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commercial truck accident

OWI and Your Wisconsin CDL

Will an OWI in Wisconsin threaten your CDL (Commercial Driver’s License)?

For professional drivers, earning and maintaining a commercial driver’s licence, or CDL, is critical to being able to make a living. While most people need their driver’s license to get to and from work, as a professional driver you need it to do your job every day. If you get arrested and convicted of an OWI, then, you stand to disrupt or even lose your career.

When Do You Need a CDL?

If you are in Wisconsin and operate a vehicle over 26,000 pounds, carry at least sixteen passengers, or haul hazardous material, you need a CDL. Because these vehicles bring special dangers to the road, the process is onerous. It includes testing and education requirements beyond what most passenger car drivers have to obtain, and requires a greater knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations. Once you earn it, though, it opens up specialized earning potential for as long as you hold your CDL.

OWI Penalties for CDL Holders

Earning a CDL opens doors, but if you are charged with an OWI, you risk having those same doors close quickly. A single OWI while driving under a CDL brings a fine of $150 to $300, but also results in getting your license suspended for one year. This can cause a dangerous disruption to your livelihood. A second violation brings up to a $1,000 fine, and more importantly results in a lifetime removal of your CDL. When this happens, your career as a driver of commercial vehicles is gone.

The most important thing you can do to help maintain your CDL, then, is simply to never drink when you are or will be driving a commercial or private vehicle. If you are arrested, though, it is worth it to fight for your career. An experienced lawyer can help you challenge OWI charges, whether by challenging the procedures and circumstances of your arrest or the calibration of a breathalyzer test. Contact the attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices to protect your rights and your career.