Michael C. Hennenberg

cleveland ohio criminal defense attorney
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What happens when a commercial driver gets an OVI?

As a commercial driver, your license - a CDL - is your livelihood. It, alone, gives you the privilege of legally operating your vehicle on Ohio's roadways. Without it, you'd have no income, no career and very few options.

What you worry about is getting arrested on drunk driving charges. It's not that you drink and drive consistently, but you know plenty of people who say they got pulled over after simply having a bit too much at dinner. They thought they were fine, but the police said they were over the legal limit.

Of course, the difference is that those people were driving their personal vehicles. They had to pay fines and maybe even spend time behind bars. They may have lost their driver's licenses. But that didn't end their careers. They moved forward, learned from it and continued with their lives.

For you, it'd be much different. Is your whole job on the line? What really happens if you get arrested? Can one miscalculation, one small mistake, take away everything you have worked for?

Number of offenses

In Ohio, one key thing to consider is the number of offenses on your record. The ramifications do get more strict if this happens repeatedly.

For a first offense in a commercial vehicle, for instance, here are the potential ramifications:

  • Any detectable amount of alcohol: Out of service for 24 hours
  • 0.04 breath test: One-year license suspension
  • 0.048 blood test: One-year license suspension
  • 0.056 urine test: One-year license suspension

If you get a second offense, the result is the same for "any detectable amount" but jumps up massively for the breath test, blood test or urine test. If you hit those same levels, you could lose your license for life.

In that fashion, an arrest could lead to the end of your career. Even if you just lose your license for a year after a first offense, you could still, realistically, have to start a new career - unless you can afford to pay all of your bills for a year without an income.

The real cost

People often talk about the cost of an OVI arrest, talking about things like fines and fees. These can certainly take a toll. But the real cost could be tens of thousands of dollars when you factor in all of that missed work.

This is why it's so important to understand all of your legal defense options after an arrest. You need to know where you stand and what you can do to protect your career and your future.

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