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Commercial DUI in California

Because commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders operate large vehicles and transport important valuable cargo and goods, they are held to a higher standard compared to non-commercial drivers. This means that if a commercial driver is arrested for a DUI in California, they will face stricter penalties. 

If a commercial driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .04 percent, he/she can be charged with a DUI. For all other drivers, the legal limit is .08 percent. 

If a commercial driver is convicted of a DUI in California, his/her CDL will be disqualified for one year. Refusal to take a post-arrest chemical test will automatically result in a one-year CDL disqualification. 

If a commercial vehicle transports hazardous materials, then the disqualification period will last three years. A second DUI conviction carries lifetime CDL disqualification. 

Remember, a commercial driver can be subject to CDL suspension if he/she is arrested while driving his/her personal vehicle. But only if the driver’s BAC is at least .08 percent. 

The following are the additional penalties for a first commercial DUI offense in California: 

  • Jail term of up to six months 

  • Probation for up to five years 

  • Fines of up to $1,000 

  • DUI school for at least three months 

  • Non-commercial driver’s license suspension for at least one year 

Additionally, a commercial driver cannot obtain a restricted license to operate a commercial vehicle while his/her CDL is suspended. This type of license allows people to drive to and from certain locations (e.g., work, school, doctor’s appointments, etc.). 

Even after the CDL suspension is over, drivers may experience difficulties getting rehired because of their criminal record. Furthermore, insurance rates on commercial vehicles will increase after a DUI conviction. 

If you have been charged with a commercial DUI in Newport Beach or within Orange County, contact Corrigan Welbourn Stokke, APLC today at (949) 251-0330 to let our experienced legal team protect your rights, freedom, and future.