COMMERCIAL DUI – ONTARIO DUI ATTORNEY GROUP
In every state, commercial drivers are held to strict standards of safety and care. Commercial operators and drivers are entrusted with transporting heavy and sometimes hazardous loads, must drive heavy vehicles or carry large numbers of passengers short and long distances. They also must closely inspect their vehicles, keep detailed logs of their trips and inspections and are limited in the number of hours they can drive. Accordingly, anyone with a commercial license is closely scrutinized for drugs or alcohol.
Commercial drivers can be randomly tested for drugs and alcohol by their employers who are required to have drug and alcohol policies. Any drinking and driving while working is discouraged. All commercial drivers when operating a commercial vehicle may not have a BAC of 0.04% or risk losing their license for one year with no restricted license availability.
Depending on your height, weight, sex and other factors, even a single drink may put you close or even over the limit. If you are commercial driver who has been arrested on a DUI, promptly contact a Ontario DUI Attorney Group lawyer.
The DUI standard for commercial operators is addressed under CVC 23152(d):
“CVC 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, as defined in Section 15210. In any 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 the driving…”
Commercial vehicles are defined under CVC 15210 and the circumstances under which you can lose your license:
“15210. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, as used in this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Commercial driver’s license” means a driver’s license issued by a state or other jurisdiction, in accordance with the standards contained in Part 383 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which authorizes the license holder to operate a class or type of commercial motor vehicle.
(b) (1) “Commercial motor vehicle” means any vehicle or combination of vehicles that requires a class A or class B license, or a class C license with an endorsement issued pursuant to paragraph (2), (3), (4), or (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 15278.
(2) “Commercial motor vehicle” does not include any of the following:
(A) A recreational vehicle, as defined in Section 18010 of the Health and Safety Code.
(B) An implement of husbandry operated by a person who is not required to obtain a driver’s license under this code.
(C) Vehicles operated by persons exempted pursuant to Section 25163 of the Health and Safety Code or a vehicle operated in an emergency situation at the direction of a peace officer pursuant to Section 2800.
(c) “Controlled substance” has the same meaning as defined by the federal Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 802).
(d) “Conviction” means an unvacated adjudication of guilt, or a determination that a person has violated or failed to comply with the law in a court of original jurisdiction or by an authorized administrative tribunal, an unvacated forfeiture of bail or collateral deposited to secure the person’s appearance in court, a plea of guilty or nolo contendere accepted by the court, the payment of a fine or court costs, or violation of a condition of release without bail, regardless of whether or not the penalty is rebated, suspended, or probated.
(e) “Disqualification” means a prohibition against driving a commercial motor vehicle.
(f) “Driving a commercial vehicle under the influence” means committing any one or more of the following unlawful acts in a commercial motor vehicle:
(1) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while the operator’s blood-alcohol concentration level is 0.04 percent or more, by weight in violation of subdivision (d) of Section 23152.
(2) Driving under the influence of alcohol, as prescribed in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 23152.
(3) Refusal to undergo testing as required under this code in the enforcement of Subpart D of Part 383 or Subpart A of Part 392 of
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(g) “Employer” means any person, including the United States, a state, or political subdivision of a state, who owns or leases a commercial motor vehicle or assigns drivers to operate that vehicle. A person who employs himself or herself as a commercial vehicle driver is considered to be both an employer and a driver for purposes of this chapter.
(h) “Fatality” means the death of a person as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
(i) “Felony” means an offense under state or federal law that is punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
(j) “Gross combination weight rating” means the value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of a combination or articulated vehicle. In the absence of a value specified by the manufacturer, gross vehicle weight rating will be determined by adding the gross vehicle weight rating of the power unit and the total weight of the towed units and any load thereon.
(k) “Gross vehicle weight rating” means the value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of a single vehicle, as defined in Section 350.
(l) “Imminent hazard” means the existence of a condition that presents a substantial likelihood that death, serious illness, severe personal injury, or substantial endangerment to health, property, or the environment may occur before the reasonable foreseeable completion date of a formal proceeding begun to lessen the risk of death, illness, injury, or endangerment.
(m) “Noncommercial motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles that is not included within the definition in subdivision (b).
(n) “Nonresident commercial driver’s license” means a commercial driver’s license issued to an individual by a state under one of the following provisions:
(1) The individual is domiciled in a foreign country.
(2) The individual is domiciled in another state.
(o) “Schoolbus” is a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in
(p) “Serious traffic violation” includes any of the following:
(1) Excessive speeding, as defined pursuant to the federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act (P.L. 99-570) involving any single offense for any speed of 15 miles an hour or more above the posted speed limit.
