Will I lose my CDL if arrested for drunk driving in Michigan? What's considered a commercial motor vehicle?
A CMV is defined as a motor vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more. MCL 257.7a. Drivers of smaller vehicles, such as business vans, do not fall within this provision.
If a CMV driver is stopped by police and blows .04 percent or higher BAC on a breath test in violation ofMCL 257.625m, his or her Michigan operator’s license is suspended for 90 days, with a restricted license available. MCL 257.319(8)(f).
The Secretary of State will suspend a driver’s CMV license for 1 year if he or she is convicted of any of the following while operating a CMV or noncommercial vehicle:
MCL 257.319b(1)(c)(i). Any drunk driving convictions, suspensions for refusal to submit to a chemical test, and certain other violations and civil infractions that a CMV operator commits while operating anoncommercial motor vehicle count against that person as if he or she had been operating a CMV at the time of the violation. MCL 257.319b(7). This means that for all practical purposes the CMV operator cannot legally drive a rig for 1 year.
The CMV license will be revoked for life if the operator was convicted or found responsible for a combination of two of the offenses listed above. The driver is eligible for reissuance of the CMV designation after 10 years. MCL 257.319b(1)(e).
Consequences of a DUI Conviction of a CDL - Drunk Driving Arrests Could Impact Your Commercial Driver's License
In Michigan, commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) are issued by the Michigan Secretary of State pursuant to strict federal regulations. CDLs must adhere to a different set of rules when it comes to operating their commercial vehicles. Their commercial licenses can also be at risk while driving their personal vehicles.
A conviction for certain crimes will be counted against a commercial driver’s CDL even if it is committed in a noncommercial vehicle.
While operating a commercial vehicle, a driver’s blood alcohol content must not be above 0.04 percent or he or she is guilty of drunk driving. MCL 257.625m(1).
A blood alcohol content above 0.015 will result in an out-of-service order and prevent the driver from driving for 24 hours. MCL 257.319d(2), (4). A violation of the out-of-service order is a 93-day misdemeanor.
If a CDL holder is convicted of drunk driving in a noncommercial vehicle, he or she will also lose the CDL for at least 1 year. If a driver’s operator or chauffeur’s license is suspended or revoked, the CDL is concurrently suspended or revoked, unless the period of CDL loss is greater.
In Michigan, convictions are not required for the Secretary of State to take action on a CDL. The Secretary of State can consider bond forfeiture, a determination by a court of original jurisdiction, or a finding by an authorized administrative tribunal as convictions for purposes of suspensions or revocations of the CDL.
It is also important to note that to qualify for a CDL, a prospective licensee must not have a suspension or revocation on his or her driving record for at least 3 years. Also, a 6-point violation in the prior 24 months will also disqualify a prospective CDL licensee. MCL 257.312f(5)(b). This is important to consider when counseling a client about license sanctions if that person may decide in the future to pursue a career where a CDL is necessary
DUI Attorney & Former Prosecutor Jonathan Paul