Being charged with a commercial vehicle DUI is a life-changing and potentially career-ending event, and if you find yourself in such a position, your first phone call should be to a Miami-Dade County DUI defense attorney who has handled commercial vehicle DUI cases before. These cases are subject to different rules than standard DUIs in Florida, and the DUI penalties associated with operating a commercial vehicle while under the influence of any substance are often substantially more severe.
More Severe than a Standard DUI Infraction
A commercial vehicle DUI is treated differently than a standard drunk driving offense in the same way that a commercial vehicle is treated by different standards under all aspects of the law. In the same way that a commercial vehicle driver requires special licensing and training, the Florida DUI penalties for driving or operating a commercial vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance are more severe.
It’s also very likely that, as a commercial vehicle driver, you will lose your job if you are convicted of driving under the influence, so it’s vital that you select reliable legal representation early on in your case.
Definition of a Commercial Vehicle DUI
A commercial vehicle is defined as any vehicle that is used on streets or highways that has a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds, is designed to transport at least 15 people (including the driver), or transports dangerous or hazardous materials.
According to Florida laws, a driver will be charged with a commercial vehicle DUI if:
- The driver or operator of a commercial vehicle has a blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of .04;
- The driver or operator of a commercial vehicle is under the influence alcohol or any other controlled substance; and/or
- The driver or operator of a commercial vehicle refuses to submit to a chemical test (breathalyzer, blood test or urinalysis) that would determine his or her BAC.
Additionally, under another section of the Florida Statutes, any amount of alcohol in the body of a commercial vehicle operator is a traffic offense, no matter how small or how slight.
If, however, the driver’s blood alcohol content is above .04, then the prescribed Florida DUI penalties for such a violation include being disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle for a period of 1 year or permanently, depending on the offense. All of the other standard Florida DUI penalties also apply.
If you’ve been charged with a commercial vehicle DUI, don’t let your rights go unprotected. No matter the circumstances of your case, you are entitled to a fair trial, and the state has an obligation to provide evidence that shows you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Your attorney will hold the state to its obligation to meet that burden of proof and will strive to settle your case in such a way that the outcome has the least impact on your life under the law. Contact an attorney today and discuss your case with someone who can help.