CDLs and DUIs
If you are a commercial driver such as a delivery driver, being convicted of a DUI introduces special considerations, even if you were driving off-duty and in your own vehicle. Not only can you lose your license, your job might be on the line as well. And commercial drivers can be held to a higher standard that non-commercial drivers when it comes to DUIs. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) legal threshold for driving in California (and all other states) is .08%. This means if you have a BAC level of .08% or higher while driving, you can be arrested for a DUI. This only applies to drivers in non-commercial vehicles. The BAC threshold is .04% for those in commercial vehicles, whether on or off-duty. Because of the high stakes, it is important that delivery drivers thoroughly understand the consequences of a DUI conviction so they can make educated decisions about how to handle their cases.
Most employers of commercial delivery drivers, such as UPS, FedEx, or freight companies, maintain policies on DUI convictions. You should check with your employer to determine what type of consequences you could face for a DUI conviction. Aside from what the California DMV will do and what criminal consequences you could face, expect to face some kind of adverse action from your employer. Now, not all employers may immediately terminate those convicted of a DUI, but many do. Some employers put their drivers on probation or take other disciplinary action against them for a DUI conviction, but might permit them to drive against once their license is reinstated. Because each employer will have a different policy, you need to check with your employer to better understand what is at stake.
If you are convicted of a DUI, you will also face adverse action from the criminal court as well as the California DMV. These are two separate proceedings. The California DMV, however, will be dealing exclusively with your driving privileges, the class of your license, and your driving record, and these are the issues that can a significant impact on your career as a delivery driver. The DMV will assign two negligent operator points on your personal and commercial driving record if you are convicted of a DUI off-duty. Unfortunately, you are not eligible to have these points withheld by attending traffic school. Drivers are not eligible for that benefit when convicted of drug or alcohol related traffic offenses. But you do have some options.
You have the right to request a DMV administration hearing at which you can challenge the DMV's decision to suspend your license. If you do not request a hearing, the DMV will automatically suspend your license. You will retain a temporary license for 30 days from the date of your arrest, after which point your suspension will go into effect. You only have ten days fro the date of you arrest in which to request a DMV hearing, so contact an attorney immediately after your arrest to make sure you request one in time. You should always request a DMV hearing. Doing so puts a stay on your suspension, so you have a chance to appear at the hearing before any final action is taken. This is an opportunity you should always take. An attorney can help you challenge the facts reviewed at the hearing. If you can successful refute one or more issues, such as whether the officer had probable cause to pull you over or whether you had a BAC level of .08%, the DMV might not suspend your license.
If you are a commercial driver such as a delivery driver, you should speak with an experienced California DUI defense attorney if you are facing DUI charges. Immediate action is vital to protecting your license and your job. An attorney can explain the consequences could face from the DMV as well as the penalties the criminal court may impose on you for a conviction. Your attorney can also request an administrative hearing with the DMV and help you challenge your license suspension at the hearing. Your next step is fighting your charges in the criminal court. If you prevail at both, your license will remain in effect. But trying to navigate these two separate processes alone is risky, especially for delivery drivers. If you need to stay on the road to make a living, you shouldn't take any risks. Consult with an attorney today to learn about your options.
Are you facing DUI charges? Visalia area DUI and driving crime defense attorney Christopher Martens can assist you with fighting your charges and help you achieve a favorable outcome. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.