As a commercial driver in Florida, facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges can have a dramatic effect on the future of your career. Due to your position, you are scrutinized as a driver much more than the average road user. Even though every single driver has a duty of care when they get behind the wheel, you most likely, represent a business and may transport heavy or dangerous materials in a vehicle that is usually much larger and dangerous than a normal car.
In Sarasota, FL, if you cause an accident due to being under the influence, the statistics show that you have a much higher chance of causing serious damage and causing injuries. This potential to cause injury and damage is why Sarasota County takes DUI’s as a commercial driver so seriously. As a commercial driver in Florida, you will be classed as driving under the influence of having a lower blood alcohol content, then if you were a pedestrian. A DUI conviction could potentially lose you your driver’s license and take away your livelihood.
The Law Place has over 75 years of combined experience of fighting on both sides of the courtroom. Your defense attorney will have experience dealing with cases just like yours and offer skilled and knowledgable DUI defense. Call us today on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation.
When Commercial Drivers Can Be Arrested for a DUI
Under Florida Statute 316.193, you are seen to be guilty of driving under the influence for the following reasons:
- You are under the influence of any impairing substance so much that you cannot act under your normal ability.
- You failed a field sobriety test.
- You test for a higher blood alcohol content of .08 %.
The rules change for commercial drivers. The first point still remains. If an officer has evidence that you are impaired while driving, it does not matter what your BAC is. If you slur your words or show clumsy movements, or if officers can see physical evidence like empty bottles or cans, this is grounds to test you.
The main difference is that as commercial drivers, the limit for alcohol is 0.4% instead of 0.8%. This means you only need half the alcohol in your system that it would take to convict a normal driver in a personal vehicle.
What Happens If I Refuse to Take a Blood or Breath Test?
By obtaining a commercial vehicle license in the state of Florida, you agree that by law, that you will consent to have a blood or breath alcohol test if you are pulled over. If you refuse to take these tests, you will automatically lose your license and will not be allowed to drive any commercial vehicle for at least one year.
You are eligible for a hearing if you request it within ten days of the arrest. This hearing does not have any effect on any criminal charges you are facing merely the automatic civil license suspension.
If your license is still revoked, you may have the chance to obtain a hardship license. This license only covers you for personal driving, and your commercial license will still be revoked. To apply for this, you need to be able to prove that you need to drive to and from a place of work.
What Are the Consequences of a DUI Conviction for CDL Holders?
Being convicted of a DUI for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol will result in a minimum of a one year ban from commercial vehicle driving. You will be able to apply for your commercial driver’s license after that period has elapsed. If you were carrying hazardous or dangerous materials, you might lose your commercial driver’s license for three years. Florida does offer a hardship license, but it does not cover commercial driving.
You may also face the following statutory consequences for a DUI in Sarasota. If you are found with a BAC under 0.14% you could get:
- A fine ranging from $500-1000.
- Community service for up to 50 hours.
- Jail time up to 6 months.
- Probation for up to a year.
- Required to take a drug and alcohol management course.
- Permenent criminal record.
What Are the Consequences of Repeat DUI Conviction for CDL Holders?
If you manage to reinstate your license and then go on to receive another alcohol-related DUI, you will have a permanent disqualification of your commercial driver’s license (CDL).
The importance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer for your DUI case becomes much higher when it is your second offense. You will need a lawyer to fight your case on your second offense as you will be shown no leniency for a second offense. When you have been charged with a DUI twice, you will find it incredibly hard to fight it without a criminal defense lawyer with years of experience in dealing with driving charges and DUI charge cases in Florida.
Contact The Law Place Today!
If you have been arrested on DUI charges, the best thing you can possibly do is seek a skilled, reputable attorney to fight your case. Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with both sides of DUI charge cases. We have dealt with hundreds of cases across the state of Florida and its complex laws.
Don’t let one mistake ruin your life. Get help from The Law Place today by calling (941) 444-4444.