DUI in a Commercial Vehicle
With cargo that may include explosive liquids, expensive goods, or people, commercial vehicles have the potential to cause catastrophic roadway accidents. Due to the added danger that commercial vehicles pose to the safety of others, commercial vehicle drivers are held to high standards. These rules and regulations apply to anyone who uses a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a vehicle.
If you were charged with driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence, you will face severe criminal penalties. The DUI laws in Illinois are strict, and being convicted of this crime can lead to community services hours, huge fines, and even time spent behind bars. Additionally, the loss of your commercial license can threaten your career.
Chicago DUI lawyer Michael O’Meara may be able to guide your case to a successful resolution so that you can avoid these penalties. To find out how you can fight your DUI charges, call 312-909-0706 today for a free and confidential consultation.
Lower Blood Alcohol Limit and Possible Drug Tests
When it comes to driving while drunk, commercial vehicle drivers are held to higher standards than normal drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established several regulations to help keep commercial drivers in check. According to the FMCSA, the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for commercial vehicle operators is .04 percent. In Illinois, this is half the legal limit for non-commercial drivers. In addition, CDL drivers are not allowed to get on the road within four hours of having a drink.
Another measure that keeps commercial drivers in check is random drug tests. Truck and bus operators are often required to submit to these tests as a condition of employment, after a major accident, and whenever there is a reasonable suspicion. Those who employ commercial drivers often screen for alcohol, marijuana, heroin, LSD, cocaine, and many other controlled substances.
Harsher Consequences for CDL Holders
The license suspension period for a commercial driver with a DUI is typically longer than one that might be assigned to a non-commercial driver. In addition, a commercial driver who is faced with a violation other than a traffic ticket is required to notify their employer within 30 days. This is true even if the driver was operating their personal vehicle. Once a commercial driver has been convicted, their employer is required to suspend them for the duration of the suspension period.
Criminal penalties that you might face as a commercial driver convicted of first-time DUI include:
- A fine of up to $1,000
- Up to six months of incarceration
- Community service
- Drug and alcohol courses
As a commercial driver, a DUI can turn your life upside down. You will definitely get suspended and probably face termination at your job. It may be impossible for you to find another job as a commercial driver with a DUI on your criminal and driving records. If you want to go back to school and switch careers, you may find that your DUI is a significant roadblock. Some colleges may choose not to admit someone who has committed a DUI with a commercial license.
Let Michael O’Meara Protect your Rights
If you are facing DUI charges as a commercial vehicle operator, it is important to not give up. Obtaining skilled legal representation can make all the difference in securing your freedom and future. For example, an experienced attorney may be able to prove that your rights were violated at the time of your arrest. If the police lacked a reasonable suspicion to pull you over, or probable cause to arrest you, there’s a good chance your DUI charges might get dismissed even before the trial starts.
Chicago DUI attorney Michael O’Meara has helped many people move on with their lives. As a former prosecutor with over 20 years of experience in the criminal justice system, he can anticipate the strategy being used by the prosecution. At O’Meara Law, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and advocating on your behalf at every stage of the criminal justice process.
Call 312-909-0706 now to find out more about what defenses might be available in your case.