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Los Angeles Commercial Driver DUI Attorneys

Defending Commercial Drivers Against Los Angeles DUI Charges

Because of the damage big rigs can cause in a collision, commercial drivers are held to a higher standard than passenger vehicle drivers. They can be arrested for DUI with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04%, as compared to .08% for other drivers. Consequences of a DUI conviction are also more severe for commercial drivers. To operate a commercial vehicle, a driver must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The right to drive, along with a driver’s livelihood, can be lost with a DUI conviction.

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What Is the Legal Definition of Commercial Driver DUI?

The law states, under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (d):

“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. . . In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after driving.”

It does not take much alcohol consumption to reach a BAC of .04%. Depending on weight, height, and other factors, a person could have a BAC of .04% after consuming one alcoholic beverage within one to two hours before a blood or breath test.

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What Are the Consequences of Commercial Driver DUI Conviction?

Commercial drivers convicted of DUI face criminal and administrative penalties, along with other serious consequences:

  • Criminal penalties: Potential criminal penalties for first-offense commercial driver DUI include informal probation, a jail sentence of up to one year, fines of $390 to $1,000, and/or 36 months of DUI education. If convicted of DUI causing injury, a commercial driver could face felony charges.
  • Commercial driver’s license suspension: Upon conviction of DUI, a commercial driver’s license is suspended for a minimum of one year. A trucker who was hauling dangerous cargo at the time of a DUI arrest could have his or her CDL suspended for three years. A second DUI conviction in any vehicle could lead to permanent loss of a CDL.

Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, employers must disqualify drivers convicted of a DUI offense. Trucking companies are prohibited from knowingly requiring, allowing, permitting, or authorizing a disqualified driver to drive a commercial motor vehicle. In addition to criminal penalties, a DUI conviction means loss of employment and livelihood for commercial drivers. They are not eligible for a restricted license like passenger vehicle drivers with a DUI.

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What Are the Legal Defenses Against Commercial Driver DUI Charges?

As in any DUI case, prosecutors must prove the charges against commercial drivers. They generally rely on results of chemical testing, testimony of arresting officers and witnesses, and evidence that the defendant holds a CDL. Legal defenses our Los Angeles commercial driver DUI attorneys can raise will depend on the circumstances of your case. Common DUI defenses include the following:

  • Lack of probable cause: The arresting officer did not have probable cause to pull you over and performed an illegal stop.
  • Inaccurate breath test: Your breathalyzer test showed a false positive.
  • Improper testing: The arresting officer failed to perform a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test properly.

Our experienced Los Angeles DUI defense lawyers at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP can challenge the accuracy of the prosecution’s case, including blood, breath, and field sobriety tests, to achieve the best possible outcome. Call us today at (213) 688-0460 if you are facing commercial driver DUI charges.

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Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP Today
Phone: (213) 688-0460
Fax: (213) 624-1942

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