A commercial driver’s license (CDL) can allow an individual to pursue a career in professional shipping as a truck driver, delivery driver, or other commercial vehicle operator. As CDL holders drive as part of their professional responsibilities, they are held to a higher standard of care than typical private drivers on the road.
When a driver is arrested for DUI, their measured level of impairment and the nature of the arrest play important roles when it comes to criminal proceedings. Even a first-time DUI offense can lead to substantial fines, mandatory counseling, license suspension, and much more. The penalties are dramatically more severe when it comes to CDL DUI cases.
When a CDL holder is arrested for DUI, they may face serious professional consequences. They must also remember that the rules for CDL holders apply at all times, even when they are not driving their commercial vehicles. Additionally, a CDL driver who operates a commercial vehicle under the influence can potentially face substantial criminal penalties. California DUI laws are very strict when it comes to CDL drivers. The typical standard of determining DUI is a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) test. The legal limit for typical drivers is .08%, but the legal limit for CDL drivers is only .04%. It is crucial for commercial vehicle operators who hold CDLs to understand the significant risks they take by choosing to drive under the influence or by consuming any measure of alcohol before driving at all. In actuality, .04% is not a very high BAC level, and it’s possible for a person to still register as .04% or greater the morning after a night of heavy drinking when they feel perfectly sober. Simply put, it is never worth the risk for a CDL driver to consume any amount of alcohol in the hours before they intend to drive, whether they are driving their commercial vehicle or a personal car.
Even a standard DUI charge can be difficult to fight without reliable legal representation. When it comes to a CDL DUI, the stakes are much higher for the accused. A Santa Ana CDL DUI defense attorney can help their client build the strongest possible defense and potentially help the client avoid certain penalties. At the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, we have successfully represented many past clients as their California CDL DUI defense lawyers and take an individualized approach to every case we accept.
A CDL DUI can have dramatic consequences for your professional career. Our goal when accepting your case is to provide you with the most solid defense possible. It’s vital to understand your rights when it comes to due process in California and what to expect from your CDL DUI case.
California is very strict in upholding the .04%/.08% double standard when it comes to typical drivers and CDL drivers. When a CDL holder is arrested for DUI of any kind, they will face a one-year CDL suspension that can prevent them from working. For example, a truck driver who receives a CDL DUI will not be legally allowed to work their trade for one full year. Additionally, CDL drivers do not have the option of applying for restricted CDL licenses, even if their jobs depend on maintaining their CDLs.
The penalties for standard DUI convictions escalate with subsequent offenses. With a CDL DUI, they only escalate once to permanent,/lifetime CDL suspension. If you receive one CDL DUI conviction and regain your CDL after the one-year suspension and then receive another DUI conviction, you will no longer be legally able to possess a CDL. If your job depends on your CDL, you will have to change careers entirely.
If a CDL DUI arrest resulted from a truck accident, the driver may face civil liability for any damages they caused under the influence; causing injury or death due to CDL DUI can significantly increase the resulting penalties. Additionally, even if the driver regains their CDL after the one-year suspension, future employers may refuse to hire them because of their criminal record. Ultimately, a CDL DUI can be costly in several different ways.
In truth, .04% BAC is such a small level of alcohol that it’s easy for anyone to want to question the results of a preliminary BAC test. It’s important for all drivers to remember that while they are legally required to submit to an official chemical test after a DUI arrest, they are under no obligation to submit to a preliminary blood-alcohol screening.
A California CDL DUI defense attorney can help a client fight a CDL DUI charge in several ways. One of the first things the legal team should do is examine the BAC test results and determine how the police obtained the sample. If the defendant’s attorney can identify any procedural issues with the arresting officer’s obtaining the defendant’s BAC sample, it’s possible to call the validity of the test results into question or even challenge whether the arresting officers had probable cause for the stop in the first place.
It is also possible that a California CDL DUI defense lawyer will want to investigate the lab that processed the BAC test results. If they can identify any discrepancies or errors with lab machine records or past test results, this could be enough to have the BAC test results thrown out of the case.
The right Santa Ana CDL DUI defense attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of the charges against you. A good attorney will look for holes in the prosecutor’s case and gather every bit of exculpatory evidence they can find on behalf of a client. At the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, we believe in providing every client with completely individualized legal representation and minimize the legal and professional consequences they might face from unjustly harsh criminal justice proceedings.
Contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC today to tell us more about your CDL DUI case in southern California and our team will be happy to tell you how we can help.