The legal alcohol limit for commercial drivers in Nevada is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent. The limit is 0.08 percent for all other drivers over 21.
Commercial drivers must have a lower BAC than non-commercial drivers in Nevada to avoid facing the criminal charge of intoxicated driving. To determine whether a commercial driver is guilty of driving under the influence (DUI), the court looks at two criteria:
- Whether the person was operating a commercial vehicle; and
- If the person’s BAC matched or exceeded the legal limit for commercial drivers.
Likewise, if a commercial driver has a BAC of between 0.04% and 0.08% two hours after driving a commercial vehicle, they may be guilty of a commercial DUI.
A driver who operates a commercial vehicle and is under the influence of a controlled substance or a combination of drugs and alcohol may be guilty of a commercial DUI.
What Are Commercial Vehicles in Nevada?
Under Nevada law, a “commercial motor vehicle” is a car used in commerce to transport goods or people. In addition, the vehicle must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- It has a gross combination weight of 26,001 or more pounds, including a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds;
- It has a gross weight of 26,001 or more pounds;
- It is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver); or
- It is used to transport hazardous materials under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.
What Is the Penalty for a Commercial DUI in Nevada?
The penalty for a commercial DUI in Nevada depends on the applicable law and the circumstances, including the driver’s driving history.
In Nevada, the first offense of a commercial DUI is usually a misdemeanor. The penalty for a first offense of commercial DUI may include the following:
- Imprisonment in jail for not less than two days or not more than six months in county jail;
- Between 48 and 96 hours of community service;
- Imposing a fine of between $400 to $1,000;
- Revoking or suspending the person’s commercial or non-commercial driver’s license; or
- Ordering the person to complete substance use disorder treatment.
In addition, federal laws and Nevada law may require suspending a commercial license for impaired driving. A first conviction for commercial DUI in Nevada can also result in suspending the driver’s commercial license for one year or more. The suspension might last for three years if the incident took place when the driver was transporting hazardous materials.
The punishment for a second conviction of commercial DUI in Nevada within seven years may include the following:
- Imprisonment (or residential confinement) for a minimum of ten days to a maximum of six months;
- Imposing a fine of between $750 and $1,000 or a comparable amount of community service;
- Attending substance use disorder treatment; and
- Suspending or revoking the driver’s existing commercial or non-commercial driver’s license.
Nevada will charge anyone caught for a third DUI offense within seven years with a Category B felony. The punishment for conviction of a Category B felony may include the following:
- Imposing a sentence between 1 and 6 years in state prison;
- Fining the person between $2,000 to $5,000; and
- A three-year suspension of the person’s existing commercial or non-commercial license.
If the incident has occurred in a work zone or there are other aggravating factors, penalties can increase beyond those outlined above.
Can I Face Punishment If I Have a CDL and Drive My Car While Intoxicated?
Drivers with commercial driver’s licenses face severe penalties for driving commercial vehicles while intoxicated or impaired. In addition, they may face severe penalties for a DUI they get while driving in their cars.
If a commercial driver is driving their vehicle and has a BAC of .08 or higher, they may be disqualified from holding a commercial driver’s license for up to one year. A second violation may result in the driver’s lifetime disqualification from holding a commercial driver’s license. In some cases, they may be eligible to reapply once ten years pass from committing the major offense.
In addition to a license suspension, the holder of a commercial driver’s license whose BAC is over the legal limit can be charged with a misdemeanor DUI for a first or second offense. A third offense within seven years may result in conviction of a felony.
In addition to these consequences, the commercial driver faces the corresponding penalties under Nevada law for the violation. These may include jail time, fines of up to $5,000, community service, and mandatory substance use disorder treatment.
The penalties could significantly increase if the DUI occurred in a road work zone or other aggravating factors were present.
What Is the Punishment for a Commercial DUI with Injury or Death?
In Nevada, if a commercial driver causes a serious injury or death due to a DUI, they face a harsher penalty than they would incur if there is no injury or fatality. The state may charge a person with a category B felony if they commit a commercial DUI that involves either death or severe injury to a victim.
The punishment for a conviction of commercial DUI with death or injury may include the following:
- Imprisonment for a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 15 years in state prison;
- Payment of a fine ranging from $2,000 to $5,000;
- Mandatory participation in a substance use treatment program; and
- A driver’s license suspension of up to three years or more.
It is essential to remember that, under Nevada law, the first conviction for commercial DUI without injury or death typically results in a one-year suspension of the driver’s CDL. This would increase to 3 years if the arrest occurred while the driver was transporting hazardous materials.
For a second commercial DUI conviction, the driver will face the permanent revocation of his CDL, with the option of reapplying after ten years. Again, the second incident does not have to involve injury or death for this penalty to apply.
What Aggravating Factors Does the Court Consider?
In determining the appropriate sentence, the court may consider aggravating factors. These may include:
- If the impaired driver was transporting someone under 15 years old at the time of the offense;
- If the commercial driver was transporting hazardous material;
- If the driver had a valid commercial or non-commercial license;
- The driver’s criminal and driving history; and
- The level of alcohol or amount of drugs, or a combination of both, was in their system when the accident occurred.
The above aggravating factors may result in the court imposing harsher penalties.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Commercial DUI Case?
If you have been charged with DUI while driving a commercial vehicle, you should consider consulting a Nevada DUI/DWI lawyer. If your case involved an accident in which someone was injured or killed, you must speak to an experienced Nevada DUI lawyer.
Your lawyer can identify any defenses that might be available or possibly negotiate a plea agreement. You are more likely to have a better outcome if you have an experienced Nevada DUI lawyer representing your interests.