Articles Posted in CDL

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All states, including Illinois, have long made it illegal to drive under the influence (DUI) (625 ILCS 5/11-501)  A DUI arrest in Illinois has two components.

A driver will face criminal consequences. DUI, at a minimum, is a Class-A misdemeanor. As such, the possible penalties are up the 364 days in jail and a fine, either alone or in conjunction with jail time, of as much as $2,500.  A convicted driver can also be placed on probation and required to complete alcohol classes, community service and attend a Victim Impact Panel (VIP).

A conviction for DUI also results in a mandatory revocation of driving privileges and a required hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State to restore driving privileges. Before being able to restore full privileges, a convicted driver must wait one, five or ten years, depending upon how many, if any, prior convictions are on that person’s driving record.  625 ILCS 5/6-208

Before that waiting period expires, the driver may be entitled to apply to the Secretary of State for limited driving privileges in order to drive for work, school, day care, medical appointments and Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings.  However, there are possible barriers to being immediately eligible for restricted driving privileges, such as a one year waiting period following a second or third DUI conviction and a delay for as much as three years following a refusal of breath testing in the event of a second or more DUI arrest. Continue reading →

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Regardless of the situation, an arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Illinois must be treated seriously. Illinois DUI law provides that even a “plain vanilla” (no accident, valid driver’s license, insurance in place, not in a school zone, no other aggravating factors) DUI is a crime that is punishable by jail time of as much as 364 days and a fine that can reach $2,500.00. (625 ILCS 5/11-500)

Furthermore, a DUI arrest carries with it driver’s license consequences. A conviction means an automatic revocation of your driver’s license. (625 ILCS 5/6-205)

When your driver’s license is revoked, before you can obtain full restoration of driving privileges, you must submit yourself to an administrative hearing with the Illinois Secretary of State. In that hearing, you are required to prove that you can be a safe and responsible driver.

At a minimum, you must provide the Secretary of State with a Uniform Drug and Alcohol Evaluation. If the Uniform evaluation is more than six months’ old at the time of your hearing, you must also provide the Secretary of State with an updated evaluation on a form that his office has developed for that purpose. All those documents must be completed by an agency licensed by the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA).

The agency that conducts the evaluation will, using DASA guidelines, determine what treatment or other intervention will be necessary for moving forward with your administrative hearing. The DASA guidelines provide for certain minimum classes following a DUI offense.

If this is the first time you have ever been arrested for DUI, in Illinois or any other state, and if you took a breath or blood test and your blood alcohol level (BAL) was .15 or less and you have no abuse or dependency symptoms, your classification would be minimum risk. As such, you would be required to complete a 10-hour course known as Driver Risk Education (DRE).

It is rare that a minimal risk individual is required to have a hearing with the Secretary of State. In most situations, a minimal risk offender would be granted court supervision.

This disposition does not result in a conviction. (730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.1(f)) As such, that person avoids a driver’s license revocation.

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For most of this country’s life, matters dealing with local public safety, including DUI and traffic laws, have been the responsibility of state government. The one notable exception has been the rules of the road governing traffic on the Interstate highway system, whose funding comes primarily from the federal government, and of course the Interstate highway systems crosses the boundaries of all the states.

Beginning in 1984 and continuing to this day, that changed. While beyond the Commercial Driver’s License CDL law Congress has not explicitly injected itself into traffic laws, it has done so indirectly. When it wants states to do something, Congress uses the coercive power of the purse: if a state does not pass a law Congress believes it should, Congress withholds federal highway money.

Prior to 1984, the age at which a person could purchase, or possess, or consume alcohol varied among the states. In Illinois, the age for beer and wine was 19, and it was 21 for distilled alcohol. In Iowa, the age for all alcoholic beverages was 18.

Today, the drinking age in Illinois is 21. 235 ILCS 5/6-16 It is the same in all 50 states. No state wants to forfeit federal highway funds.

At one time, each state was free to set its own legal limit for blood alcohol content, or to have no limit at all. In Illinois, the limit was initially 15, later lowered to .10. Today, it is .08. (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1)), as it is in all 50 states. The reason for this is, that’s how the federal government wants it to be.

The federal government has gotten involved more directly pertaining to CDLS It has been accepted that because over-the-road truckers cross state boundaries, a uniform set of laws benefits both the motoring public and the trucking industry. While the federal government has not written a specific CDL law, it has set forth guidelines that all states are required to follow at the risk of losing their ability to issue CDLS if they fail to do so. Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (CMVSA) (Title XII of Pub. Law 99-570) [49 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq.]

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A commercial driver’s license (“CDL”) is in essence a trucker’s license. In order to obtain a CDL, you must pass a number of written and driving tests administered by the Illinois Secretary of State.

What may surprise you as a CDL holder is that you can lose your CDL for offenses that do no occur in your commercial motor vehicle (“CMV”). When the Illinois Secretary of State invalidates a CDL, it is known as a disqualification (“DQ”).

If you commit any offense that causes a suspension or revocation of your regular driving privileges, your CDL will also be invalid. For example, a suspension for too many traffic tickets in a non CMV (your car for example) would cause your CDL to also be invalid.

If you are under 21, you can obtain a CDL. There are certain offenses such as drinking tickets, minor-in-a-tavern, minor-in-possession and fake ID’s that will cause a suspension of your driver’s license even if you are not driving. Remember that a suspended license will also invalidate your CDL during the suspension period.

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