Commercial Driver’s License Laws

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 What Is a Commercial Driver's License?

Certain motor vehicles can only be operated by people with Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL). Usually, these consist of commercial vehicles with a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds, such as:

  • Tractor-trailers (“big rigs”)
  • Tow-trucks
  • Buses
  • Transports of hazardous materials

A commercial driver’s license can be obtained from a nearby Department of Motor Vehicles in much the same way as a non-commercial license (DMV). The candidate must submit documentation of their training with an accredited organization in addition to taking a series of exams. Depending on the weight and intended use of the vehicle, commercial driver’s licenses are further classified into various categories.

What is an 18-Wheeler?

A common type of commercial vehicle that many motorists are accustomed to seeing on the roads is an 18-wheeler. It has a trailer attached to a tractor, hence the name, and often has 18 wheels.

Big rigs, semi trucks, and tractor-trailers are other names for these larger automobiles. Without the cargo, the average weight of these vehicles is about 35,000 pounds.

The 18-wheeler can transport up to 8,000 pounds when loaded. As a comparison, the typical car weighs only 5,000 pounds. In other terms, a conventional vehicle weighs 16 times less than an 18-wheeler.

Even while moving at the speed limit, these cars are significantly harder to control and stop. They also need larger stopping distances.

This illustrates why people need special licenses to drive these kinds of cars since they demand different skills than a regular card. Additionally, if the driver is drunk, the results could be disastrous for both the truck driver and other drivers on the road.

Are People Who Drive for a Living Held to a Different Set of Rules than Other Drivers on the Road?

It is true that people with CDLs are expected to behave more responsibly and face harsher consequences if they break the law. This is due to the fact that driving a business vehicle typically takes more expertise and caution than driving a regular car.

If a CDL holder violates the law, they may suffer the following penalties:

  • The number of points on one’s driving record increases (often by half a point)
  • There is no traffic school accessible to remove violations from a driving record.
  • A misdemeanor charge may be added to some offenses (Fines and/or jail terms of less than a year are possible penalties for misdemeanors).

Additionally, violating CDL rules can result in the suspension or complete seizure of a driver’s license, which could result in the commercial driver losing their job.

What Does Drunk Driving Mean in the United States?

Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is prohibited by law in every state in the United States. Each state has a 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for regular, non-commercial cars.

Driving under the influence is referred to as DUI. Every state in the US has its own version of a DUI law that makes it illegal for anyone to operate a car while inebriated or under the influence of something that is known to impair one’s motor skills.

There are other states that categorize DUIs using various substances differently, including:

  • Alcohol;
  • Substances of abuse; or
  • Drugs available without a prescription.

Additionally, several states permit drunk driving on other kinds of vehicles, including:

  • Bicycles;
  • Scooters, or
  • A golf cart

The following names may also be used to refer to the DUI offense:

  • Driving while intoxicated, or DWI;
  • OUI, or operating while intoxicated; and
  • Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI)

What is the Commercial Vehicle Blood Alcohol Content Limit?

The legal blood alcohol limit for a licensed commercial driver is often substantially lower. A driver in California, for instance, is only allowed to have a BAC of 0.04% while operating a commercial vehicle, which is.04%. The majority of other states’ statutes are comparable to this one.

What Effect Do DUI Charges Have on a Commercial License?

The majority of states have stricter laws against drunk driving (DUI) and set lower blood alcohol limits for business drivers. For instance, the legal limit for commercial drivers operating a commercial vehicle is typically.04% blood alcohol.

A driver with a business license faces harsh repercussions if they are found guilty of DUI, which is a serious offense. A year’s license suspension for the commercial license might be one of the punishments in addition to DUI fines and costs. If you are convicted again, your driving rights may be completely suspended or suspended for a longer length of time.

The consequences for a CDL holder who refuses to take a chemical test after being arrested for DUI could be substantially worse. Multiple or repeated convictions are dealt with very harshly, and they may even result in felony charges.

What Happens Next Following an Arrest?

California immediately suspends a driver’s administrative license after a DUI arrest while operating a commercial vehicle. This suspension is in effect for at least the duration of the trial.

The defendant’s CDL driver’s commercial driver’s license is reinstated if they are found not guilty of drinking and driving. The person’s commercial driver’s license can be suspended for longer if they are found guilty of drunk driving.

What are the Consequences of a DUI in a Commercial Vehicle?

In almost every other state in the country, driving under the influence while operating a commercial vehicle results in an administrative license suspension. A commercial driver who is found guilty of DUI might anticipate a minimum one-year license suspension. This time frame might be extended if they were transporting a dangerous drug.

For those found guilty of multiple violations, the majority of states also impose penalties and increase the potential of jail. For the first offense, fines might reach $1,000 in most cases.

Can a Commercial Driver’s License That Has Been Suspended Be Reinstated?

Normally, if someone is found guilty of operating a commercial vehicle while intoxicated, their license will be suspended immediately and will be suspended during the trial. Their license can typically be reinstated if they are not found guilty. In some states, the person must file a formal request for reinstatement before their license is promptly reinstated.

If the commercial driver has previously been convicted of DUI-related crimes, they will probably need to wait until their license suspension is over before they may reapply. This often entails paying a fee and sitting for all necessary tests again at the DMV.

Do I Need an Attorney?

Commercial driving privilege violations are quite serious and can result in criminal charges being filed against the offender. It’s critical that you speak with a traffic violation lawyer right away if you’re involved in any sort of disagreement regarding your ability to drive for hire.

They will be able to assist you in gathering all relevant paperwork and proof for your defense. Depending on the specifics of the offense, a DUI lawyer may occasionally be able to obtain reduced or dropped charges.

You should speak with a lawyer right away if you have any problems with your license to drive a business vehicle. Depending on the specifics of your case and the available evidence, a lawyer might be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed in some instances.

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