a CDL holder, the court may only grant driving privileges for employment purposes (which includes driving to and from work) but the court is absolutely prohibited from granting privileges to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
The BMV suggests using the following language in journal entries that grant privileges to a CDL holder or offender who was operating a CMV that requires a CDL at the time of the offense:
“The applicant may operate a NON-COMMERCIAL VEHICLE for purposes of driving to, from, and during work… the applicant may not operate a vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license.”
CDL disqualifications are handled solely by the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles)- outside of any criminal court proceedings. If you believe you were erroneously charged or your rights were violated, you only have 30 days of your disqualification notice to request a hearing.
No criminal court action can repeal your BMV commercial driver's license suspension. If you are granted a hearing, your disqualification period will be stayed pending the outcome. An experienced Hamilton County criminal defense attorney can represent you in this hearing and even gain additional insight to use in your criminal case.
A CDL disqualification in Ohio is imposed by the BMV and is not subject to appeal in court. The BMV is required to notify a driver who is subject to disqualification, of the length of time of the disqualification and inform the offender that he or she may request an administrative hearing.
A CDL holder must request a BMV administrative hearing if the offender wants to show cause why he or she should not be disqualified. The driver of the commercial motor vehicle has 30 days to request the administrative hearing after the CDL suspension. The administrative procedures set forth in Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 119, should be followed. If the offender does not request an administrative hearing within the 30 day window, the order of disqualification becomes final.
Losing use of your CDL for a disqualification period or for life can be devastating – and that's not even counting the loss of wages from the possible 180 days of jail time. If you have been charged with DUI while operating a CMV or your personal vehicle, contact the legal team at Joslyn Law Firm.
We will fight for a favorable outcome so that you can continue to provide for yourself and your family. We serve individuals with a CDL in Cincinnati and the courtrooms throughout Hamilton County. Brian Joslyn also represents clients in the counties surrounding Hamilton County include Clermont County, Warren County, and Butler County.
If your arrest occurred in one of the largest enclaves within Cincinnati's city limits include Sharonville, Elmwood Place, and Saint Bernard, then call an attorney at Joslyn Law Firm. The attorneys also represent CDL holders in the nearby cities in Hamilton County, including Lebanon, Cheviot, Deer Park, Forest Park, Harrison, Village of Indian Hill, Madeira, Montgomery, Mount Healthy, North College Hill, Sharonville, Reading, Silverton, Springdale, St. Bernard and Wyoming.
Call (513) 399-6289 today to discuss your driver's license suspension after an OVI arrest in Cincinnati, Ohio.
This article was last updated on Thursday, March 16, 2017.