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Impact of a DUI on Commercial Driving Licenses and Employment


What Does the Law in California Say About Commercial DUI?

California has specific provisions that address DUI among drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL). If you’re a commercial driver facing DUI charges, there are several issues the court will consider. Under California Vehicle 23152 (a), it is a criminal offense to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Vehicle Code 23152 (b) makes driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more a crime. The standard is stricter for commercial drivers, prohibiting them from driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or more. The penalties upon conviction can be hefty, but you can defend yourself with the help of skilled DUI attorneys in San Bernardino County.

When is a Commercial Driver’s License Required?

Drivers who drive vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds, designed for hazardous materials, or carrying more than 15 passengers require a commercial driver’s license. Getting a CDL requires meeting some fitness and skill levels, including having a good driving record without prior DUI convictions.

The Federal Motor Carriers Act also has provisions for commercial vehicle license laws and regulations. California follows those requirements, just like other states. Commercial DUI defense lawyers in California advise that you familiarize yourself with these regulations for compliance and to protect your rights when defending yourself against DUI charges.

What Are Some Special DUI Hazards for Commercial Drivers?

Commercial drivers face two special hazards under California DUI laws. One has to do with the lower legal blood alcohol limit. Commercial drivers may obtain a DUI conviction in cases they would otherwise not have been convicted if they were driving a non-commercial vehicle.

Secondly, the effects of a DUI conviction on a driver’s commercial license are more stringent than on non-commercial licenses. Stricter rules govern commercial drivers, and any DUI offense affects their license.

What Are the Impacts of a DUI Offense on a Commercial Driver’s License?

California commercial DUI defense attorneys explain that a DUI conviction can have both criminal and civil consequences in the short and long term. Once you’re pulled over on suspicion of DUI, police officers will establish your BAC level. If it exceeds the legal limit of 0.04%, you will be placed out of service for 24 hours.

That means you can’t operate your commercial vehicle during that time. Your regular driver’s license will also be suspended as you await the outcome of the case. Contact commercial DUI defense lawyers in California immediately to fight for a favorable case outcome.

Other penalties include, but are not limited to, the following:

Suspension of the Commercial Driver’s License

If you’re convicted of any DUI offense for the first time, you risk having your license suspended for at least one year. The suspension applies even if you were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense. The court may also suspend your license if you don’t take a DUI breath or blood test.

Other penalties for a first-time commercial DUI without injuries to a third party include:

  • Up to six months in a county jail
  • Informal or summary probation for three to five years
  • Fines of between $390 and $1,000 and penalty assessments of between $1,500 and $2,000
  • A court-approved alcohol or drug rehabilitation and education program for three months

While the process for a commercial DUI is the same as a regular DUI, the suspension period is more extended. Having skilled representation to help you beat the charges can enhance the chances of having the charges dropped or penalties reduced.

Loss of CDL for a Second DUI Conviction

DUI laws in California are strict, and if you’re convicted of a second DUI, you risk losing your commercial driver’s license for life, as stipulated in federal and state law. Losing your CDL could dramatically affect your life, putting you out of employment as a commercial driver. So, you must retain skilled DUI defense lawyers in California to defend you against the charges aggressively.

Impact on Commercial Insurance

A commercial DUI conviction can significantly affect your ability to obtain affordable insurance coverage for your vehicle. Insurance providers may classify you as a high-risk driver, causing them to impose higher insurance premiums or deny you coverage at their discretion. Lack of insurance coverage can kick you out of business because you can’t operate without it.

Rehabilitation and Reinstatement

After a DUI conviction and driver’s license suspension, commercial drivers must undergo a reinstatement process to have their driving privileges restored. The law requires them to complete a DUI education program, serve the suspension period, and pay reinstatement fees.

The process is often more challenging if the CDL suspension lasts a lifetime. You may have to appeal the DMV’s decision legally. Consult DUI lawyers in San Bernardino County for legal guidance for a favorable outcome.

Impact on Personal Life

A DUI conviction can do a lot more than harm you professionally and legally. You will go through stressful times during the legal proceedings and suffer the financial burden of fines and legal fees. Besides, the stigma of the offense can become a burden on your social relationships and mental health.

A Skilled DUI Lawyer Helping You Navigate the Complexities of a Commercial DUI

Facing charges for a commercial DUI can be frustrating as your profession is at stake. The consequences and impact of a conviction can also be overwhelming. Hiring experienced DUI lawyers skilled in defending commercial drivers is crucial to help you fight for a favorable outcome to assert your rights, future, and freedom.

Patrick Silva, Attorneys at Law, is a reputable DUI defense law firm in California. Our team of commercial DUI defense lawyers in California can look into your commercial DUI case and help you beat the charges to avoid a conviction. The penalties can be devastating, and we want to help you protect your rights. Call us at 909-500-4819 to schedule a consultation.

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