Commercial Drivers and DWI
Commercial drivers—people who drive for a living, and usually in big trucks—are in a special class when it comes to traffic laws and penalties. They are not treated like ordinary, noncommercial drivers. They are held to a higher standard, and the law is less forgiving if they are charged with a crime.
If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and have been charged drunk driving in Mississippi, you should seek out a Mississippi DUI lawyer right away. Your livelihood and your future may depend on it. Your lawyer can review the facts and come up with a defense that will help you.
There are numerous differences in the way commercial drivers are treated under Mississippi DUI laws. One is that, if you are driving a commercial vehicle and are suspected of being under the influence, the legal threshold is much lower. For non-commercial drivers it is .08% or more by weight volume of alcohol in the blood. But if you’re driving a commercial vehicle it’s just .04%.
Commercial drivers are also subject to Mississippi’s implied consent law. Any driver or operator of a motor vehicle has the right to refuse to be tested for determining alcohol concentration, but faces automatic penalties in a suspension of driving privileges. This is true for commercial drivers as well, but additionally the commercial vehicle the driver is operating will be taken out of service for 24 hours.
Penalties for commercial drivers
In addition to the penalties faced by non-commercial drivers who are convicted of DUI, such as fines and possible jail time, commercial drivers face significant restrictions or suspensions of their CDL. A first offense DUI carries a one-year disqualification of driving a commercial vehicle. This applies whether you were driving a commercial or non-commercial vehicle, and also if you refused to submit to a chemical test. So if you have a CDL, are driving your personal vehicle, and get convicted of DUI, you won’t be able to drive commercially for one year.
In some cases, like when hazardous materials are present, the suspension could be three years. For second offenses, the suspension is for life.
If you have a commercial driver’s license and have been charged with DUI in Mississippi, it’s a serious offense whether you were driving a commercial vehicle or your personal, non-commercial vehicle. While you may be able to apply for a non-commercial license, you’ll lose your CDL for a year if convicted. With consequences such as this you should talk to a Southaven DUI lawyer right away. Contact attorney Patrick Stegall so he can review your case and you can find out what options are available.