Registry Imposes Lifetime CDL Revocation for DUI & Prior Refusal

TT_UNITToday I received this inquiry from an employer of a CDL holder:

I have a rather simple question (I think) regarding one of my employees, who is a truck driver in Massachusetts. He was charged with a DUI several years ago, went to court and it was declared not guilty. A few years later he was charged again with a DUI and it was declared continued without a finding (CWOF). To my understanding, with this background, he should have been able to get his CDL back a year after the later offense (where the first was Not Guilty). The RMV is telling him he has lost it for life. Just wondering if you could shed some light on this for me and him. I appreciate your time! Thank you.

The answer:

I suspect that the Commercial Drivers License Holder refused to submit to a chemical test in connection with his first OUI incident. Under both Federal Law and G.L. c. 90F Section 9, which is the Massachusetts law governing CDL penalties, suspensions, and disqualifications, a breath test refusal counts as a disqualifying incident. The only exception to this rule is that if the DUI and breathalyzer refusal occur in the same incident, it will be counted as one triggering violation. Here, I suspect that the truck driver refused to take the breathalyzer and the Registry is rightfully counting this refusal as one triggering event. The not guilty verdict does not prevent the Registry from counting the refusal against him. If he got the chemical test refusal suspension overturned by appealing to the judge who presided over the DUI trial, he may have a chance to get relief by going before the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance. However, it appears in this case that no such judicial relief from the breathalyzer refusal suspension was granted.

When the CDL license holder admitted that there were sufficient facts for a conviction, was assigned to an alcohol education program for drinking drivers, and had his OUI case continued without a finding, this counts as a second triggering event which would generate a lifetime revocation of his Commercial Driver’s License.