Driving under the influence (DUI) is illegal and very dangerous. California state law upholds strict penalties for drivers convicted of DUI violations, including fines, penalty assessments, incarceration, mandatory drug and alcohol classes, and more, depending on the severity of an offense and the driver’s record of previous offenses. Every driver in California has a duty of care to refrain from operating their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol. DUI arrests are possible when drivers fail to uphold this duty of care and cause accidents or if a police officer determines a driver is impaired at a DUI checkpoint. The duty of care to drive responsibly is even higher for commercial truck drivers.
All commercial truck drivers in California must not only follow the same rules of the road as all other drivers, but they must also adhere to trucking industry regulations. Additionally, the DUI statute in California is stricter for truck drivers since they operate inherently dangerous large vehicles as their primary job duties. California police officers use a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) measurement system to determine whether a driver is impaired by alcohol. Typically, the threshold for DUI is .08% for passenger vehicle drivers. For commercial drivers in California, the threshold is .04%. It is vital for all commercial truck drivers to keep this in mind and to operate their vehicles as safely as possible, refraining from alcohol consumption before they get behind the wheel.
The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann provide comprehensive legal counsel to CDL drivers charged with DUI. We have successfully represented many CDL drivers in DUI cases over the years of our firm’s operation and we understand that many DUI cases are unjust, compromised by faulty chemical tests, or involve due process violations. If you are a CDL driver who has been charged with DUI, you face more severe penalties than a private driver charged with DUI. We can provide the legal representation you need to minimize your penalties, prove your innocence, and preserve your career.
Many people charged with criminal offenses believe that they can manage their cases with representation from public defenders. Every American citizen has the Constitutional right to legal representation when accused of a crime, and if they cannot afford a lawyer or do not wish to pay for one, the court can provide legal counsel from a public defender. The majority of public defenders are experienced and capable attorneys, but they generally manage very busy caseloads and serve multiple clients at once. This means if you choose to have a public defender represent you free of charge, you cannot expect them to provide much individual attention to your case.
Working with a private Fullerton CDL DUI defense attorney offers a much more individualized legal counsel experience. Your attorney can carefully review the details of your claim and help you understand all of the legal proceedings you are likely to face. The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann maintains a balanced caseload to ensure we can provide the highest levels of individual attention to every client we serve. Our team understands that your career and livelihood are very much at stake in a CDL DUI case, and you can expect us to extend the full scope of our resources, skill, and experience in guiding you toward the most positive possible result in your case.
Our team has represented many commercial truck drivers in a wide range of criminal cases, including those involving DUI charges. We are familiar with trucking industry regulations and can provide detailed guidance for whatever your case entails. Depending on the nature of your case, we may coordinate expert witness testimony to support your defense, help you gather exculpatory evidence that proves you were wrongfully charged, or contest the validity of chemical testing used by the police after your arrest.
Every state upholds unique laws when it comes to DUI, including drug and alcohol testing, BAC limits, and mandatory penalties for DUI convictions. The .04% BAC threshold for CDL drivers is a standard set forth by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA). Police officers throughout California cannot compel drivers to submit to Preliminary Alcohol Screenings (PAS) such as breathalyzer tests, except for drivers under the age of 21 and drivers on probation for previous DUI convictions. However, if a police officer establishes probable cause to conduct a DUI arrest of a driver, the driver must comply with a chemical test.
The FMCSA also enforces many other regulations that affect truck drivers and their employers. Most trucking companies enforce random drug testing policies to ensure their drivers are not at risk of driving while under the influence, and all trucking companies and companies that employ CDL drivers must have robust policies in place to prevent their drivers from posing risks to other drivers. When a truck driver is charged with DUI, it is very likely that their employer will do everything they can to avoid vicarious liability. The term “vicarious liability” applies to any situation in which an employer or other party bears liability for the actions of another party. This is just one important legal concept that may come into play in a CDL DUI case.
It’s essential for all CDL drivers to understand how important it is to refrain from using drugs or alcohol while operating their commercial vehicles. The average private driver could face substantial fines, drivers’ license suspension, jail time, and numerous other penalties, but the penalties for CDL DUI are generally much worse. Namely, the CDL driver convicted of DUI may be unable to drive professionally for at least one year. This can severely impact their ability to manage household expenses, leading to severe financial problems in a very short amount of time. Additionally, having a record of CDL DUI conviction can make it difficult for them to secure truck driving jobs in the future.
