Let us say that you are a professional truck driver and have had a commercial driver’s license for more than a decade. You are looking forward to a raise in pay, but you were recently pulled over and arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle impaired. How will a drunk driving conviction affect your job and your CDL?
A first offense
You were originally stopped by law enforcement for a broken tail light, then the police officer detected a whiff of alcohol on your breath and the situation quickly became more serious. Fortunately, you cooperated with the officer in that you did not refuse alcohol testing, because you could have lost your commercial driver’s license for up to a year. You tested positive for 0.03 percent blood alcohol content, which requires that as a commercial driver, you must be out of service for 24 hours. Had your BAC been 0.04 percent or above, the length of the penalty would have been one year, and for a second offense, you would have lost your CDL for life.
Since this was a first offense, and you have worked for the same company for several years, your employer may be lenient—but what if she or he fires you? Because of the OVI mark on your record, your job hunt could be difficult. Many employers would pass you by in favor of hiring a driver with a clean record.
Your OVI may also result in higher insurance premiums. The agency that carries your current policy may view you as a high-risk driver and cancel your policy. In shopping for new coverage, you may find that because of your OVI, an insurance agency will charge you three times your usual monthly premiums.
You may have only had one or two beers with friends before an officer stopped you for the tail light issue. Driving after imbibing any kind of alcoholic beverage is something you rarely do, and something you will not do again after discovering how close you came to losing your CDL, your job and your future as a professional driver.