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Attorney for "Commercial" DUI in Tallahassee, FL

Although any DUI charge comes with serious criminal penalties, a DUI by a CDL driver or a DUI in a commercial vehicle comes with additional penalties. A DUI defense attorney can help you fight to keep your job.

When the holder of a commercial driver license (CDL) gets arrested for a DUI or other alcohol-related or drug-related offense, certain immediate consequences can occur. It is important to know your rights and how you can work to protect yourself from penalties. A commercial DUI attorney at Pumphrey Law can help.

The attorneys at Pumphrey Law have years of experience defending clients facing DUI charges, including those who are operating commercial vehicles. We understand that maintaining your driving privileges and CDL license is important. We want to help you continue in your chosen profession. The dedicated attorneys at Pumphrey Law will work to get the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact an attorney experienced in representing drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (the “CDL holder”). The attorneys at Pumphrey Law represent clients in Tallahassee in Leon County and throughout the Big Bend region of North Florida including Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Monticello in Jefferson County, Quincy in Gadsden County and Bristol in Liberty County. Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Information Center for Commercial DUI Charges

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Definition of a Commercial Vehicle

People often associate commercial vehicles only with 18-wheelers. However, the term “commercial vehicle” can include a variety of different motor vehicles. Under Florida law, any of the following types of vehicle driven on the streets of highway of this state could qualify as a commercial vehicle:

  • Vehicles with a declared maximum weight for purposes of registration when loaded of more than 26,000 pounds, as defined in Florida Statutes Annotated § 320.
  • Vehicles with a “gross vehicle weight rating” of more than 26,000 pounds, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 322.01(22)
  • Vehicles with a combined weight including the weight of the load as figured by the fixed scale operated by a portable scale operated by any law enforcement officer or a fixed scale operated by the state
  • Vehicles designed to transport a driver and more than 14 passengers
  • Vehicle that must be placarded in order to transport hazardous materials

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Commercial DUI Under Florida Law

In Florida, it is against the law for a commercial driver to be driving or in actual physical control of his or her commercial vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to Florida Statutes Annotated §322.62. Any person who violates this is guilty of a moving violation.

A person can be charged with a commercial vehicle driving under the influence if he or she is found to have a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of .04 or more at the time of arrest, according to Florida Statute Annotated §322.62(b). This is significant because it is half the legal limit of a driver in a personal automobile.

Florida is an implied consent state, meaning when a person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle in the Sunshine State, he or she consents to a chemical test if arrested for a DUI. This also applies to commercial vehicle drivers, even if they are not registered in Florida.

This implied consent law allows law enforcement officers to request the driver submit to a chemical test if he or she has reason to believe the driver is impaired. The officer can request a breath test to gauge the driver’s BAC if the officer suspects alcohol use. An officer also could request a DUI urine test or a DUI blood test if he or she suspects drug impairment.

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Penalties for Commercial DUI in Florida

Some of the most serious consequences for a commercial DUI are related to your job. If you are arrested for being under the influence while operating a commercial vehicle, you automatically are required to adhere to a 24-hour out-of-service period. This means you cannot operate your vehicle, which could have repercussions with your employer.

The potential sentencing for a driver who has been convicted of a commercial DUI comes with up to six months in jail, fines of up to $500 or both. This also can include an administrative license suspension for up to 18 months and a ban from operating a commercial vehicle for one year.

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Alcohol-Related Disqualifications for Commercial Motor Vehicles

Florida Statute Section 322.61 provides for certain disqualifications of a commercial driver license (CDL) after an alcohol-related arrest or conviction. A one-year disqualification applies to any of the following circumstances:

  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .04 or above
  • Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Refusing to submit to a chemical test to determine the alcohol concentration while operating or in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle while in possession of a controlled substance

After an arrest or conviction for any above mentioned situations, the driver will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of one year. Additionally, other provisions of Florida Statute Section 316.193 apply after a DUI conviction.

Second or subsequent arrests or convictions for the above-referenced situations can result in a permanent disqualification from driving a commercial motor vehicle. Furthermore, Florida law does not provide for any hardship, business purpose only, or employment purpose only driver’s license to operate a commercial motor vehicle. The disqualification acts as a ban on driving a commercial vehicle for any reason during the entire period of disqualification.

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Finding a DUI Attorney for a CDL Driver in Tallahassee, FL

Commercial drivers who are arrested for DUI or other alcohol-related or drug-related offenses should contact a Tallahassee DUI attorney at Pumphrey Law to find out how to best protect their commercial driver’s license.

Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free case evaluation.

This article was last updated on Friday, September 9, 2016.

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