Commercial DUIs in California

Commercial DUI laws in California are stricter and carry harsher penalties. It’s important to understand these differences when you drive a passenger or freight vehicle.

Differences Between Commercial & Non-Commercial DUIs

California Vehicle Code 23152.(d)
It is unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by
weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor
vehicle…

Commercial DUIs in California are defined by a lower BAC requirement than regular DUIs. While the legal limit for a driver’s BAC is 0.08% normally, drivers in a commercial vehicle cannot have over a 0.04% BAC. Now, according to Vehicle Code Section 15210, a commercial vehicle is any vehicle that requires a class A or B license. Typically, these are:

  • A double trailer
  • A passenger transportation vehicle (typically vehicles designed to transport nine or more passengers)
  • A Bus (including school busses)
  • A tank vehicle (liquid and/or gas tanks, not the armored warfare kind)
  • A vehicle carrying hazardous materials

It’s important to remember the stricter rules for commercial DUIs when taking part in work celebrations. 0.04% is as little as two beers on a lunch break for a man weighing 150 pounds.

Commercial DUI Penalties

California Vehicle Code 15300(a)
A driver shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle for a period of one year if the driver is convicted of a first violation…

California Vehicle Code 15302
A driver shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle for the rest of his or her life if convicted of more than one violation…

The penalties are a little different for commercial drivers as well. For one, commercial DUI offenders aren’t eligible for a restricted driver’s license. For another, first time commercial DUI offenders have their licenses suspended for one year rather than six months. A second commercial DUI results in permanent commercial license revocation. There are no third chances with commercial DUIs. Two strikes is all commercial drivers get.

Drivers in certain counties, including Sacramento, are more likely to be required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. These devices force the driver to take an breath alcohol test before the car will start.

Of course, all the other penalties of a DUI are still there. Counseling and education may be required of the offender, at the offender’s expense of course. That isn’t even covering all the other fines, fees, and jail time that a DUI offender faces. When risking your job, freedom, and future, you can’t afford to not have skilled representation. Call Mark Sollitt if you need an experienced commercial DUI attorney. Things look brighter when you have the best defense.

Call my office at 1-800-420-5667. We can fight this together!

Sources:
BAC Calculator
California Vehicle Code Section 15210