SACRAMENTO CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER
Commercial DUI Charges and Its Various Consequences
The laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol are particularly strict for commercial drivers in the state of California. Such actions are not taken lightly and it’s important you consult a Sacramento California criminal attorney for any legal advice if you’re facing commercial DUI charges.
California DUI Laws for Commercial Drivers
For the average driver, the legal limit of blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08. For commercial drivers, this limit is lowered to .04 when driving their commercial vehicle. If an individual holds a commercial driver’s license, a conviction of any form of DUI (including when driving a noncommercial vehicle) can result in the suspension of their commercial driver’s license for over a year.
What is a commercial vehicle?
The vehicles that are subject to California’s commercial vehicle DUI law include:
- A vehicle with a registered or actual gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 26,001 pounds that tows a vehicle with a registered or actual GVWR of over 10,001 pounds.
- A double trailer
- A passenger vehicle that carries more than ten persons (including the driver)
- A school bus
- A tank vehicle
- A vehicle that carries hazardous substances and requires a placard.
Commercial vehicles do not include the following:
- Recreational vehicles (RVs)
- Agricultural vehicles operated by people who aren’t required to obtain driver’s licenses in California
- Taxi cabs, ride-sharing cars, and limousines that carry fewer than ten people
Commercial DUI penalties
The consequences of a DUI conviction are especially devastating for individuals that hold commercial driver’s licenses, even if they were not driving the commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest. Consequences vary on a few factors but all of which can impact your life in many ways, especially your career. If you’re facing a commercial DUI charge, you must speak to a Sacramento California criminal attorney for legal representation.
Any individual with a commercial license who is convicted of a DUI will likely face the following California misdemeanor penalties:
- Informal DUI probation
- Up to a year in county jail
- A fine between $390 and $1000
- Enrollment and completion of a court-ordered DUI alcohol education program for three to 36 months
When convicted of a DUI causing injury while holding a commercial license and driving a commercial or noncommercial vehicle, it may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Keep in mind that felony charges may carry lengthy state prison sentences so it’s best to speak to a skilled Sacramento California criminal attorney who can help you minimize the consequences.
For first time offenders that do not hold commercial license, their licenses are suspended for six months, but often is converted to a restricted license. For drivers that hold commercial licenses, the consequences are more severe.
A first time DUI conviction for an individual with a commercial license results in at least one year of commercial license suspension. In this case, there is no way to convert this suspension.
Secondary and subsequent DUI convictions result in a revocation of your commercial driver’s license indefinitely. This obviously is extremely harsh as it takes away the driver’s livelihood.
Fighting the Charges
A good Sacramento California criminal attorney familiar with commercial DUI cases should have a few methods of defense that will help a commercial license holder fight the charges and keep their license. There are two main defenses for DUI charges:
One – The results of the DUI chemical test were not accurate. A breathalyzer or blood test seems like very secure evidence, but there are a variety of ways they could be inaccurate:
- The DUI chemical testing instrument may not have been properly calibrated.
- The defendant may suffer from a digestive issue, such as acid reflux, which may produce inaccurately high BAC levels
- The driver may still have been processing alcohol when the test is administered, meaning he or she actually had a lower BAC when behind the wheel.
Two – Improper procedures were followed during the traffic stop. If it can be shown that the police didn’t follow proper protocol during the arrest, the charges against the driver may ultimately be dismissed. There are mandatory procedures set forth in Title 17 that must be followed. There are regulations on the manner in which blood, breath, and urine tests are conducted. This includes that a breathalyzer is administered at least 15 minutes after observation during which no food or drink is consumed, nor is any vomit expelled.The police must have read an individual being placed under arrest his or her Miranda rights and there must be probable cause for an arrest.
Innocent people are charged with DUIs relatively frequently. It is important to understand your rights and to be diligent about police following the law and seek out legal expertise from a Sacramento California criminal attorney.
It is extremely important to seek legal representation from a knowledgeable, experienced lawyer to help you with your case. Anyone holding a commercial license that is charged with a DUI is facing extremely steep and life-changing consequences. It is important to hire a high quality lawyer when your livelihood is on the line.
Sacramento California Criminal Attorney Helps Those Charged with Commercial DUI Charges
The consequences of a commercial DUI charge can alter your life in countless of ways. The Law Offices of Wing & Parisi have over 30 years of experience handling a variety of cases, including commercial DUI charges. We understand how stressful and devastating this time can be which is why we are here to help. Give us a call at (916) 441-4888 for a free consultation with a Sacramento California criminal attorney.