San Diego Commercial DUI Attorney
Representing Commercial Drivers Arrested for Drunk Driving
In California, commercial drivers are subject to different DUI laws than others. As you may know, the legal limit of intoxication in the state is a BAC of 0.08%—which means anyone operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration exceeding this limit can be arrested for driving under the influence. Although this same standard applies to commercial drivers while they are off-duty, they are prohibited from driving with a BAC greater than 0.04% while operating a commercial vehicle. If convicted of either offense, they risk the loss of their commercial driver's license (CDL) for a minimum of one year.
When You Call JD Law, You Can Be Confident Knowing:
- You have a former police detective on your side.
- We have more than 30 years of experience.
- We are led by a board-certified criminal law specialist.
With hundreds of cases under our belts, we are more than prepared to take on your charges. Contact us today to set up a free consultation!
Classification of Commercial Vehicles
When people think of commercial vehicles, they often think of the tractor-trailers lining the highways of California. But under the state’s commercial driver DUI law, other types of vehicles are also included. These are:
- A double trailer
- Passenger vehicles that carry more than ten people, including the driver
- School buses
- Tank vehicles
- Vehicles that carry hazardous substances and require a placard
Under this classification, recreational vehicles (RVs) are not considered commercial vehicles, although they may possibly carry more than ten people. This is because, as their name implies, these vehicles are for recreational and not commercial purposes.
Also not included in California’s classification of commercial vehicles are agricultural vehicles that do not require the driver to obtain a driver’s license. While these vehicles may be used for business purposes, such as farming, because they do not require a driver’s license, they are not considered commercial vehicles.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence while operating a big rig, double-trailer, school bus, city or charter bus, tour bus, tank vehicle, or other commercial transport, you face more severe consequences than someone charged with a standard DUI.
What Types of Penalties Am I Facing?
If you have recently been arrested and charged with a CDL DUI, you should waste no time in taking action to protect your rights. Not only are you facing hard time in jail, but you could be forced to forfeit your commercial driver's license—which may be the way that you currently earn a living.
You may also be subject to the same penalties that non-commercial drivers face, including:
- Up to 1 year in county jail
- Mandatory payment of $390 - $1,000 in fines
- Completion of an alcohol education program (3-36 months)
- Informal DUI probation
- Loss of CDL for at least 1 year, but possibly for life
While not all commercial drivers charged with DUI will lose their driver’s license for life, those facing a second, third, or fourth DUI are in danger of losing their CDL for good. For many bus drivers and truck drivers, this is a devastating financial blow.
With the help of an experienced San Diego DUI attorney from JD Law, you can fight for the reinstatement of your license by scheduling a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest, as well as devise a solid defense strategy for the subsequent criminal trial.
Restricted Licenses Do Not Apply to CDL DUIs
When a person is convicted of a regular DUI, he may be given the option of a restricted license. A restricted license allows someone charged with DUI to drive to and from school or a few other approved places. Driving is an essential part of many people’s lives, and removing that privilege is seen by the DMV as too severe in some situations.
Unfortunately, restricted licenses are not an option in commercial DUI cases. This is why it is so important to speak to an attorney right away. For a first-offense commercial DUI, a driver may lose his CDL for 1 year, most likely putting him out of work for a year. It may also be more difficult to obtain employment in the same line of work after a conviction, even if you do not lose your CDL.
Fighting for the Reinstatement of your License
As in any other DUI defense, there are two actions involved in defending against commercial driver's license DUI: the DMV hearing and the criminal court hearing. Attorney James N. Dicks defends clients in both. Though the procedures are different, the defenses in both are much the same. For example, he can ask questions such as, "Did the police officer make an illegal stop?" When police do not have probable cause to believe the commercial driver had committed an offense, they cannot legally pull the driver over. Any evidence that is subsequently obtained would be inadmissible.
Other defense strategies we may use relate to alcohol screening tests that are used to prove that a driver was under the influence. These include the following:
- Field sobriety tests
- Breath tests
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
Each test has a prescribed set of procedures. If a police officer violates any of these procedures, the results could then be considered invalid. After years of practice, our San Diego criminal defense attorney is intimately familiar with these procedures and is quick to spot police missteps. Clients find the service at our firm personalized and respectful. They are also pleased at the relentless defense they receive. You are encouraged to contact the firm for a free initial consultation.
Find Out How JD Law Can Help: Call Our San Diego Law Firm
If the police have taken away your commercial driver's license for driving under the influence, you may well be concerned about your livelihood and future. When you come to JD Law, you can have confidence you will receive the aggressive defense you need. Attorney James N. Dicks is one of the few board-certified criminal law specialists in the state. He is often asked to deliver seminars to other lawyers on techniques for cross-examination of police officers.
For help with CDL DUI, you are urged to contact our San Diego criminal defense lawyer.
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