Commercial DUI in Santa Clarita
Working with a Strategic Santa Clarita DUI Attorney
Commercial drivers are given the authority to drive large and powerful vehicles that can carry tens of thousands of pounds in cargo. It must be remembered that with great power comes great responsibility. Because of the size and function of these types of vehicles, those who are authorized to drive them are held to a higher standard of responsibility than non-commercial drivers when it comes to impaired driving. In California, all it takes is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher to lead to a DUI arrest and possible conviction. In comparison, non-commercial drivers have a legal threshold of 0.08%. If you are a commercial driver in the Santa Clarita, California area who has been accused of DUI, you are at risk of losing your commercial driver's license, which can lead to an inability to perform your job. If you are in this situation, don't hesitate to consult with one of the skilled Santa Clarita criminal defense lawyers from our firm, the Law Offices of David M. Wallin.
Commercial Driver's Licenses and Commercial Vehicles
The state of California has certain licensing and testing requirements for commercial drivers (or individuals who are given authority to drive commercial vehicles). When individuals obtain commercial driver's licenses (CDLs), they prove that they have been deemed qualified to operate these types of vehicles. Commercial vehicles are those that have gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs) of 26,001 pounds or more, those that are designed to carry more than 10 passengers (the driver included), those that carry hazardous materials and those that meet other specified requirements. Large trucks and buses are a just a few examples of the various types of commercial vehicles.
Penalties for Commercial DUI
If you are convicted of commercial DUI, you will receive penalties that could be very damaging to both your personal life and your career. Drivers who are convicted of commercial DUI receive similar penalties as those who are convicted of non-commercial DUI. These penalties can include probation, jail time, fines and DUI education programs.
In terms of driver's license suspension, however, commercial drivers receive longer suspension periods. For example, a commercial driver can receives a one-year license suspension for a first-time commercial DUI offense, and the individual can lose his or her license for a lifetime upon a second or subsequent offense. The first-time suspension gets bumped up to three years if the commercial driver was transporting hazardous material at the time of the offense. In contrast, non-commercial drivers receive six-month suspensions for first-time offenses, 2-year suspensions for second offenses and 3-year suspensions for third-time offenses. Additionally, commercial drivers are not eligible for restricted licenses during their suspension periods like non-commercial drivers are.
Fighting to Keep Your CDL
If you lose your commercial driving privileges through a suspension, revocation or cancellation, you are required to inform your employer within a period of two business days, according to the California Commercial Driver Handbook for 2012-2013. Your employer is not allowed to let you continue driving commercial vehicles after receiving this notification. (If your employer breaks this rule, he or she can be fined up to $5,000 and can be even be placed in jail.)
The loss of your commercial driving privileges and a DUI conviction on your record can have drastic impacts on both your professional reputation and your ability to earn a living. Don't let you CDL be taken away without a fight! By working with the right DUI attorney, you can explore the best options for challenging your charges and your suspension.
At the Law Offices of David M. Walling, we are dedicated to standing up for your best interests in court. Contact a Santa Clarita DUI lawyer from our firm so we can begin assisting you!
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