OWI-CDL Lawyers

The staff at the Lombardi Law Firm has added links to resources to better understand the effects of an OWI on your Commercial Drivers' License (CDL) Go to the resource section of this site and scroll down to either "I-35 I-80 I-235 I-380 Collisions/Accidents" or "Criminal Law" or "Criminal Court". There you will find resources to help you. And if you need an Iowa lawyer we have working relationships all over Iowa with lawyers we trust to do a good job for you. The criminal prosecution for operating while intoxicated occurring in your personal life, can have terrible ramifications for your commercial driving license and ability to earn a living as an over-the-road truck driver. Call us now and we will put you in touch with a criminal defense lawyer ASAP. 515-222-1110 or [email protected]. We represent drivers from all over the country in these, personal injury and in workers’ compensation cases.

Here are some things truck drivers should know and consider before driving.

Driving while intoxicated results in severe consequences for the driver. In Iowa, the minimum fine if convicted of an OWI is $1000, and will result in a 180 day license suspension.  There may also be a 48 hour jail time requirement, but could extend to one year depending on the seriousness of the offense and damage.  The consequences are quite often worse for those driving commercial vehicles. Iowa law holds that a commercial driver who operates a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or above will lose his CDL for one year; that is lower than the legal limit of 0.08% for non-commercial drivers. The suspension will be increased to three years if the driver was transporting hazardous materials. A second offense will cause the driver to lose his CDL permanently.

Why are we tossing the baby out with the bath water, why make it so they can’t earn a living? Is that deterrence or the sign of a society gone crazy?

If convicted of an OWI, the driver may not receive a work permit to drive a commercial vehicle and will be required to take a driving exam and written test to receive a new CDL after the suspension has ended.  It may be possible, however, to drive a personal vehicle during the license suspension, although the court may require an ignition interlock system be installed on the vehicle as a condition to retaining a license to drive.  The interlock system works to measure the blood alcohol concentration of the driver and to prevent the vehicle from starting if the driver’s BAC is higher than the level programmed in the system. 

Due to the higher safety risk associated with driving a commercial vehicle, the safety standards for drivers with a CDL are more stringent. Commercial drivers should be aware of these standards so that they may comply with them and avoid the harsh punishment resulting from an OWI.


Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death