DUI and Commercial Driving Explained
Drunk driving is a misdemeanor or a felony according to the seriousness of the offense. Typically, most drivers who have committed driving DUI will only be cited for a misdemeanor if it is their first offense, while it will become a felony if they have repeated driving under the influence charges within seven years of their first offense, or having committed vehicular manslaughter because of their impaired driving. Of course, that’s only the case for non-commercial drivers.
If driving is part of an individual’s duties because of their occupation, they are required to adhere to stricter DUI laws compared to non-commercial drivers. It’s required since driving might be what their profession is all about and their vehicles are often bigger, heavier and of course, dangerous to other drivers, pedestrians and the surroundings. This is why acquiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is more difficult compared to a non-commercial license.
So, what makes owning a commercial license different from a normal one? Depending on the position, employers cannot legally employ drivers without a commercial license because of The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Most forms of employment that requires driving large, heavy and/or special vehicle also require more training and professionalism, indicating the need for a separate license for these drivers.
What vehicles are classified as a commercial vehicle?
A person will need a commercial license if the vehicle falls under one of the following classes. Depending on the state, they may require a CDL based on the occupation involved.
Class A Truck
Any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds (11,793 kg) provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds (4536 kg).
Class B Truck
Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds (11,793 kg), or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds (4536 kg) GVWR.
Class C Truck
Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is placarded for hazardous materials.
Committing DUI with a commercial driver’s license
Since commercial drivers often move heavy cargo over long distances or provide transportation for people, drinking on the job will of course make it dangerous for everyone in the road. There are much more severe restrictions for these drivers, especially if it concerns DUI.
Commercial drivers have a lower BAC limit than regular drivers, with regular drivers permitted to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 while commercial drivers only a BAC of 0.04. If the police suspects the driver because they are driving erratically even if their BAC is less than the limit, they may be issued a 24-hour order to stay off the road for their safety, and others.
If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence with a commercial license, they may be revoked or suspended. You will need the services of a Las Vegas DUI lawyer in order to have the best chance in avoiding harsh penalties and losing your license.
For more information about DUI, click here.