Representing Commercial Drivers Facing Drunk Driving Charges
Being charged with a DUI can be a daunting experience for any driver in Virginia, but for commercial drivers, the consequences of a DUI can be even more devastating. A single DUI charge could put their career and livelihood at risk.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a commercial DUI, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced CDL DUI lawyer as soon as possible. The legal team at The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC, is passionate about helping commercial drivers fight their DUI charges and protect their future. Contact the attorneys at The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC, by calling 703-688-9236.
When Is a Driver Considered to Be Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol in Virginia?
In Virginia, a driver is considered to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. If the driver is under 21, they can be convicted of a DUI if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.02%. Additionally, a driver may be considered under the influence if they are impaired due to the use of drugs or alcohol, even if their BAC is below the legal limit.
In Virginia, being impaired or under the influence means being under the effects of alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs, or a combination of these substances that causes a person to be unable to operate a motor vehicle safely. Signs of impairment may include changes in the individual’s speech (such as when a person’s speech is slurred due to alcohol), appearance (such as bloodshot eyes), muscular movement (such as being unable to stand up or walk in a straight line without stumbling) and overall behavior (such as making incoherent statements or presenting erratic driving behavior).
What Is Considered a DUI if You Are a CDL Holder in Virginia?
Commercial drivers are held to stricter standards, as they operate larger and heavier vehicles that could cause devastating accidents if not operated safely. For these reasons, the legal BAC for commercial drivers is 0.04%, meaning that if a commercial driver is found to have a BAC of 0.04% or higher, they may be charged with a DUI.
Commercial drivers may also be subject to additional restrictions and regulations and may face harsher punishments for DUI convictions. It is crucial for commercial drivers to seek the help of an attorney if facing DUI charges because a conviction may not only mean the loss of their license but may also affect their ability to continue their driving career.
What Are the Penalties for a Commercial Driver DUI in Virginia?
Penalties for a DUI for CDL holders in Virginia are typically more severe than for a non-commercial driver. If a commercial driver is found to have a BAC of 0.04% or higher, or if they are found to be impaired due to alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two, they may be charged with a DUI. If convicted of a DUI, a commercial driver could face a variety of penalties, including fines, license suspension or revocation, and even jail time in some cases.
Depending on the severity of the offense, fines can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Additionally, a conviction for a DUI may result in the suspension or revocation of the driver’s CDL, meaning that the driver would no longer be permitted to drive a commercial vehicle. Depending on the severity of the offense and the driver’s prior records, a DUI could also lead to up to one year of jail time and a misdemeanor conviction, especially if the driver’s BAC was at 0.08% or higher.
In addition to the legal penalties, a driver may also face administrative penalties, such as higher insurance rates and temporary or permanent disqualification. Additionally, a DUI conviction may remain on the driver’s record for up to 10 years, affecting their ability to find employment in the future.
What if I Was Charged for a DUI While Driving a Non-commercial Vehicle?
What may come as a surprise to many CDL holders is that the DUI laws for commercial drivers are applicable even if the driver is operating their own personal vehicle when charged with a DUI. For example, let’s suppose an individual who holds a commercial driver’s license is driving their car during their day off and is pulled over by law enforcement. The officer suspects that the driver may be intoxicated, and a breathalyzer exam confirms their BAC is 0.09%. Besides facing the consequences of a DUI as any other driver, that person may also be facing administrative penalties that could result in the loss or disqualification of their CDL.
In other words, if you are a CDL holder and drive commercial vehicles for a living, you can never be too careful, as any DUIs on your record could hurt your career and your ability to make a living. This is why working with a skilled DUI defense attorney is crucial for your case. If you are facing charges, an attorney can help you build a strong defense strategy by investigating the circumstances surrounding your arrest. For example, if you were pulled over by law enforcement, your attorney can question whether the traffic stop was legal and whether the officer had enough probable cause to conduct the stop.
Each case is different and may require a different defense strategy, but by reaching out to a skilled DUI defense law firm as soon as possible, you may increase your chances of getting a better outcome for your case. Contact The Law Office of Scott C. Nolan, PLLC, in Fairfax, VA, by calling 703-688-9236.