Commercial DUI in Virginia

Commercial DUI VAEveryone with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) knows they face more scrutiny than the average driver, especially when drinking and driving are involved.

CDL drivers in Virginia have a lower threshold for DUI when driving a commercial vehicle because of the inherent danger commercial vehicles present to everyone on the road.

Virginia law holds CDL drivers to a higher standard even when driving their cars.

Facing DUI charges as a CDL holder threatens your livelihood. Seeking legal representation from a knowledgeable and highly-skilled Virginia DUI lawyer could help keep you on the road and making a living.

A Virginia DUI defense attorney at Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law, PLC, will fight to help you keep your CDL.

CDL DUI Limit

The Code of Virginia § 46.2-341.24 is the state’s commercial vehicle DUI law. The law states a person violates the law if they do any of the following:

  • Operate a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% by weight;
  • Operate such a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both; or
  • Operate a commercial vehicle while having a certain concentration of specific drugs that are enumerated in the statute.

That part of the law is identical to the law everyone else has to follow.

However, CDL drivers must follow stricter laws to protect the public. That is why Virginia’s commercial motor vehicle DUI law contains a lesser included offense of driving with a BAC of 0.04%.

Additionally, Virginia law makes it a traffic infraction for CDL drivers to have any alcohol in their blood while driving a commercial vehicle.

Therefore, a law enforcement officer who suspects a person driving a commercial motor vehicle under the influence or suspects the driver has consumed alcohol can require the driver to take a portable breath test.

These test results are not admissible at trial.

However, the officer can use the results or chemical test refusal to charge the driver with a commercial motor vehicle DUI, driving with a BAC of 0.04% or more, or driving with a perceptible amount of alcohol in their blood.

Penalties for a Commercial DUI in Virginia

As with most crimes, the severity of the offense dictates the possible penalties.

Merely having a perceptible amount of alcohol in your blood when driving a commercial truck is a traffic offense only.

Driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC between 0.04% and 0.08% is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Class 3 misdemeanors in Virginia are non-jailable criminal offenses, and the maximum penalty is a $500 fine.

Driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.15% or under the influence is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The maximum penalty is one year in jail and a fine of $250 to $2,500.

Driving with a BAC between 0.15% and 0.20% carries a minimum mandatory jail term of five days, and driving with a BAC over 0.20% carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 days.

Commercial DUIs and License Loss

Facing jail time is a frightening experience. As a CDL holder, losing your license and your ability to make a living is equally terrifying.

A conviction for driving a commercial vehicle under the influence or with a BAC of 0.08% or greater automatically disqualifies you from operating a commercial motor vehicle—or any other vehicle—for one year.

Clearly, this can make it quite difficult for drivers to make a living during that time period.

Although you can take steps to reinstate your regular driver’s license before the year revocation ends, Virginia will not reinstate your CDL for an entire year.

And you have only one shot at restoring your CDL—a second DUI conviction disqualifies you for life.

Additionally, driving with a BAC of 0.04% or higher, or refusing a chemical test, also disqualifies you from operating a commercial vehicle for one year.

These rules apply to out-of-state DUI convictions as well.

What Can Happen if I Get a DUI with a CDL in My Personal Vehicle?

Even at times when you are not operating a commercial vehicle, drivers holding a CDL have a greater responsibility to obey traffic laws than the average driver.

Refusing a chemical test or a DUI conviction disqualifies you from driving a commercial vehicle for one year—even though you were driving your personal car when police pulled you over.

Do You Need Help with Your DUI Charges?

Contact a Virginia DUI defense lawyer from Andrew Flusche, Attorney at Law, by calling 540-318-5824.

We have the skill, knowledge, and experience to help you beat your DUI charge.

We focus on you and your needs to reduce stress and help you out of this challenging situation. Call us today for a free consultation.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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