There are millions of cases in the United States of driving under the influence (DUI) every year. Getting a DUI under any circumstances is a serious offense that can have a huge impact on your life. However, commercial drivers can have even more serious punishments than other drivers. If you are a commercial driver, it is important to understand the severe penalties that come along with a DUI conviction.
Getting a DUI With a Commercial Driver’s License
The Arizona legal limit for most drivers is 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC). If a driver exceeds the limit, a police officer will make an arrest and there will be fines or other consequences for the driver, depending on how far above the limit they are. However, commercial drivers must meet a higher standard. Because they are professional drivers, the court expects them to be more professional and responsible. The legal limit for commercial drivers is 0.04 blood alcohol content, half of the usual blood alcohol content level.
Penalties For Commercial Driving DUI
The minimum penalty for getting a DUI with a commercial driver’s license is a one-year suspension of the commercial driver’s license. A one-year suspension applies whether you were driving a commercial vehicle or your personal vehicle. Additionally, the state will suspend your personal license for 30 to 90 days, depending on how far above the limit you were. You will also need to take classes and counseling, serve probation, serve a jail sentence, and various other punishments. If you ever drive while intoxicated again, the state will suspend your commercial license permanently. The state will suspend your commercial license even if your previous DUI occurred with a personal vehicle.
The state also may completely revoke your license if your actions were especially dangerous. Some of the reasons why the state may revoke your license include:
- You receive a felony conviction involving a vehicle
- You receive a conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- You give false information to the Arizona MVD or other officials
- You have two or more convictions of DUIs, reckless driving, or highway racing violations
If the state revokes your license, it is exponentially more difficult for you to regain the legal right to drive. The Arizona MVD will need to conduct a thorough investigation before it will reinstate your license.
Potential Defenses for a DUI
Many people believe it is nearly impossible for a defense attorney to make a difference in DUI cases. Because a breathalyzer or blood test offers scientific proof, it is impossible to refute. However, an experienced DUI defense attorney can make a difference in the outcome of the case.
One of the main defenses for a DUI is regarding the actions of the police officer. The law requires a police officer to have probable cause or reasonable suspicion before arresting someone for driving under the influence. Reasonable suspicion could manifest in cues such as swerving, jerky driving, slurred speech, difficulty supporting him or herself, or a variety of other indicators. Speeding is not enough of a reason on its own, as many speeding violations occur with completely sober drivers. To have probable cause, speeding must accompany another visual cue, such as trouble staying in a lane or driving off the road.
If a police officer pulls you over and arrests you without probable cause, a DUI defense attorney can help you. If he or she can prove the officer did not have probable cause, the court may give you a better plea bargain or dismiss the case completely. Though a DUI defense attorney will not be able to argue a blood alcohol content level reading, he or she can point out other issues with the case that may lessen or eliminate your penalties.