There is no doubt that regular passenger vehicle motorists face serious consequences after being charged and convicted of a drunk driving offense. However, if you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) the ramifications of a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can be much higher. Most individuals depend on their CDL for their livelihood. As such, a DUI conviction resulting in the suspension or revocation of a CDL can wreak absolute havoc on your life.
If you have a CDL and have been arrested for drunk driving, it is imperative that you immediately contact a Central Valley CDL defense attorney to help you fight the charges and avoid a conviction.
California Laws for DUI Involving a CDL Holder
California Vehicle Code (CVC) § 23152 makes it illegal for anyone to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. Since commercial drivers generally drive larger vehicles, sometimes with hazardous cargo, they are held to a higher standard under the law.
CVC §15210 makes it illegal for commercial drivers to operate any vehicle with a BAC of .04% or higher. This is half the amount for regular passenger motorists. Although the law is designed to reduce the likelihood of a severe accident involving a commercial vehicle, it also creates a double standard that unjustly punishes responsible commercial drivers.
Drunk Driving Penalties for Commercial Drivers
All drunk driving convictions can potentially involve jail time, fines, suspensions or restriction of a driver’s license and mandatory DUI school under California laws. However, CDL drivers convicted of a DUI can face even harsher penalties. The extra DUI penalties for CDL drivers include:
- Suspension of a CDL for one full year (as compared to less than 4 months of suspension for regular passenger drivers)
- No restricted driving privileges (most passenger vehicle drivers can apply for a restricted license allowing them to drive to work)
- Total revocation for life of a CDL after a second DUI conviction
Defenses Against Drunk Driving Charges for Commercial Drivers
Just because you were charged with a DUI, it does not mean that you will be convicted on the charges. It is possible to fight a drunk driving charge, and in many cases, win. One effective approach to fighting a DUI charge is to object to the accuracy of the breath test or blood test that was used to assess your BAC. This defense is especially effective if you are a commercial driver because the level BAC level is much lower and most CDL DUI cases often involve small levels of alcohol.
Your Central Valley CDL Defense attorney can also examine the data and history of the machine or lab that was used to assess the tests for discrepancies. If there are any, your attorney may be able to get the blood or breath test thrown out of evidence.
Call an Experienced Central Valley CDL Defense Attorney