Laws involving driving under the influence(DUI) are intended to discourage individuals from operating a motor vehicle while they are impaired by the use of alcohol. Often, this means having a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, exceeding the California legal limit of .08. However, the law is stricter on individuals who are charged with DUI while driving a commercial vehicle. If you find yourself in this situation you will need to acquire the services of a DUI attorney who can fight your charge and help preserve your commercial driver’s license and your livelihood.
What You Need to Know About DUI and CDLs
In California, the legal BAC level is much lower for operators of commercial vehicles, who are held to a higher standard than other drivers. Therefore, if you are a commercial driver and you are pulled over and test positive for a BAC of .04 or greater, you will be charged with DUI.
Another essential thing to know about DUI and commercial drivers is the penalty of license suspension. If convicted, a commercial driver will lose his or her driving privileges for at least 1 year. This can be compared to non-commercial drivers with the same conviction, who will generally receive a 6-month suspension, with the possibility of restricted driving privileges during that suspension. Further, a commercial driver can also have his or her commercial driver’s license suspended even if the DUI occurred while driving a private vehicle.
In addition to the loss of your commercial driver’s license, if found guilty of DUI as a commercial driver, you may encounter the following penalties:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Fines up to $1000
- Enrollment in a DUI education program
The penalties will differ depending on the facts of each case. Where there are aggravating factors, such as causing injury to another, the penalties will be greater.
Defending a DUI as a Commercial Driver
Despite the penalties, being charged with DUI as a commercial driver may not be the end of the road for your job or career. There may be a number of defenses that you can use to safeguard your innocence. In addition to putting forward a defense to negate the prosecution’s claim that you were driving, which is an essential element of the charge, the following may also be available to you:
- Inaccurate test results – To determine your BAC level, the police may administer a blood or breath test. While many view the results of these tests to be scientific and indisputable, there are numerous circumstances that may render test results inaccurate. If the machine is not properly calibrated, there is evidence of a health condition that can give a false reading or the BAC level of the driver is increasing with subsequent testing, your lawyer can introduce evidence to discredit the results of the chemical test.
- Breach of procedure – There are certain rules and protocols which must be adhered to by the police before, during, and after the arrest. Where the police are found to have breached the law in any way, evidence of this can be used to establish a defense.
Defending a DUI case is not only limited to relying on a legal defense. Separate from the penalties and the specific BAC requirement, being charged with DUI as a commercial driver involves the same procedures as when a non-commercial driver is charged. Accordingly, there is always the possibility of charges and penalties being reduced. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can improve your chances of getting a positive outcome to your case.
Why You Need a San Diego CDL DUI Attorney
When anyone is charged with a criminal offense, it is advisable to seek out the services of an attorney. Additionally, if you are a commercial driver charged with DUI, here are some other valuable reasons you will need a lawyer.
- A lawyer will know the law and the ways in which you can fight your DUI charge.
- A lawyer can help get charges dropped or reduced.
- You do not have to be concerned with researching and preparing your defense.
- If you plan on pleading guilty, a lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to get you a lesser sentence.
Similar to the fact that only trained drivers are trusted to drive commercial vehicles, you should only trust your legal representation to an attorney. In choosing a lawyer, it will be important to find a San Diego CDL DUI attorney.
At McElfresh Law, we are qualified to handle your case. For years, we have worked in the area of criminal defense, representing individuals who have been charged with various types of offenses. We are committed to providing you with high-quality legal representation that you can trust.
McElfresh Law understands what is at stake in a DUI matter in which a commercial driver is a defendant. Our objective is not only to fight to secure your freedom but also to help you keep your license intact.
Call us today at (858) 756-7107 if you are a commercial driver charged with DUI and let us stand by your side in court.