Penalties for receiving a DUI are much harsher for commercial drivers and the consequences may reach far beyond losing your license and paying a fine. Commercial drivers are subject to stricter standards because their job requires them to operate vehicles that can contain toxic waste or precious cargo—it is a matter of public safety that these drivers be as safe as possible. Driving drunk while operating a company vehicle puts the company as well as the public-at-large at risk.
If you are pulled over and give a blood alcohol test of .04 or higher you will be considered over the limit for purposes of the Department of Motor Vehicles and your commercial driver’s license. For your first offense you will lose your license for a year but if the cargo was considered hazardous material license revocation is three years. After a second offense your CDL license is taken for life. If you refuse to take a test your license will be revoked for one year, and three years if the cargo was hazardous material. If it is your second refusal then your commercial license will be revoked for life.
These rules apply whether you are in your commercial vehicle or not. That’s right, if you hold a commercial driver’s license and provide a blood alcohol test of .04 or higher while in your personal vehicle it can cost you your commercial driver’s license even though you were not driving your commercial vehicle.
Receiving a DUI can be devastating if commercial driving is your livelihood and can cause ripple effects in your life such as loss of your job, financial hardship, and strain to your relationships. It is important to contact an experienced attorney if you find yourself facing a DUI charge and you are a commercial vehicle driver.
The rules are slightly different for minors who hold commercial licenses. If a minor commercial driver is caught with BAC levels .02 to .039 while driving their commercial vehicle then their commercial license will be revoked for three months on the first offense, six months on the second, and one year on the third offense and any offenses after that.
If you hold a commercial driver’s license and provide a blood alcohol test of .04 or greater (or .02 or greater if you a minor) then you will need to schedule a hearing within seven days if you plan to contest your revocation. If you do nothing then you will lose the right to challenge or appeal the revocation and your license will automatically be revoked.
If you are a commercial driver facing a revocation of your license, then call us at DUI Defense Matters for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.