DUI and Traffic Events Regarding Commercial Driver’s License Laws

When a commercial driver is convicted of a DUI, he or she may face a one year disqualification from driving a commercial vehicle per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Any subsequent DUIs may cause a life-long ban of driving these vehicles. The severity of these crimes is reflected in how a driver’s CDL license suspension lasts in time.

When additional crimes are added to a DUI violation, both a suspension of the CDL license and other penalties are often combined during sentencing after a conviction.

Disqualified Drivers

When a driver has been suspended from his or her CDL license and not allowed to drive these vehicles, the person may not be hired by another company. Those penalized by this action are not allowed to drive a commercial motor vehicle. When a lifetime ban has been incurred some drivers may be allowed to regain the ability to drive these commercial vehicles if after ten years they undergo and complete a rehabilitation treatment. However, any subsequent violations reverse this reinstatement.

First Conviction of a DUI

A first conviction often disqualifies a person from driving a commercial vehicle for a period of time. This may also occur for someone that refuses a chemical test after being pulled over. The blood alcohol content tests are harsher for commercial drivers. Where the national limit is a .08 percent level, big truck drivers cannot go over a .04 percent level. Severity of penalties often results from multiple factors, but truck drivers may be carrying hazardous materials. When these are aboard the truck, an impaired driver may cause more damage with the onboard materials to others and property than a motor vehicle driver.

Various Crimes and Penalties

Being influenced by alcohol or drugs may lead to one to three years in jail or prison with a potential life ban from driving a commercial vehicle. Driving and being registered with a .04 BAC level or higher may incur one to three years disqualification for driving or a ban for life depending on state and company. The same one to three years with potential life ban are both possible when refusing a breath test in states with implied consent laws that require the driver to allow a test. This is in addition to any sentences incurred through conviction. Leaving the scene of an accident also carries these same penalties of one to three years with possible life disqualification. If the driver commits a different felony than a DUI violation, he may experience a one to three year disqualification. This may be elevated to a life ban when the sentence already exists.

Previous convictions of DUI or other traffic violations also incur a one to three year disqualification or a life ban. Another crime with the same penalties is causing a fatality through negligence. However, if the driver commits felonies of manufacturing, shipping, giving out or moving controlled substances, he or she is banned for life without any possibility of reinstatement. Most traffic violations not involving a DUI offense most often incur a penalty of disqualification of driving the commercial vehicles for up to 60 to 120 days.

Implied Consent, Arrest and Trial

Implied consent is the law that requires drivers to submit to a chemical test in the states with these laws once it has been determined the person may be intoxicated. These tests are administered by law enforcement either before or after an arrest. Because commercial drivers are held to a higher standard, they do not have to be considered legally drunk by having a BAC of .08 percent or above like other individuals. A register of .04 percent is enough for a DUI violation for these drivers. The refusal of the chemical test is enough for the company carrying the driver to disqualify him or her for driving with a CDL. An arrest is usually initiated after the chemical test or once other field sobriety tests confirm the driver has been drinking. Once the driver goes to trial, he or she must prove that he or she did not have BAC of .04 percent or more or that the underlying reasons for the stop were unconstitutional in order for him or her to retain driving rights with a CDL as well as fight a DUI violation.

Obtaining Legal Assistance

It is essential for any drivers with a CDL that are arrested for DUI violations in any state to hire a criminal defense lawyer that focuses on commercial DUI charges. This experience is critical for success.

Provided by HG.org

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.
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