Michael A. Ferraro, Esq., P.C.
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How is impaired driving different for commercial drivers?

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2021 | DWI defense |

Anyone who gets behind the wheel after drinking could cause a crash and end up getting arrested. Police officers who notice erratic driving or who respond to a crash may suspect chemical impairment and request chemical testing. 

Any driver accused of drunk driving could face criminal charges and the temporary suspension of their license. However, if you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), the rules about drunk driving are even stricter. 

What are the main differences in drunk driving enforcement between those only licensed for passenger vehicles and those with a CDL?

What you do in your own vehicle will affect your professional license

Your eligibility for a CDL depends on your personal driving record, not just your professional one. Drivers who get cited for traffic infractions in their own vehicle can have that citation affect their eligibility for a commercial license. Impaired driving allegations can immediately make someone ineligible for commercial licensing, even if they weren’t in a commercial vehicle at the time of their arrest.

The standard for impairment is lower when you drive a commercial vehicle

A chemical breath test would have to return a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher for someone in a passenger vehicle to meet the “per se” (legal presumption) definition of too drunk to drive. However, the legal limit is much smaller for those driving a commercial vehicle. 

If you have a breath test that shows a BAC of 0.04% or higher, you could face arrest for that. Obviously, a drunk driving conviction that involved a commercial vehicle will end your eligibility for a CDL. 

Understanding the different rules for impaired driving with a commercial license can help you make better decisions or prepare to defend yourself against charges.