Any standard DUI charge can be very difficult for a driver to fight without a reliable DUI defense lawyer on their side, and there is at much more at stake for a CDL driver facing this type of case. If you are charged with DUI as a CDL driver, it is vital that you take full advantage of your Constitutional rights following arrest. This means exercising your right to remain silent and your right to legal counsel. Do not say anything that may incriminate you when the police conduct an arrest, even if you know you are not intoxicated and desire to plead your case or explain the situation. Contact a reliable Fullerton CDL DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after arrest and booking. If the police conduct a lawful DUI arrest, you must submit to chemical testing for DUI. Your attorney can help you challenge the lawfulness of this testing and call the results into question if necessary.
In California, a CDL driver convicted of DUI can face several significant penalties, including CDL driver’s license suspension. When a private driver is convicted of DUI they are typically sentenced to driver’s license suspension, but some may argue successfully in favor of a restricted driver’s license. A restricted license allows the driver to drive to and from work and in the event of an emergency. However, a CDL driver will not have the option of requesting a restricted CDL. This means the convicted CDL driver will not be able to work in their trade for one full year.
It’s also important to know how subsequent offenses will impact the driver’s life. For example, a standard driver can have their license reinstated after completing their suspension term, and subsequent DUI convictions will increase the associated penalties. However, a standard driver’s license holder can typically regain their license after two DUI convictions once they complete their sentences. CDL drivers face a different rule. If a CDL driver is convicted of DUI once and completes their license suspension term and is later convicted of a second CDL DUI, they will lose their CDL entirely and be ineligible to qualify for a new one in the future. This means they will have to change careers entirely.
A DUI case can involve several other penalties beyond license suspension. A convicted driver will face fines and penalty assessments, often totaling in the thousands. This financial penalty on top of inability to work due to a suspended CDL will create severe financial problems for the driver. Additionally, if a CDL driver loses their job but is able to use their CDL in the future once they complete their suspension, it will be very difficult for them to find a new job as most CDL employers will not want to hire a driver who has a record of DUI.
Finally, CDL drivers convicted of DUI may also face civil liabilities if they caused accidents because of DUI. In the event a CDL driver injures another driver, they will not only face criminal prosecution for DUI and the professional penalties that will follow, but also liability for civil claims filed by victims of the accident. Tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks are capable of causing devastating accidents that result in severe injuries and significant economic losses. It’s also possible for the at-fault CDL driver’s employer to face vicarious liability for these damages. Ultimately, there is much at risk for any CDL driver charged with DUI. If you find yourself in this situation, it is crucial to secure legal representation from a reliable Fullerton CDL DUI defense attorney.
Hiring reliable legal counsel will allow you to approach your CDL DUI case with greater confidence. The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann can provide the legal counsel you need to minimize your penalties or avoid conviction by proving faults in the prosecution’s evidence. Your attorney should begin handling your case by carefully examining the circumstances of your arrest and booking. If they notice that the police failed to follow the laws of due process or did not establish probable cause when conducting your arrest, these factors could be enough to have your charges dropped.
If you were arrested and booked for CDL DUI, the police will administer a chemical test to confirm DUI. If your BAC reading is over .04%, or if the test detects amphetamines, cocaine, or other drugs in your system, the police will proceed with prosecution, and you will face the criminal justice system. Your attorney should seek to challenge the chemical test results. They may contest the police’s handling of the chemical test or call the lab results into question. For example, if the lab responsible for processing your DUI test sample has a shaky record of false positives and mishandling of test samples, this can cast doubt on the validity of your test results and help you avoid conviction.
Minimizing penalties may be more difficult if you were arrested after causing an accident due to the DUI. However, no matter what your CDL DUI case entails, you can rely on the defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann to help you build the most robust defense possible to preserve your career and livelihood. Our team can coordinate testimony from relevant experts to help you prove your innocence in the face of unjust accusations. We can help you gather exculpatory evidence or call the prosecution’s evidence into question as we support your case. Ultimately, any CDL DUI defense case is going to be difficult to navigate, but our team can provide the clarity and confidence you need during this difficult time.
If you have been charged with CDL DUI in Fullerton, CA, take full advantage of your Constitutional rights and contact the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann today to schedule your consultation with our team. Once we review the details of your case, we can let you know what to expect and what outcomes are most likely for your situation.