Commercial Licenses in California
A commercial driver's license (CDL) is a special license that drivers can obtain that allows them to operate any type of large vehicle.
CDLs are needed to drive:
- Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) like buses, tow trucks and 18 wheelers
- Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lb or more
- Vehicles transporting hazardous material
Commercial drivers have different DUI laws than regular drivers. Because of the size and mass of a commercial vehicle, an impaired driver can cause a very serious accident. Commercial passenger vehicles like buses have the potential to injury dozens of passengers in an accident. For these reasons, California laws are particularly strict when it comes to operating a commercial vehicle under the influence.
California Commercial License DUI Laws
According to the definitions in California Vehicle Code Section 15210(f):
"Driving a commercial vehicle under the influence" means committing any one or more of the following unlawful acts in a commercial motor vehicle:
(1) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while the operator's blood-alcohol concentration level is 0.04 percent or more, by weight in violation of subdivision (d) of Section 23152.
(Commercial vehicles are larger than ordinary vehicles and require more effort to control. They also have the capacity to case injury to a lot of people if mishandled. Because of this, California law does not want drivers to be impaired in the slightest when operating one of these dangerous vehicles. Under Vehicle Code 23152 (d) a driver who is operating a commercial vehicle only needs a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% to be charged with DUI. This is a very low percentage and there are many factors such as consumption of medicine or food that can cause a breathalyzer test to read .04%.)
(2) Driving under the influence of alcohol, as prescribed in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 23152.
(Any DUI charge can affect a commercial license too. A driver with a commercial license can face penalties if they are convicted for driving their personal vehicle or any noncommercial car under the influence. 23152 VC states that anyone who has a BAC of .08% or above or any driver that exhibits signs of impairment can be charged with a violation.)
(3) Refusal to undergo testing as required under this code in the enforcement of Subpart D of Part 383 or Subpart A of Part 392 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(Under California law, if a commercial driver refuses to submit to a blood, breath or urine sobriety test when requested to by police; they are considered in violation of the driving under the influence law.)
In addition to these laws, if a person is operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04% or greater and they cause an accident that leads to injuries, they may be in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23153 (d). In order for this charge to be proven, three elements must be present:
- The driver was operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04% or higher
- In addition to DUI, the driver broke a driving law or neglected to perform a duty
- This negligence lead to injury of another person
Commercial License DUI Penalties
A DUI conviction on a commercial license will lead to all of the penalties that are related to the non-commercial license crime as well as extra tough license suspension penalties.
Drivers with commercial licenses will lose their license for one year if they are convicted of any DUI related crime, even those that are committed in their personal vehicle. Two or more DUI convictions on a commercial license will lead to permanent license revocation. In addition, commercial driver also do not get the option to apply for a restricted driver's license so drivers who lose their license will have to wait the full year to get them reinstated.
If a driver has a commercial driver's license, a DUI conviction of any kind can lead to suspension or even firing. A DUI conviction under any circumstances can affect a person's commercial license and even their career. Many trucking companies require a clean driving record for all of their employees. Any type of DUI conviction will be reported on a driving record.
California Commercial DUI Attorney
For professional drivers, their ability to drive is their career and losing their license for any amount of time is out of the question. That is why it is important to get experienced professional legal assistance.
There are a lot of reasons why you should choose our firm for your criminal defense needs. Not only do we provide top rated service, we get our clients results. Our lawyers are dedicated to fighting for the rights of our clients and getting their charges dropped. Our team of attorneys will dissect your case and strategize your best defense. Call us now for a free consultation.