If you are a commercial driver, you need to be aware that you are not allowed to operate your commercial vehicle after having consumed even a small amount of alcohol at all. You are also going to be at risk of losing your commercial driver's license if you get a DUI charge, even in your personal car on your off-time. Not only that, but companies will be very reluctant to hire you if you have a DUI on your record. For all of these reasons, a DUI will likely end you career as a commercial driver.
You worked too hard to get your commercial license and develop your professional skills to lose the chance to make your living as a professional driver just because police accuse you of driving under the influence. You should consult with an experienced DUI defense lawyer right away to fight charges against you and try to avoid a conviction that could cost you your career.
Federal and state laws dictate what can happen to your commercial license if you are driving while impaired or if you are suspected of driving drunk and refuse to take a blood alcohol concentration test when there is probable cause of intoxication.
The possible consequences for your license are going to depend upon your specific actions. For example:
- According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Section 383.51, a first-time conviction for refusing to take a blood alcohol concentration test (BAC) either in your own car or in a commercial vehicle can result in your license being suspended for a year.
- A second conviction for refusing to take a test could result in a permanent evocation of your license, as could a second DUI conviction for driving under the influence.
- If you were transporting hazardous material and you were caught driving under the influence of alcohol, you could lose your commercial license for three years.
You should talk with an attorney to find out the specifics of the penalties that you are facing. You should also be aware that under Alabama law, your commercial license can be suspended if you have a blood alcohol concentration of .04 while operating certain commercial motor vehicles including passenger vehicles with room for 16 or more passengers; trucks with a gross combination weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more; trucks used to transport HAZMAT materials; and trucks that have a tow unit with a gross vehicle weight rating above 10,000 pounds.
If you are convicted of these DUI offenses, there is nothing that you can do to save your license. The suspension or revocation is automatic by law. As a result, the time to fight the charges is when you are investigated or when a prosecutor brings charges against you. An experienced DUI attorney can help you to try to do everything you can to avoid conviction so your ability to earn a living isn't jeopardized.