What Are the Potential Penalties for a Commercial DUI?
Attorneys from the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center offer the following guide: “What Are the Potential Penalties for a Commercial DUI?” Call for more info!
Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
january 26. 2023.
Commercial DUI in Missouri
Driving under the influence of substances like drugs or alcohol is a serious crime with severe penalties in most states, including Missouri.
But what if you are driving commercial vehicles? The penalties may be even harsher if you operate a commercial vehicle and get caught drunk driving. You need to be aware of the potential penalties for violating DUI laws in a commercial vehicle.
What Is a Commercial DUI?
If a law enforcement officer stops a commercial driver with a commercial driver’s license and finds them under the influence of alcohol, the driver will be charged with a commercial DUI.
Conviction on DUI charges is a serious offense that can carry severe penalties. The laws for commercial DUI vary from state to state, but in Missouri, the legal limit for alcohol is 0.08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) percent for regular vehicles. Commercial vehicle drivers will be charged with DUI if their BAC is 0.04 percent or higher.
The BAC limit is lower than the legal limit for non-commercial drivers because a truck driver operates much larger vehicles with a heavier gross vehicle weight rating than a personal vehicle.
What Is a Commercial Vehicle?
A commercial vehicle is used for business purposes, such as transporting goods or passengers for hire. Commercial vehicles include smaller commercial vehicles like taxis, delivery vans, and box trucks. Large commercial vehicles include agricultural vehicles, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other large commercial vehicles like a school buses.
How Are Commercial Drivers Cited for Driving Under the Influence?
CDL drivers can be cited for driving under the influence based on their BAC percentage. Your BAC can be determined through a breathalyzer test, a blood alcohol test, or a urine test. If a commercial driver is found to have a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher, they can be charged with a commercial DUI.
Can a Commercial Driver Be Charged with DUI for Having Drugs in Their System?
Yes, a commercial driver can be charged with a DUI for having drugs in their system. The offense is generally termed as driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).
In Missouri, if a commercial driver is found to have any amount of a controlled substance in their system, they can be charged with a commercial DUI and suspension of their driver’s license. Controlled substances include both illegal drugs and prescription medications, so a truck driver with a commercial license faces harsher penalties in a commercial DUI case.
What Happens When a Commercial Driver Refuses the Chemical DUI Test?
If a commercial driver refuses the chemical test for a DUI, they can be charged with “ chemical test refusal.” The DUI refusal is a separate charge from the DUI and carries different criminal penalties. In Missouri, a first-time refusal can result in a driver’s license suspension for up to one year.
What Happens if You Are Caught Driving Under the Influence in a Commercial Vehicle?
If you’re caught by a police officer driving a commercial vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can face serious consequences. Depending on the circumstances, you may face criminal charges and penalties.
In addition, if truck drivers transporting hazardous substances are found to be the cause of catastrophic accidents under DUI convictions, they will face harsher penalties, such as losing their driving privileges and likely lengthy jail time.
Consequences of a DUI for a Commercial Driver
The consequences can be severe if truck drivers are convicted of a DUI in a commercial vehicle. Truck drivers may face fines, jail time, and suspension or the revocation of their driver’s license. They could also be required to complete a drug and alcohol awareness course. In addition, insurance rates may increase, and one may be fired by his or her employer.
Another possible consequence is you cannot drive my company car after a DWI. This restriction depends on the circumstances of your case, and you may have your commercial driver’s license suspended or revoked.
What Are the Penalties for Commercial DUI in Missouri?
In Missouri, the penalties for a commercial DUI can vary depending on the circumstances. If this is the first offense, you might spend up to six months in jail, pay a $1,000 fine and face license suspension for 30 days.
If it’s your second offense, you’ll likely spend up to one year in jail, have to pay a fine of up to $2,000, and face license suspension for up to 5 years in.
You may also face other penalties, such as the revocation of your commercial driver’s license.
Can You Get a CDL With a DUI?
It depends on the circumstances of your case. In some cases, you can obtain a restricted license. However, it is crucial to understand that the penalties for a commercial DUI can be severe, and driving while under the influence should be avoided.
Can I Get a Restricted License if I Have Been Convicted of a Missouri Commercial DUI?
Yes, you can get a limited license after a commercial DUI in Missouri. To qualify for a restricted license, you have to complete an approved substance abuse program, a driver’s education course, provide proof of financial responsibility, and pay all fines and court costs associated with the DUI.
It is important to note, however, that commercial vehicles are not included in this privilege.
How Long Will a DUI Conviction Stay on Your Record?
A DUI conviction remains on your criminal record for a minimum of five years. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, it may remain on your record for up to 10 years.
How Can I Fight CDL Charges in Missouri?
If you are facing CDL charges in Missouri, you may be able to fight the charges in court. Contact an experienced DUI attorney that can advise you on the most suitable strategy for your situation. Your attorney will review the evidence against you and help you to build a strong defense.
Driving a commercial vehicle when under the influence of drugs or alcohol substances is a serious offense with severe penalties. Understanding the laws regarding commercial DUI and the potential penalties is essential.
So, If you are facing charges, it is vital to contact an experienced Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center attorney who can help you build a strong defense and protect your rights.
If you have been drinking, use our "Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator"to estimate your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) before you drive, but please keep in mind that the information it provides is just an estimate and may not be inaccurate.
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