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dui for truck drivers

The Consequences of a DUI for Commercial Drivers

A DUI can run through your life like a tornado, affecting your driving rights, finances, and even your career. The fallout is even worse if you are a commercial driver. Commercial drivers have even more consequences when they are caught driving while impaired, and their entire career can be sabotaged.

Learn more about how a DUI can affect commercial drivers, and if you’ve been arrested for driving while impaired, let us help. Call Holcomb & Russell at 228-206-5843.

CDL Standards

There’s a reason that you generally have to attend school to get your CDL—commercial drivers are held to higher standards than personal drivers. They have to have an immaculate knowledge of state driving laws and safe driving practices, and they have to use that knowledge on the road. When they err, the consequences are much steeper than they are for other drivers.

Why are CDL drivers held to such high standards? There’s a lot at stake when they get behind the wheel of a truck. When you trust someone with a vehicle that weighs 20 times more than a car, it’s important to know that they will drive safely.

The impact of a DUI depends on whether a CDL holder was driving a commercial vehicle or personal vehicle at the time of the crash.

When You’re Driving a Commercial Vehicle

If a driver is behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle at the time of a collision, the penalties are stiff. Someone driving a commercial vehicle must have a BAC lower than 0.04% when they are stopped. This is half the BAC limit for non-commercial drivers.

A driver caught driving while impaired will likely lose their commercial license for a full year. This means a full year of not working or earning an income—and it’s likely that you’ll be out of work longer than that, as many companies are wary of hiring drivers with a history of DUI convictions.

It’s even worse if a driver is transporting hazardous materials when they are stopped. This generally leads to the loss of a commercial driver’s license for three full years.

Keep in mind that these limits don’t mean that you’ll automatically get your license back after one or three years. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you could lose your license permanently.

Your first conviction already has a significant impact on your life and career. If you are convicted a second time of driving while impaired, you’ll likely lose your license permanently.

What About When You’re Driving a Regular Passenger Vehicle?

Even if you’re driving your own personal vehicle when you’re stopped, your CDL status still affects how your arrest will be handled. The high standards placed on CDL drivers follow them even when they are off the clock. If you’re arrested for driving while impaired, you’ll lose your commercial license—even if you were in your personal vehicle at the time.

Your Options After a DUI Arrest

Hiring a criminal defense attorney should be your top priority after a DUI arrest, but it’s even more important if you have a commercial license. Your entire livelihood is at stake, and the future of your career depends on your ability to beat these charges. When you talk to a criminal defense attorney, you can explore different options.

They may question the legality of the initial traffic stop, determine whether or not the Breathalyzer was used properly, and ensure that your civil rights were protected during the arrest. The right defense option depends a lot on the details of your traffic stop, which is why it’s important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. This gives them as much time as possible to investigate your arrest, learn about the case against you, and start mounting a defense.

Reach Out to Holcomb & Russell to Explore Your Legal Options

If your CDL is at risk after a DUI arrest, you need to talk to the team at Holcomb & Russell. We’re committed to helping drivers like you get a second chance after a DUI arrest. Set up a consultation now by calling us at 228-206-5843 or sending us a message online.

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