As found in Florida statutes, driving under the influence of alcohol or an illegal controlled substance is against the law. If you or your loved ones are CDL drivers and are facing a CDL DUI conviction, it is vital that you contact a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.
These kinds of charges come with serious consequences. Many people use their CDL driving privileges as a way of making income from work each day. If you are charged with CDL DUI, you could have your CDL suspended or in the worst cases, even revoked. Penalties from this charge range from having to pay hefty fines, participation in substance abuse programs and potential jail time depending on the severity of your case.
Here at The Law Place, we have represented clients from all over the greater tampa bay area, including Pinellas county. Our team of lawyers have a combined 75 years experience in dealing with cases that are similar to yours.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call today to talk to a Tampa CDL DUI lawyer for your free consultation on (941)-444-4444.
What Is a DUI Offense Under Federal Law?
Under federal law, a DUI (driving under the influence) is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher or 0.04% or higher for a commercial driver. It is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol. If convicted of a DUI offense under federal law, the offender may face fines, jail time, and/or a suspension of their driver’s license.
A DUI may be because:
- The driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .08% or higher, they may be charged accordingly.
- If a commercial driver’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.04% or higher.
- For minors, any blood alcohol concentration over .02% can result in charges.
- If the driver’s conduct is impaired by chemical substances.
What Classifies As a Commercial Motor Vehicle?
In Florida, a commercial vehicle is any vehicle used for business purposes, including but not limited to, transporting goods or passengers for hire, transporting hazardous materials, or being used as a rental vehicle.
Commercial vehicles must be registered with the Department of Transportation and must meet specific safety requirements as outlined in the Florida Motor Vehicle Code. Commercial vehicles are typically classified as either class A, B, or C vehicles. Class A vehicles include trucks, buses, and tow trucks, while Class B vehicles include vans, pick-up trucks, and other vehicles used for transporting goods. Class C vehicles include taxicabs, limousines, and other vehicles used for transporting passengers.
Commercial vehicles must be insured and comply with pertinent state laws and regulations. In addition, they must display the appropriate decals, signs, and other markings to indicate their purpose. In some cases, commercial vehicles must also be equipped with certain safety and emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers, reflective triangles, and first-aid kits. In Florida, commercial vehicle operators must also obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in order to operate a commercial vehicle.
CDLs are issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles and require drivers to pass a written knowledge test and a driving test. Finally, commercial vehicles must pass an annual vehicle safety inspection in order to be legally operated on the roads in Florida. The inspection includes checking the brakes, tires, lights, and other components of the vehicle to ensure that they are in safe working condition.
What Happens If You Get a DUI with a CDL?
As stated before, a DUI arrest happens when a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is at 0.8% or more. The process for those with a commercial driver’s license is different. A DUI case for commercial motor vehicles happens when their BAC is 0.4%. or more over the legal limit. This takes into account body size, metabolism and sex of the person in question.
Under Florida law, it is illegal for a CDL holder to have any alcohol in their system when they are in actual physical control of the commercial vehicle. If you are found to have any alcohol in your system at the time, you may face a fine of up to $500.
How Long Is a CDL Holder Suspended After DUI Charge in Florida?
In Florida, a CDL holder can be suspended for up to one year after a DUI charge, depending on the severity and circumstances of the offense. The length of the suspension can range from 90 days to a full year. Depending on the circumstances, a driver may be able to have their license reinstated after a shorter period of time.
In addition, the CDL holder may be required to undergo a substance abuse evaluation, pay any applicable fines, and complete a court-approved rehabilitation program prior to having their license reinstated. In some cases, the driver may even face a felony charge for DUI, which can result in longer suspension times and even prison sentences. It is important for CDL holders to understand that a DUI charge can have serious implications for their driving privileges and career. Therefore, it is important to take all necessary precautions to avoid a DUI charge and to seek legal advice if charged.
Second DUI Conviction in Florida
In DUI cases, if it is a second conviction, it is unsurprising that the penalties you face will be more severe. The time between each offense will impact the severity of the consequences. If you operate a commercial motor vehicle and get a second DUI, it is likely that you will face a 10 day minimum jail sentence.
If you have been found guilty of a second DUI conviction in the state of Florida, you may face:
- A $2,000 fine.
- 9 imprisonment.
- One year of probation.
- 30 days of vehicle impoundment.
Can You Get a CDL with a DUI in Pinellas Park?
Getting a CDL with a DUI in Pinellas Park can be difficult. Depending on the severity of the DUI, the driver may have to wait a certain amount of time before they can even apply for a CDL. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, any driver convicted of a DUI will be disqualified for one year after the conviction.
If the driver has been convicted of two or more DUIs, then they will not be eligible for a CDL for three years after the last conviction. In addition to this waiting period, the driver must also meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for a CDL. They must have a valid driver’s license, complete a Florida Department of Transportation-approved pre-licensing education course, complete a skills test, and pass a written knowledge test.
The driver will also have to pay a fee and provide proof of financial responsibility, which includes having a valid insurance policy. In some cases, the driver may be able to apply for a hardship license, which would allow them to drive for business purposes only. However, this type of license is only available to drivers who have not been convicted of a DUI within the past five years and have not had their driver’s license suspended or revoked.
No matter the circumstances, it is important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding getting a CDL with a DUI in Pinellas Park before applying for one. Doing so can help ensure that the driver meets all of the necessary requirements and can get their CDL as soon as possible.
Refusing to Take a Breath or Blood Test in an Arrest for DUI
If CDL drivers are pulled over for a DUI charge, it is likely that you will have to submit a DUI test. This can be done through breath, blood or urine test. According to the law in Florida, all CDL holders consent to taking these tests automatically as part of their license and using the roads of the state. If you refuse DUI testing, you will face the consequences.
Anyone that decides they do not wish to take a blood alcohol test, either in a personal vehicle or a commercial vehicle, when pulled over by the police, will have an automatic suspension of their license. In these cases, you will need to act fast and obtain legal representation. An attorney will help you to schedule a hearing.
In these cases, you will have a time limit of 10 days to request said hearing and you must pay all of the associated fees.
If, as a result of this hearing, your license is still revoked, our attorneys will work hard to seek a hardship license, a special type of license that allows you to drive under certain conditions.
In order to obtain a hardship license, you will:
- Have to register for a Florida Advance Driver Improvement Course.
- Show strong evidence and present a compelling case that you need the license for work purposes.
Those charged with a DUI will only be granted a hardship license for certain purposes, meaning you will only be able to drive only to get to and from work, medical purposes, education or religious affiliations.
This is a lengthy and stressful process, one you shouldn’t have to go through alone. Your DUI criminal defense attorney will be able to guide you through every step of this legal process with an understanding of the Florida law system.
Contact The Law Place Today!
At The Law Place, we have defended countless clients facing DUI charges, both while in a personal vehicle and whilst driving a commercial truck. With this experience, we understand how anxious and scared you may be about the impending penalties.
We understand that honest people make honest mistakes, and we will work tirelessly to protect your license and your livelihood.
Our team is full of commercial vehicle DUI lawyers who have dealt with cases similar to yours and who will be able to act quickly. If you are facing CDL DUI charges, it is important that you seek legal assistance as soon as possible to avoid license suspension. The quicker you act, the more time your DUI lawyer has to build a strong defense for your case.
To speak to one of our DUI attorneys today and book a free case review, phone our offices now at (941)-444-4444. Our telephone lines are always open.