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The Consequences of DUI for Commercial Vehicle Drivers

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The Consequences of DUI for Commercial Vehicle DriversA conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is costly for anyone, but commercial vehicle drivers have even more at stake. You may lose your career as a commercial driver with a DUI on your record. Even being arrested on suspicion of DUI will disrupt your employment and put your job in jeopardy because of the automatic administrative driver’s license suspension. Challenging your license suspension and criminal charge is critically important for commercial drivers who want to protect their livelihoods.

What Qualifies as a Commercial Vehicle?

People who operate commercial vehicles in California must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). A Class B license allows you to operate large trucks, which are any vehicles that weigh more than 13 tons or three tons if they have three axles. A Class C license allows you to operate other commercial vehicles, including school buses, vehicles carrying more than 10 passengers, double trailers, and vehicles transporting hazardous substances.

Additional Consequences for Commercial Drivers

A person operating a non-commercial vehicle can be charged with DUI if they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater or are deemed to be impaired because of alcohol or drug use. If you are operating a commercial vehicle, the BAC limit is lowered to 0.04 percent. Whether you are charged while driving a commercial or non-commercial vehicle, there are serious consequences for your CDL:

  • A first-time DUI conviction will result in at least a one-year suspension of your CDL.
  • If you refuse chemical sobriety testing, your CDL will be suspended for a year, independent from the outcome of your criminal case.
  • While you can receive a restricted license to operate a standard vehicle, there is no restricted license option for a CDL.
  • If you are convicted for a second DUI within 10 years, you may lose your CDL for life.

Losing your CDL also means you will likely lose your job operating a commercial vehicle. Once your CDL suspension is over, having a DUI conviction on your criminal record may impede your ability to obtain a new job as a commercial vehicle driver.

Contact a Napa, California, DUI Defense Attorney

You have several options for contesting a DUI charge and possibly avoiding a CDL suspension, including negotiating a “wet reckless” guilty plea. You also have 30 days to challenge your administrative license suspension. A Richmond, California, DWI defense lawyer at Burglin Law Offices, P.C., has experience working with commercial vehicle drivers and protecting their CDLs. Schedule a free consultation by calling 415-729-7300.



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