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Pennsylvania Legislature Proposes Bill to End Lifetime Suspensions for CDL Drivers

People convicted of drunk driving offenses often lose their driving privileges for a period of time. While a license suspension is inconvenient for many people, for some, it may cost them their livelihood. The Pennsylvania legislature is contemplating rectifying that harm by introducing a bill that would allow commercial drivers convicted of DUI offenses to have their CDL reinstated after ten years instead of imposing a lifetime ban. While no such legislation has been proposed in Illinois, the Pennsylvania bill could be a sign of changes to come. If you are accused of driving under the influence and are at risk of losing your CDL, it is smart to consult with an Illinois DUI defense attorney about your potential defenses.

The Proposed Pennsylvania Bill

Reportedly, the bill, known as HB1092, successfully cleared the House Transportation Committee and will now be presented to the full chamber for further consideration. If the bill becomes law, it would enable individuals who have faced lifetime suspensions of their commercial driver’s licenses due to offenses such as drunk driving convictions or other violations to apply for license reinstatement after a period of 10 years from the initiation of their lifetime ban. The application process would involve submitting a certified mail application form, subject to specific requirements.

Allegedly, Pennsylvania has stricter regulations compared to federal laws concerning disqualifications for CDL holders. While federal regulations impose suspension periods ranging from one to three years, Pennsylvania has the authority to impose a lifetime ban for certain offenses. The prime sponsor of the bill, State Representative Carol Hill-Evans, emphasized that while lifetime bans serve a purpose, the proposed bill includes numerous safeguards and necessitates that banned drivers complete reform programs. Certain convictions, such as using a commercial motor vehicle for felony drug-related activities or human trafficking, would render individuals ineligible for CDL restoration.

It is reported that the bill outlines various conditions for CDL-disqualified drivers seeking reinstatement, including completing a rehabilitation program if the disqualification resulted from a DUI or refusing a drug or alcohol test, participating in a driver improvement course, paying a restoration fee, fulfilling all federal and state requirements for holding a CDL, complying with all sentencing requirements related to the underlying conviction, and maintaining a clean record for at least ten years in terms of disqualifying offenses. The bill will proceed to the House floor for a vote. If it successfully passes in both chambers of the General Assembly and receives the necessary signatures to become law, the legislation would go into effect after an 18-month period.

Commercial Driver License Suspension in Illinois

Under Illinois law, a person operating a vehicle under a CDL may lose their CDL license for one year if they operate a commercial vehicle while their BAC is 0.04% or higher. They may also lose their CDL for a period of one year if they are convicted of a DUI offense. For second and subsequent offenses, a person will be disqualified from operating a CDL vehicle for life.

Talk to a Dedicated Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

People convicted of DUI crimes under Illinois law can lose their driving privileges, and the penalties are greater for people with commercial driving licenses. If you are a commercial driver accused of a DUI crime in Illinois, it is smart to meet with an attorney. Theodore J. Harvatin of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a dedicated Illinois DUI defense attorney who can advise you of your possible defenses and aid you in seeking a favorable outcome. You can contact Mr. Harvatin by calling 217.525.0520 or using the form online to set up a meeting.

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