(2) Reckless driving, as defined pursuant to the federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act (P.L. 99-570), and driving in the manner described under Section 2800.1, 2800.2, or 2800.3, including, but not limited to, the offense of driving a commercial motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
(3) A violation of a state or local law involving the safe operation of a motor vehicle, arising in connection with a fatal traffic accident.
(4) A similar violation of a state or local law involving the safe operation of a motor vehicle, as defined pursuant to the Commercial
Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Title XII of P.L. 99-570).
(5) Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver’s license.
(6) Driving a commercial motor vehicle without the driver having in his or her possession a commercial driver’s license, unless the driver provides proof at the subsequent court appearance that he or she held a valid commercial driver’s license on the date of the violation.
(7) Driving a commercial motor vehicle when the driver has not met the minimum testing standards for that vehicle as to the class or type of cargo the vehicle is carrying.
(8) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communication device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, as defined in Section 23123.5. In the absence of a federal definition, existing definitions under this code shall apply.
(q) “State” means a state of the United States or the District of Columbia.
(r) “Tank vehicle” means a commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous material within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of at least 1,000 gallons that is permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis, including, but not limited to, cargo tanks and portable tanks, as defined in Part 171 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. A commercial motor vehicle transporting an empty storage container tank not designed for transportation, with a rated capacity of at least 1,000 gallons that is temporarily attached to a flatbed trailer, is not a tank vehicle.”
You Risk Loss of Both Licenses
You can be charged with a DUI even if you refuse blood alcohol testing, but your refusal can also result in loss of your commercial license and regular passenger license if your BAC was 0.08%. The circumstances under which you can lose both your commercial and regular license include:
Your BAC was 0.04% when driving a commercial vehicle
You were driving a commercial or passenger vehicle with a BAC of 0.08%
You were driving a passenger or commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
You refused chemical or BAC testing of your breath or blood
Your Ontario DUI Attorney Group lawyer will defend you regarding any of these circumstances.
As noted, if you meet any of these conditions, you can automatically lose your commercial driver’s license for one year. Should you be convicted of DUI again, you will lose your commercial license for life. For any DUI conviction or loss of your commercial license, you are required to notify your employer within 30 days or either, regardless of what kind of vehicle you were driving. You are not allowed to drive during the period of your suspension.
You risk suspension of your regular driver’s license as well under any of these scenarios. It is subject to the same suspension period as any other driver, which for a first offense is 6 to 10-months. You are entitled to an Administrative Per Se Hearing or APS, which outcome can affect your continuing employment as a commercial operator but you must request the hearing within 10 days of being issued a temporary license by the officer or you waive it.
Consult with an attorney from the Ontario DUI Attorney Group see what we can do to assist you.
Commercial DUI Penalties
A commercial driver convicted of a first time DUI faces the following penalties, many of which are similar to those for a noncommercial driver:
Fine of $390 up to $1000
Potential jail time of 48 hours and up to one year in county jail, or community service in lieu of jail time
3-months up to 36-months participation in a DUI class or program
Loss of commercial license for one year with no restricted license
Loss of noncommercial driver’s license for 6 to 10 months with no restricted license
Inform employer of suspended license within 30 days
A second DUI conviction results in a lifetime suspension of your commercial driver’s license.
Defenses to Commercial DUI
The defenses to a commercial DUI are the same as for any other DUI except that the BAC level to challenge is 0.04% rather than the standard 0.08%. Any defenses that your Ontario DUI Attorney Group lawyer may raise will be explained to you and may include any number of the following:
You had a medical condition such as acid reflux disease affected the breath or blood test
The technician/officer failed to follow guidelines in servicing or maintaining the breath device
The officer failed to read you Miranda rights
The officer coerced you into making incriminating statements and in submitting to a BAC test
The technician lacked certification to administer the breath device or to extract a blood sample
Testing procedures were not followed according to regulations
The blood sample was tainted from failure to follow protocol and document the chain of evidence in preserving it
Police lacked probable cause to stop, detain or arrest you
You had a reasonable excuse in refusing to take the BAC test
Your BAC was less than 0.04% at the time you were driving
Regarding any statements you made or those made the officer, many police cars have cameras and microphones attached to the cars and officers may have similar devices on them as well. These can give an accurate record of whether the officer followed proper protocol as well as observing your own conduct and provide powerful evidence of your innocence.
Commercial operators face more severe obstacles when charged with DUI. Immediately contact an attorney from the Ontario DUI Attorney Group if you have a commercial license and are charged with a DUI.