The people who drive commercially for a living keep our nation strong. Without truckers, bus drivers, cabbies, couriers, and the others who work behind the wheel, the whole country would grind quickly to a halt. Thus, DUI laws are more rigorous for commercial drivers than for the rest of us. That’s why if you drive commercially and you face a DUI charge in southern California – now or in the future – you’ll need the help of an experienced California DUI defense attorney. Under California law, a “commercial driver” is someone who holds a commercial driver’s license that authorizes the operation of commercial vehicles. This includes any driver who carries a class A or class B driver’s license or a class C license that authorizes carrying hazardous materials. Several California DUI laws affect commercial drivers.

California’s legally-allowed blood alcohol content (BAC) level is lower for commercial drivers: 0.04 percent or higher, compared to 0.08 percent for noncommercial drivers. A commercial driver may not refuse to take a California chemical DUI (blood, breath, or urine) test. Enhanced penalties are enforced in California for commercial drivers who act negligently or violate some additional traffic law while driving under the influence.

If a commercial driver is convicted of a DUI in California, he or she will face essentially the same penalties as a noncommercial driver. The main distinction is what happens to the person’s driver’s license. A commercial driver convicted of a first DUI will be unable to drive a commercial vehicle for a year; if the infraction happened while the driver was operating a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials, the period is three years. If a commercial driver is convicted of a second DUI while driving any vehicle, the offender will be disqualified for life from driving commercial vehicles. That period may be reduced at a later time to ten years.

If you possess a commercial driver’s license in California, it’s probably part of how you earn a living, so you cannot afford a DUI conviction. If you are charged with DUI, an experienced DUI defense attorney will fight aggressively to defend you. A good DUI defense lawyer negotiates to reduce or dismiss the charge, finds a flaw in the prosecutor’s case, and works for the best possible resolution. If you face DUI charges in California, and you drive commercially, call an experienced DUI defense attorney right away.