Commercial Drivers and DUI
Any time a person is arrested for driving under the influence, the charges should be taken seriously. However, if the driver is a commercial driver facing DUI charges, the stakes are much higher. If convicted, he or she could lose driving privileges and potentially his or her job. When a person relies on the right to get behind the wheel for his or her profession, a DUI conviction could be devastating.
West Chester Commercial DUI Attorney
DUI charges can be overwhelming, but you do not have to tackle the legal system alone. If you are a CDL holder facing DUI charges, a drunk driving lawyer at Ciccarelli Law Offices can help you fight the charges and get a favorable outcome. Your future is important, and the attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices can help you protect it.
Our team has nearly 40 years of combined legal experience, and we are prepared to handle your case. We have helped others facing DUI charges and we know how frightening it could be. These charges should not be taken lightly. We can work to have them reduced or dismissed.
We represent clients throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. We are based in West Chester and have offices in Philadelphia, Springfield, King of Prussia, Kennett Square, Radnor, Lancaster, Malvern and Plymouth Meeting. We represent clients in Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Lancaster County. Call (610) 719-3200 to schedule a free consultation.
Commerical DUI Information
- Commercial DUI Charges
- Off-Duty CDL Drunk Driving Charges
- Penalties for Commercial Drivers under the Influence
- Regaining CDL after Drunk Driving Conviction
Commercial DUI Charges
Commercial drivers are prohibited from operating or being in physical control of a motor vehicle with any alcohol in his or her system, according to Pa. Cons. Stat. §1612.
The legal limit of intoxication is much lower for commercial drivers in Pennsylvania than it is for regular drivers. Generally, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 is considered intoxicated. However, for commercial drivers a BAC of 0.04 is the legal limit.
If the driver’s BAC is between 0.04 and 0.159 it is considered a “high-rate DUI,” which could mean jail time even for a first offense. This is much steeper than the “high-rate DUI” requirement for normal drivers, which is a BAC between 0.1 and 0.16.
A person who drives a commercial motor vehicle in Pennsylvania is deemed to have given consent to take a test or tests of the person’s breath, blood or urine for the purpose of determining the BAC or presence of other controlled substances, according to Pa. Cons. Stat. §1613. Refusing the test could mean being disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle.
Off-Duty CDL Drunk Driving Charges
If a person who is a commercial driver is stopped for drunk driving when he or she is off duty, the normal BAC requirement of 0.08 would apply. This means if a commercial driver is arrested for operating his or her personal vehicle while under the influence, the 0.08 threshold should be used as the legal limit.
However, even if the person is off-duty, there still could be professional penalties for the offense. If a commercial driver is convicted of a DUI in his or her own vehicle, it still could lead to a one-year CDL disqualification. This is in addition to penalties associated with the DUI charge, including a personal driver’s license suspension, jail time and fines.
Penalties for Commercial Drivers under the Influence
The penalties for commercial driving under the influence offenses vary based on a variety of factors, including if the driver has any past DUI convictions and the level of impairment.
If a person has a blood alcohol concentration between greater than .04 and less than 1.6, a first offense CDL DUI conviction could result in between two days and six months in jail, a fine between $500 and $5,000 and a 12-month license suspension.
However, after the first offense the penalties increase. A second offense could mean jail time between one and six months, a fine between $750 and $5,000 and a 12-month license suspension. If the BAC was greater than 1.6, a conviction could mean up to five years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines and an 18-month driver’s license suspension.
Additionally, drivers convicted of a commercial DUI could face other repercussions, such as being dropped by his or her current insurance company, being declined by other insurance companies or having insurance premiums increase dramatically. A conviction also could mean to being fired or released from a job.
Regaining CDL after Drunk Driving Conviction
As a commercial driver, having your CDL is the most important part of the job. Once you are convicted of a DUI for the first time and it has been suspended, there are ways you can regain your license. A driver must do the following:
- Pass the CDL knowledge and driving tests
- Pass a separate knowledge test to earn a hazardous materials endorsement
- Pay the requalification fee
A second or subsequent DUI could result in having your CDL disqualified for life. However, a driver possibly could be eligible for reinstatement under certain strict conditions after a 10-year period.
Finding the Best Commercial DUI Defense Lawyer in Chester County
If you are a commercial driver facing DUI charges, it is important you act fast to protect your future. Contact a skilled DUI defense attorney at Ciccarelli Law Offices in West Chester. The team can help you combat the charges and fight to protect your rights, your future and your profession. Call (610) 692-8700 to schedule a free consultation.