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DUI in a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)

Under California law, it is illegal to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is 0.04 percent or greater. Driving with a BAC of .04 or higher will result in an immediate administrative driver licensing sanction (Admin Per Se) in accordance with CVC §13353.2(3). You can also be charged with a criminal offense operating a CMV with a BAC at .04 or higher under CVC 23152(d).

Related charges include driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs if the person is a CDL holder or if person is operating a CMV and refusing blood and/or breath test if the person is a CDL holder or if person is operating a CMV.

Attorneys for DUI in a CMV in San Francisco, CA

If you were subjected to an "admin per se suspension" under CVC §13353.2(3) or a DUI charge for having a BAC at .04 or higher under CVC 23152(d), then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ticket Crushers. Our attorneys represent professional drivers in the trucking industry, CDL holders, and commercial drivers for a wide range of driving offenses including accusations involving the consumption of drugs or alcohol. 

The attorneys at Ticket Crushers represent Commercial Driver License (CDL) holders and commercial drivers when they are cited for a traffic violation or offense that occurs in either a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) or their personal vehicle. We also represent drivers with an out-of-state CDL, who are given a citation or ticket for a traffic violation or offense that occurred while driving in California.

A conviction for a driving offense in California will be reported to your home state, especially if you have a Commercial Driver License (CDL) issued out of state.

Call 1 (866) 842-5384 to discuss your case. 


Admin Per Se Suspension under CVC §13353.2(3)

If you are charged with driving with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .04 or higher, the arresting officer will take your commercial driver's license and impose an "on the stop" or administrative suspension or disqualification under CVC §13353.2(3). 

Under CVC § 13353.2, the driver of a commercial motor vehicle is subject to an immediate suspension if the driver has a .04 blood or breath alcohol concentration. Under those circumstances, the department will immediately suspend the privilege of a person to operate a motor vehicle if the person was driving a vehicle that requires a commercial driver's license when the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood.

If the officer finds that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can also be charged with or convicted for the criminal offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs under CVC 23152(d). 


DUI in a CMV under CVC 23152(d)

Under CVC 23152(d), you can be charged with a crime for driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a BAC of .04 or higher.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is always dangerous. The consequences of driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is even more serious. Because CMV’s are heavier and bigger than a personal vehicle, the accidents can also be more dangerous and deadly. 

Drivers of a commercial motor vehicle and holders of a commercial driver’s license (even when driving a personal non-commercial vehicle) are held to a higher standard. 

For this reason, the California legislature enacted California Vehicle Code Section 23152(d) VC which makes driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent or higher a crime. For most driver’s of noncommercial vehicles, the threshold BAC level is 0.08 percent.


Elements of DUI in a CMV in California

The prosecutor for the State of California must prove the following elements beyond all reasonable doubt during a trial for driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher: 

  1. The defendant drove a commercial motor vehicle (CMV); and
  2. While driving the CMV, the driver’s blood alcohol content alcohol was 0.04 percent or higher.

Related offenses can include: driving under the influence of alcohol (CVC 23152(a)), driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher (CVC 23152(b)). 

If you were charged with driving with a BAC of .04 or higher while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(d) VC, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ticket Crushers in San Francisco, CA. 


Defenses to Driving a Commercial Vehicle with a .04 BAC

California law provides for several different defenses that might apply when fighting an accusation that you drove a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a .04 or higher breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(d) VC. The most common defenses for a DUI in a CMV include: 

  1. If the initial stop of the commercial motor vehicle was illegal or without probable cause or reasonable suspicious that the driver was in violation of the law, then the criminal defense attorney can file and litigate a motion to suppress all evidence gained as a result of the illegal traffic stop. If the court suppresses all of the evidence that resulted from the stop, then the criminal accusation of DUI in the commercial motor vehicle will be dismissed entirely.
  2. Challenges to the admissibility of the breath or blood test if the device used was not properly maintained or calibrated.
  3. Challenges to the admissibility of the blood sample if it was not stored pursuant to required practices or lab standards. 

Penalties for DUI in a CMV

Under California law, the penalties for driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher are similar to those punishments that are imposed in a typical DUI case involving a non-CDL holder or a person driving a non-commercial vehicle under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC or 23152(b) VC.

In either case, after a conviction, the driver is typically placed on probation for a period between three to five years. Special conditions of that probation include completing a drug and alcohol education class. The criminal offense also comes with jail time, fines, and a requirement to complete community service hours. 

The DMV in California and other states imposed harsh consequences against a CDL holder who is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holder will lose the CDL for a least one year after a first time DUI offense (even if the DUI occurred in a personal non-commercial vehicle). During that time period, there is no ability to get a restricted driver’s license to continue to operate a CMV. In other words, the driver is not permitted to operate any CMV for at least one year. A second DUI offense results in a permanent or lifetime revocation of the commercial license.


Attorneys for the DUI in a CMV (BAC over .04)

If you are a CDL holder who was charged with any type of DUI offense in the greater San Francisco bay area, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ticket Crushers. 

California law prohibits operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle with a BAC of .04 percent or more. If you operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in California, then you have been deemed to have given your consent to alcohol testing (often called the “Implied Consent”).

We represent professional drivers in the trucking industry and CDL holders, cited with a traffic infraction or serious driving offense. We can help you protect your driving record so that you can continue in your chosen profession. 

Call 1 (866) 842-5384 today to discuss your case.


This article was last updated on Friday, February 17, 2017.

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