CALL : 414-270-0202

What’s the impact of an OWI on my CDL?

Drunk driving (OWI) convictions have significant impacts on your commercial driver license (CDL)

Individuals with a commercial driver license (CDL) face an aggravated impact after an OWI conviction.  Drunk driving defense attorney Benjamin Van Severen explains how your CDL is impacted in this blog post.  For information on various ways to beat an OWI charge, make sure to continue reading.

All things considered, hiring a top drunk driving attorney to defend your OWI puts you in the best position to win your case.  Surely in the case of a CDL-holder, winning your drunk driving case is even more important.  Contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. at (414) 270-0202.  By all means, speak with a skilled OWI attorney and start defending your case.

free consultation client testimonials

What are the penalties?

The State of Wisconsin determined that individuals with commercial driver licenses must abide by stricter safety standards.  Importantly, CDLs are required to operate vehicles over 26,000 pounds, vehicles carrying hazardous materials, and vehicles that transport more than 16 passengers.  Certainly, truck drivers, bus drivers, and other professional large vehicle operators all must possess CDLs.

Penalties differ based upon whether the driver was in the commercial motor vehicle at the time of the offense:

Driver was in a commercial motor vehicle:

Penalties depend upon a few things.  Was anyone hurt?  Do you have any prior convictions?  And what was your blood alcohol content?

  • Any measurable alcohol concentration, possession of alcohol, or operation of the vehicle within 4 hours of alcohol consumption (regardless of BAC) is a forfeiture.  Wis. Stat. sec. 346.63(7).  Penalties include a $10.00 citation, a 24-hour out-of-service period, and 3 demerit points.  Wis. Stat. 346.65(2u).
  • BAC over .04, under .08 first offense is a forfeiture of $150.00 – $300.00.  The driver’s commercial driver license is disqualified for 1 year (3 years if it occurred while transporting hazardous materials).  Wis. Stat. sec. 343.315(2).
  • BAC over .04, under .08 second offense is a misdemeanor punishable by 5 days – 6 months jail.  A second offense results in a lifetime CDL disqualification.  There’s also a $300.00 – 1,000.00 fine.  Lastly, third and subsequent offenses are punishable by 45 days – 1 year in jail and a $600.00 – $2,000.00 fine.

Driver was in a commercial motor vehicle and caused injury or death:

  • BAC over .04, under .08 causing injury is a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days – 1 year jail.  The fine ranges from $300.00 to $2,000.00.  The driver is disqualified for 1 year, unless transporting hazardous materials (3 years).  The driver’s Class D/M license is revoked for one year.
  • BAC over .04, under .08 causing injury with any prior OWI is a Class H felony, punishable by 1 year – 6 years prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine.  Again, there is a 1 year disqualification, unless the driver is transporting hazardous materials (3 years).  The driver’s Class D/M license is revoked for one year.
  • BAC over .04, under .08, causing great bodily harm is a Class F felony, punishable by 1 year – 12.5 years prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine.  There’s a 1/3 year disqualification.  The driver’s Class D/M is revoked two years.
  • BAC over .04, under .08, causing death is a Class D or C felony (if one or more than one prior convictions) punishable by 1 year – 25/40 years prison and up to a $100,000.00 fine.  There’s a 1/3 year disqualification.  Lastly, the driver’s Class D/M license is revoked for five years.

Driver was in any class vehicle:

The impact of an OWI on your CDL is more straightforward if you’re operating any other vehicle at the time of the offense.  Frequently our defense attorneys encounter this issue when the driver operates his personal vehicle.  The penalties are the same as a normal OWI case, but the effect on the CDL is where things deviate.

  • 1 offense: 1 year disqualification
  • 2 or more offenses: lifetime disqualification

A man with his CDL operates a truck
Drunk driving (OWI) convictions have a serious impact on your CDL.

How do we win these situations?  How do I keep my CDL?

Undoubtedly an OWI has a significant negative impact on your CDL.  Certainly, police must follow the same constitutional principles that apply in a “normal” drunk driving case.  Surely, there must be a valid stop.  Obviously there must be a valid arrest.  Even though the required BAC is .04, rather than .08, the driver does not have a lower expectation of privacy.


Finally – contact drunk driving defense firm Meyer Van Severen, S.C.

What’s the impact of an OWI on your CDL?  Hopefully this article helped.  But reading our article isn’t all you need to do.  We believe that the assistance of a top criminal defense attorney is crucial in defending drunk driving cases.  At Meyer Van Severen, we recognize you’re fighting for your life.  Finally – contact us at (414) 270-0202 to discuss your case.