In California, there are a number of different vehicles that are classified as commercial vehicles including: vehicles over a certain weight such as semi-trucks, buses, and vehicles that transport hazardous materials. In order to drive these commercial vehicles, drivers are required by law to possess a commercial driver's license (CDL).
It is important for drivers with this type of license to be aware that they are held to different standards than those with a regular driver's license when it comes to driving under the influence. This page will address some of the main DUI issues that a CDL holder may face.
Lower BAC Limit
Under California law, it is unlawful for anyone to drive while under the influence. Ca. Veh. Code § 23152(a). For most drivers, the legal limit is 0.08 percent. Cal. Veh. Code § 23152(b). However, for an individual driving a commercial vehicle, the legal limit is much lower. The law states, in relevant part:
It is unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in Section 15210. Ca. Veh. Code §23152(d).
Thus, drivers who are operating a commercial vehicle can be charged with a DUI with a BAC of just 0.04 percent. This means that just one to two drinks could push an individual over the legal limit and result in a DUI charge.
Suspension of Commercial Driver's License
If a CDL holder is convicted of DUI, he or she can lose his or her commercial license for one year. Ca. Veh. Code § 15300. This is on top of the normal DUI penalties that any individual convicted of this offense can be subject to. License suspension for a CDL holder is a particularly harsh punishment as it can effectively prevent some individuals from making a living while the suspension is in effect. Moreover, there is no restricted commercial driver's license.
In addition, it is important to be aware that, under California law, if a commercial driver's license holder is convicted of a DUI while driving a non-commercial vehicle, that individual can still lose his or her commercial driving privileges for one year. Ca. Veh. Code § 15300.
The other penalties for a DUI conviction will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. However, in general, for a first driving under the influence offense, the penalties typically include:
- Three years of informal probation
- Up to 48 hours in jail or a court approved alternative
- A fine of $2,500
- A DUI Course which can last from 3 months to 9 months depending on your BAC level
- Install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for 5 months
Contact A Sacramento DUI Attorney
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in the Sacramento area, it is important to take this charge seriously. You need a strong defense and an attorney who will fight for your rights. Sacramento DUI Attorney John A. Campanella has been defending those accused of driving under the influence for many years and is dedicated to providing his clients with excellent and thoughtful representation. Contact his office today at (877) DUI-JOHN or by using the online contact form.