Commercial Drivers’ Licenses and Minnesota DUI Law
For those of you who hold Commercial Drivers’ Licenses (CDL), you know that a CDL isn’t just part of your everyday life, it’s your livelihood. There are specific laws that apply to drivers holding CDL’s when it comes to DUI and DWI in Minnesota.
Minnesota Statute section 169A.20, subd. 1(6) states: It is a crime for any person to drive, operate, or be in physical control of any motor vehicle …within this state or on any boundary water of this state when: the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle and the person’s alcohol concentration at the time, or as measured within two hours of the time, of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the commercial motor vehicle is 0.04 or more.
Therefore, commercial drivers driving a commercial vehicle are in violation of DUI law with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04, instead of the non-commercial BAC of 0.08. A first time DWI conviction for a commercial driver will result in the loss of the commercial driver’s license for 1 year, while any subsequent DWI offenses will result in a lifetime loss of the commercial license.
Minnesota’s implied consent law does apply to commercial drivers, but the administrative penalties for operating a motor vehicle as a commercial driver while under the influence of alcohol are different. In fact, Minnesota’s implied consent law applies not only to test refusals in Minnesota, but also in any jurisdiction, because commercial drivers are subject to some federal regulations. Minnesota Statute section 171.165 subd. 2 states, “The commissioner shall disqualify a person from operating commercial motor vehicles for a revocation under section 169A.52 or a statute or ordinance from another state or jurisdiction in conformity with it, for a period that is equivalent in duration under the driver disqualifications and penalties in Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, part 383, subpart D, that pertain to a conviction of being under the influence of alcohol or refusal to be tested.”
Minnesota Statute section 169A.54 subd. 7 reads, in part, “The commissioner shall disqualify a person from operating a commercial motor vehicle as provided under section 171.165 (commercial driver’s license, disqualification), on receipt of a record of conviction for a violation of section 169A.20… A person driving, operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle with any presence of alcohol is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle for 24 hours from issuance of an out-of-service order.”
Minnesota Statute section 609B.206 lists the time periods that a driver’s license will be revoked in the state of Minnesota, depending on the level of DUI offense.
Also, it is important to know that a vehicle’s license plates may be impounded due to a DUI conviction while using a CDL. Minnesota Statute section 169A.60, subdivision 1, reads, “As used in this section, the following terms have the meanings given in this subdivision… Plate impoundment violation includes: (1) a violation of section 169A.20 (driving while impaired) or 169A.52 (license revocation for test failure or refusal), or a conforming ordinance from this state or a conforming statute or ordinance from another state, that results in the revocation of a person’s driver’s license or driving privileges, within ten years of a qualified prior impaireddriving incident; (2) a license disqualification under section 171.165 (commercial driver’s license disqualification) resulting from a violation of section 169A.52 within ten years of a qualified prior impaired driving incident…”
For those of you who don’t hold a CDL personally, but are looking for information for someone else, http://www.cdl-course.com/faq-mn.html is a great website with general information about Commercial Drivers’ Licenses, including the different “classifications” and “endorsement codes” that can accompany a CDL that you may want to check out for more information.