Class C commercial drivers' licenses permit you to drive a wide range of heavy load, two and three axle vehicles as well as those carrying hazardous materials. Vital to our economy, these drivers help support many industries such as logistics, construction, and energy. If you have a class C commercial license, your very career depends on your ability to keep your license valid. If you're arrested for a DUI, however, that career can be put at stake. Let's take a look at DUI laws as they pertain to commercial drivers and what could happen if a class C license holder is arrested or convicted of a DUI.
Class C Licenses and DUIs
Class C licenses permit you to drive 2-axle vehicles with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs or less or a 3-axle vehicle with a GVWR of 6,000 lbs or less. And a class C commercial license permits you to drive vehicles containing hazardous materials.
Commercial license holders are held to very high standards. You will lose your commercial license for one year if you commit any of the following DUI-related offenses:
- Driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .04% or above
- Driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance
- Refusing to take a BAC test
Class C commercial license holders are held to even higher standards. If you commit any of the above offenses while operating a commercial vehicle containing hazardous materials, you will lose your class C commercial license for three years.
Facing DUI charges as a class C commercial license holder can be life-altering. Most drivers won't ruin their career with a DUI, but you could. It's vital you take quick action after being arrested for a DUI if you are a commercial driver of any kind. Your first step after an arrest should be to call an attorney and do so immediately. Next, you or your attorney should request a DMV administrative hearing, but you only have a short amount of time in which to do so. Your DMV hearing is an opportunity to challenge the legality of the license suspension, and you need all the opportunities you can get if you are a commercial driver.
Next, find out your company's policy on DUI arrests and convictions. It's better to know what is at stake before you appear in court. Your company may require you to notify them if you are arrested for a DUI, so it's better to be honest about your situation.
Then, you should work on building a defense. Work with a California DUI defense attorney with experience helping commercial drivers. Commercial driving laws operate at both the state and federal level. You need an attorney who is familiar with those laws and the common policies of commercial driving companies. Building a strong defense is possible, so don't give up hope without first speaking with an attorney.
You should also be aware of the other criminal offenses that can affect your license and hazmat endorsement. You can temporarily lose your endorsement if you have outstanding warrants or are convicted of such crimes as:
- Certain crimes involving the distribution of controlled substances
- Certain crimes involving firearms
These are just a few examples of the other criminal offenses that can affect your endorsement. You could also face criminal charges if you cause an accident while driving a vehicle carrying hazardous materials and could lose your endorsement.
A DUI can ruin your career if you don't act fast. If you've been arrested for a DUI and are a class C commercial driver, you need to speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney about your case. Your employer will be automatically notified if you get a DUI conviction, and you could lose your license and your job for good. Only a knowledgeable California DUI defense attorney can maximize your chance of saving your license and your job. An attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and work hard to fight your charges.
Facing a license suspension is stressful, but attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team can help. Experienced in driving crime and DUI defense, our Visalia area legal team can advocate on your behalf in court and aggressively fight your charges. Attorney Martens has over ten years experience in criminal defense working in Tulare, Fresno, and Kings County and won't be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.