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North Dakota DUI with a CDL (Commercial Drivers’ License)

White truck driving on asphalt road along the corn field at sunset. - Fremstad Law

If you have a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL) in North Dakota you have demonstrated mastery of both the knowledge and skills required to safely operate a commercial vehicle. Obtaining a CDL means that you have invested time and money into your career as a commercial driver.

If you are a commercial driver and were charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), even if you were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest, you could jeopardize both your CDL and your livelihood. The loss of a CDL is referred to as a disqualification.

If you’ve been charged with a North Dakota DUI with a CDL, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help move you forward through this time of crisis, and help you minimize the damage to your profession and your reputation.

DUI with a CDL is a Major Violation and Could Result in a 1 to 3 Year Disqualification or a Lifetime Disqualification for a Second Offense

A DUI for a commercial driver is a major violation. If this was your first major violation, you face the potential of a 1 year disqualification (3 years if you were hauling hazardous materials while driving under the influence).

A second major violation can result in a lifetime disqualification. In certain situations, a driver may be eligible for reinstatement of the CDL 10 years after the second major violation.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Association (FMCSA) prohibits commercial drivers from refusing to submit to an alcohol test, and from consuming alcohol within 8 hours after a crash until the driver has submitted to an alcohol test.

Major violations that relate to a DUI with a CDL include:

  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) greater than .04%
  • A DUI in a non-commercial motor vehicle
  • Refusing a blood alcohol test

If you are convicted of a DUI with a CDL and receive a disqualification you are required to notify your employer by the end of the next business day after your CDL is disqualified.  

The loss of a CDL can have a devastating effect on your career and your ability to earn a living. If your CDL is disqualified for 1 to 3 years you must find alternative employment during that time period. A second major violation could mean your CDL would be disqualified for life. If you made your career as a commercial driver it can be difficult to find a job that pays as well as driving commercially.

Reinstating Your CDL After a North Dakota DUI

If you have been convicted of a North Dakota DUI with a CDL and your CDL was disqualified you may be eligible to have your CDL reinstated. You will need to:

  • Satisfy any court requirements
  • Complete an alcohol education and treatment program
  • Retake the commercial driving knowledge and skills tests
  • Pay the reinstatement fee of $100

Facing a DUI with a CDL in North Dakota? Fremstad Law Can Help

If you have a CDL and have been charged with a North Dakota DUI, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Fremstad Law can help.

The most common way to challenge a North Dakota DUI for a commercial driver is to challenge the results and accuracy of the alcohol or drug test. Because the BAC limit for a commercial driver is so low, and because the testing equipment has a margin of error, it is possible that your BAC fell within the margin of error and your lawyer can challenge the results of the BAC evidence.

Your North Dakota DUI defense lawyer can also use the history of the machine that was used to test your BAC. If there have been prior malfunctions or inaccurate results, that could mean the results of your test could be thrown out.

Finally, a North Dakota DUI defense lawyer can challenge whether the stop was legal in the first place. A police officer must have had a reasonable suspicion and probable cause to believe that you violated the law in order to stop you in the first place. If the officer lacked probable cause, that could be grounds to have your case dismissed.

Even if your defense lawyer is not successful in having the evidence excluded, problems with the evidence may be enough to support the prosecutor agreeing to a plea bargain that could spare you the disqualification of your CDL.  

If you have a CDL and were charged with a North Dakota DUI, you need to fight the charge in order to maintain your livelihood. Fremstad Law’s Nick Thornton can help. Contact us today by calling (701) 478-7620.