What CDL Drivers Should Do After a DUI Arrest
Commercial drivers provide us an essential service by keeping the flow of goods across this country moving. Unfortunately, one misstep could put their entire career on the line, something most of us don't have to worry about. A DUI conviction can wreak havoc on the life of a commercial driver. Even just a DUI arrest can put their CLD and thus their livelihood at risk. If you are a commercial driver and have been arrested for a DUI, here are five steps to help you navigate the road ahead.
- Find Out What Is at Stake
Not all commercial driving companies have the same standards. While one company may fire an employee just for a DUI arrest, others may place the driver on suspension until the case resolves. The stakes become more convoluted if you are self-employed or work as a contractor, which many commercial drivers do. Figure out what could happen to your career as soon as possible. This information will be helpful in the next step.
- Call a DUI Defense Attorney
Before you talk to anyone, talk with an attorney. An attorney can explain the laws pertaining to commercial drivers and DUIs and give you insight into what could happen with your case. In California, it is a crime to drive a commercial vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .04% or above. This is significantly lower than the legal threshold for those driving non-commercial vehicles, which is .08%. But whether you were driving a commercial vehicle or not at the time of your arrest, your CDL will be suspended for one year. You will lose your CDL for life if convicted of a second DUI. You will be ineligible to obtain a restricted license to drive a commercial vehicle during this period. This should give you reason enough to call a California DUI defense attorney immediately after a DUI arrest.
- Fight It!
If you are a commercial driver and have been arrested for a DUI, you should take action immediately to protect your license and your job. Do not plead guilty, even if your BAC was over the legal limit. A skilled attorney might be able to fight your charges and could potentially secure a dismissal or plea bargain. It is common for a DUI defense attorney to fight for a favorable plea bargain when representing commercial drivers. Reducing your DUI charge to another charge that would not disqualify your CDL may be possible, so speak with an attorney before you plead guilty.
- Request a Hearing
Request a DMV administrative hearing immediately. If you prevail at your hearing, the DMV will not suspend your California driver's license. It's crucial to take advantage of this opportunity.
- Notify Your Employer
You must notify your employer within 30 days of receiving a DUI conviction as per California law. Please note that certain employers may maintain stricter policies. You may need to inform your employer immediately after a DUI arrest. Also, upon conviction, the court will send a notification to the DMV and any licensing authority will be notified, which can then take action against your CDL. The bottom line is your employer will find out sooner or later. Fulfill your reporting obligations as an employee.
Call a DUI Defense Attorney if You're at Risk of Losing Your CDL
An attorney can help you understand the consequences you face and what you're up against. This isn't just your license at stake; it's your ability to earn a living. A highly experienced CDL defense attorney who has handled DUI cases can walk you through your options. You may have more at stake than a non-commercial driver, but your defense options are similar. BAC tests can be challenged. Your stop may have been unlawful. Whatever the circumstances of your offense, an attorney can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case and help you leverage them in your favor.
Are you a commercial driver and are facing DUI charges? Visalia area criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens can help you get the outcome you deserve so that you can protect your career. 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.