Commercial Driver DUI Charges
Ventura DUI Attorney
If you possess a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), a DUI conviction could cost your reputation and your job. At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP, we have more than 50 years of courtroom experience helping people like you get the topnotch legal assistance that they need. After an arrest, you might wonder if a criminal defense attorney can really help your case. Don't give up; the Ventura DUI lawyers at our firm have the skill and understanding to make sure that your rights are protected in court.
Why is commercial DUI different?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) takes specific skills. In the past, all drivers were permitted to operate tractor-trailers and busses. However, these vehicles are large and difficult to operate safely. Because of this, inexperienced drivers caused avoidable car accidents while operating CMVs. Operating a vehicle without the proper qualifications can be dangerous. That's why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986. The act was designed to keep American roadways safe by establishing new standards to obtain a CDL.
FMCSA Standards and DUI Charges
According to the FMCSA, it is illegal to operate a CMV with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04% or more. In California, it is unlawful for any driver to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC that exceeds .08%. However, commercial drivers are held to a stricter BAC standard. According to the FMCSA, driving under the influence while operating a CMV is considered a major violation. If convicted of DUI, you may be disqualified to carry a CDL. According to FMCSA, your first major offense is punishable by a one or three year disqualification. Subsequent violations are punishable by life-long CDL ineligibility, but you may be authorized for reinstatement under specific circumstances. If you have been convicted of DUI and lost your driving privileges as a commercial driver, talk to an attorney from Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP today.
Am I subject to FMSCA standards?
Bus drivers, truck drivers, and other professional drivers are required to obtain a CDL. However, other organizations may be subject FMSCA standards as well – even if you are not employed as a commercial driver. Drivers/employers who are subject to FMSCA rules include:
- The federal government
- Local/state government
- Individuals who assign drivers to operate a CMV
- Individuals who lease a CMV
- Individuals who own a CMV
- For-hire motor vehicle carriers
- Private motor carriers
- Civic organizations (such as the Boy Scouts or disable veteran transport)
BAC Testing for Commercial Drivers
After a car accident, you may be required to submit to a random BAC test. FMCSA regulations allow police officers to test commercial drivers for alcohol if there is any reason to believe that they might be driving drunk. Additionally, you may be tested for drugs if law enforcement suspects that you are operating a CMV under the influence of an illegal or controlled substance. FMCSA also states that you are subject to drug testing when you apply for a job that requires a CDL. Commercial drivers are subject to testing for cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, marijuana, and phencyclidine (PCP).