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The perils of a DWI conviction if you have a commercial license

Getting a DWI can be very serious, but for those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), it can also mean a loss of their ability to work. That’s because Minnesota drivers who get a DWI will lose more than just their regular driving privileges. They also lose access to their CDL, which will generally cost them their job. In some cases a driver may be able to switch to a different job with the same company so they can continue working, but in a lot of cases the driver will be fired because they can no longer do their job and the company’s insurance premiums to keep them on the payroll will rise too high to be acceptable.

What if You’re Off the Clock?

It doesn’t matter what vehicle you get your DWI in. You can be driving your personal vehicle and be off the clock when it comes to work, but you’ll still lose your CDL if you’re convicted of a DWI. That’s the law in any vehicle, at any time. You don’t have to be drunk at work or get your DWI in a company vehicle to see the loss of your CDL license. Getting it back can take time, and there may be extenuating circumstances that could make it even more difficult.

Is It Your First Offense?

If it is your first DWI conviction, you will lose your CDL license for one year, without exception. You may get your standard license back after 30 days, but that depends on several factors. Regardless of when that part of your driving privilege is returned to you, not having your CDL will stop you from doing your job. If the DWI is your second offense, you can expect to lose your CDL for life. In some cases you may be able to get it back after 10 years if you can show true rehabilitation, but that doesn’t happen in all cases. Many people simply no longer have a CDL, and must find another type of work.

In addition to the loss of income tied to a DWI conviction, you must also consider the costs tied to your case as well. When factoring in everything from insurance premiums to court cost to legal fees, it can be as high as $20,000. Most would likely agree that if your livelihood is on the line however, it is worth working with a criminal defense lawyer to build a strong defense.