Florida DUI Defense Laws for Commercial Drivers

DUI Defense

A DUI defense in Florida is important for anyone, especially if, like most people, you need to drive to get to your job. But the prospect of losing your license is even worse when driving is your job. When you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you must be extra careful to maintain a clean driving record. The law comes down much harder on drunk driving for those with a commercial driver’s license. The standards are more strict for CDL drivers, and the penalties can be more severe.

The stakes are high because a commercial DUI threatens your livelihood. But the threshold for commercial DUI charges is low, so it’s best to protect your rights by talking with an experienced and aggressive Orlando CDL DUI Defense Attorney. Get a FREE CONSULTATION with a criminal defense attorney at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644-2466 now.

DUI Defense for Commercial Drivers

For the most part, drunk driving laws in Florida are the same as in every other state because the federal government sets the standards. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSA) takes a very hard line against CDL drunk driving. You’re not even allowed to have any alcohol with you in the cab of a truck:

“Drivers are forbidden to consume or be under the influence of alcohol (as defined in 49 CFR 382.107) within four hours of going on duty or operating a CMV (49 CFR 392.5). Drivers are forbidden to use alcohol, be under the influence of alcohol, or have any measured alcohol concentration, while on duty, operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle. Alcohol can only be transported as part of a shipment.”

Florida, in fact, has a Zero Tolerance policy on CDL drinking and driving. According to Florida Statute 322.62, “A person who has any alcohol in his or her body” while driving a commercial vehicle is subject at the very least a moving violation traffic ticket with fines and court costs. Having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .04 percent – half the legal limit for non-commercial drivers – gets you a DUI arrest and a one-year suspension of your commercial driver’s license. (For many drivers, one beer could be enough to do it.) 

Under Florida commercial drunk driving laws, the arrest itself is enough to trigger the automatic suspension of your regular driver’s license for at least 6 months, or possibly more depending upon the facts and circumstances regarding your case. In addition to the suspension of your regular driver’s license, under Florida CDL drunk driving laws, the arrest itself is enough to trigger the disqualification of your CDL, even if you were not operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time of your arrest.

Refusing to take a drug or alcohol test will also get your license suspended for a year. A conviction for a Florida commercial DUI when transporting hazardous materials comes with a three-year CDL suspension. Higher BAC levels, greater degrees of intoxication, and other aggravating circumstances carry potential jail or even prison terms. And these are just the potential criminal penalties. 

Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles impose its own severe administrative penalties. With a Florida commercial DUI, you can’t get a hardship license. There are fines, fees, and mandatory driver education courses.

Commercial CDL DUI Defense

While the outlook can be grim for a CDL holder after a DUI arrest, there can be hope with an aggressive attorney who knows how to take full advantage of laws meant to protect the rights of the accused. Along with the harsh penalties the law dishes out, there are also rules and procedures designed to make sure a defendant has the opportunity to fight the charges. 

The path to the best outcome is generally with a lawyer who knows the law and how to hold police and prosecutors accountable. A good attorney will investigate whether the police cut corners, acted without probable cause, or denied due process during the arrest or evidence handling. With an attorney who’s a real fighter by your side, it may be possible to get the charges reduced so you can keep your CDL after a DUI. While there are no guarantees, it may even be possible, under certain conditions, to get the case thrown out altogether. 

The best chance for the best possible outcome is to contact a knowledgeable and skilled DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. For a free consultation with an Orlando CDL Defense Attorney at the Rivas Law Firm, call 407-644-2466 now.