I represent a lot of people who have a commercial driver’s license, often referred to as a “CDL” for short. Commercial drivers get treated differently when it comes to DUI cases in Kansas.
First, the suspension of a CDL is much harsher. If a commercial driver gets a Kansas DUI, the CDL will be suspended for one year on the first offense. A Kansas CDL gets suspended for LIFETIME on a second DUI offense. These harsher suspensions result regardless of whether the person was driving his or her regular, non-commercial vehicle or the commercial vehicle.
In other words, a person who has a commercial driver’s license and uses that CDL to perform his or her job every day, but then gets a Kansas DUI on Saturday night when driving his or her family vehicle back from the bowling alley will still get his or her CDL suspended for a year on the first offense and for the rest of the person’s life on a second. This suspension of the Kansas CDL will occur if the person loses the administrative hearing or is convicted of the Kansas DUI in the criminal case.
Second, a Kansas CDL holder is not eligible for diversion for a Kansas DUI. A federal law passed several years ago, and forced upon the states, requires that states prohibit CDL holders from “masking” any convictions for traffic offenses. A DUI diversion counts as a conviction in Kansas, so you would think that a diversion for a Kansas DUI would not run afoul of this federal law.
However, when Phill Kline was the Kansas Attorney General briefly, he issued an opinion that diversion was a form of masking a DUI conviction and that CDL holders are not eligible for diversion in Kansas. Again, this applies even if the person was driving his or her personal vehicle or not. So, a CDL holder cannot get diversion for a DUI, or any other traffic offense.
The photo above is one that I recently took with my phone while visiting the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office. Obviously, CDL’s are not getting diversion for the Kansas DUI cases. The stakes are higher for CDL holders in these cases and a person who has a CDL and gets arrested for a DUI needs the best Kansas DUI lawyer he or she can get in order to fight the case.