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CDL drivers are held to higher standards when it comes to consuming alcohol and driving than people with regular drivers licenses. A CDL holder can be disqualified for having blood alcohol content of .04 — half the usual Ohio legal limit of .08.
Without your CDL, you can’t do your job — and without your job you can’t pay the mortgage or put food on the table for your family. A DUI conviction in Ohio can be especially devastating for CDL holders because your CDL can be affected by your DUI even when you weren’t driving a commercial vehicle. Ohio laws and regulations require disqualification of your CDL for a year on your first DUI conviction — even when you were pulled over in your personal vehicle. A year without a CDL can destroy your career and your livelihood.
Additionally, Ohio Rev. Code 4506.161 prohibits judges from granting limited driving privileges to operate commercial vehicles for anyone whose drivers license has been suspended or CDL has been disqualified, so an option that helps many people charged with OVI keep their jobs is not available for CDL holders.
It’s always a serious matter to be charged with OVI / DUI in Ohio, but the consequences for CDL holders are even more damaging than for the average person. If you’re a commercial driver charged with OVI / DUI, you should consider seeking the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. The experienced Columbus DUI attorneys with Luftman, Heck and Associates may be able to help you avoid conviction or negotiate for a lesser charge that lets you keep your CDL.
Ohio Rev. Code 4506.15 prohibits drivers who hold CDLs or who operate vehicles requiring CDLs from doing any of the following:
Violating Ohio Rev. Code 4506.15 is a first-degree criminal misdemeanor in and of itself that could be punished with up to 180 days in jail.
Additionally, Ohio Rev. Code 4506.16 provides for disqualification of a CDL for certain offenses. The period of disqualification — which means you’re legally barred from driving any vehicle that requires a CDL — varies based on the nature of the offense and whether you have previous offenses.
|Two serious traffic violations in three years||60 days disqualification|
|Three serious traffic violations in three years||120 days disqualification|
|First conviction for driving with a BAC of .04 or higher||One year disqualification|
|First conviction for OVI / DUI in any motor vehicle||One year disqualification|
|First conviction for driving under the influence of a controlled substance||One year disqualification|
|First conviction for using a motor vehicle to commit a felony||One year disqualification|
|First conviction for refusing to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test||One year disqualification|
|Any of the above while driving a vehicle displaying a hazardous materials placard||Three years disqualification|
|Second conviction for driving with a BAC of .04 or higher||Lifetime disqualification|
|Second conviction for OVI / DUI||Lifetime disqualification|
|Second conviction for driving under the influence of a controlled substance||Lifetime disqualification|
|Second conviction for using a motor vehicle to commit a felony||Lifetime disqualification|
|Second conviction for refusing to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test||Lifetime disqualification|
|First conviction for using a motor vehicle to commit a felony drug offense||Lifetime disqualification|
When you receive a notice that your CDL is being disqualified, you have the right to request a hearing within 30 days, and you get a stay of your disqualification until there is an outcome.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we can help you confront the Ohio criminal justice system from your arrest through to your trial. By advocating for your rights and thinking strategically about your case defense, we will maximize your chances of obtaining a positive case result. If you’ve been charged with OVI, call us today at for a free and confidential consultation of your case.
If you’ve been charged with a OVI / DUI, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced Columbus DUI attorney to fight for you in court, please contact us at or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.