Commercial drivers who are convicted of DUI in Georgia face severe consequences, including a license suspension, administrative fines and possible jail time. At Carter/Pilgrim, we focus our practice on DUI defense and know how to protect commercial drivers against DUI charges. If you hold a commercial driver’s license and are facing a DUI charge, we will work to protect your driving privileges, your livelihood, and your freedom.
Commercial Driver’s Licenses in Georgia
In Georgia, it is necessary to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a commercial vehicle. Under state law, a commercial vehicle is defined as a vehicle designed or used to transport passengers or property. Examples of commercial vehicles include:
- Vehicles that weigh 26,001 or more pounds
- Vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver
- Vehicles that transport certain hazardous materials as defined by federal law
Recreational vehicles, vehicles operated by the military, and agricultural vehicles are not considered commercial motor vehicles in Georgia.
Commercial Drivers and Georgia DUI Laws
In Georgia, the legal limit for a typical driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent. The legal blood alcohol limit for commercial drivers is lower, however. A person may not be in actual physical control of a moving commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .04 percent or more. When a CDL holder is driving a non-commercial vehicle, however, the legal blood alcohol limit is .08 percent.
Penalties for a Commercial Driver’s License DUI
Holders of commercial driver’s licenses face additional penalties than typical drivers when convicted of a DUI. Penalties for a commercial driver’s license DUI may include the following:
- A commercial driver’s license suspension
- Administrative fees and penalties
- Additional criminal penalties
- Inability to work as a commercial driver for 1 year or more
Our Lawyers Fight to Preserve Our Clients’ Commercial Driver’s License When Facing DUI Charges
Under Georgia law, commercial drivers convicted of a DUI can become disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle for one year. Commercial drivers convicted of a second DUI can become disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for life. Commercial drivers depend on their commercial driver’s licenses to make a living for themselves. Permanent loss of a commercial driver’s license often results in termination with their employer and necessitates a career change. Fighting a DUI charge as assertively as possible is essential so that commercial drivers can continue earning an income.
Additional Penalties for Commercial DUI in Georgia
Typically, a first time DUI conviction is a misdemeanor. A first time DUI conviction can lead to the following consequences in Georgia:
- Between 24 hours and 12 months of jail time
- A fine of between $300 and $1,000
- 40 hours of community service for offenders over the age of 21
- 20 hours of community service for those 21 and younger with a BAC under .08 percent
- Completion of a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Program
- When recommended, clinical evaluation and treatment
- Probation lasting up to 12 months
With every subsequent commercial DUI conviction, the penalties become more severe and stringent. Even though a second commercial DUI conviction is still considered a misdemeanor, the penalties are more severe. A third commercial DUI conviction is an aggravated or high misdemeanor. Finally, a fourth commercial DUI conviction is a felony with serious consequences, including significant jail time.
Refusal to Take a Chemical DUI Test as a Commercial Driver
Georgia, like most other states, has adopted an implied consent law. All Georgia drivers, including commercial drivers, must comply with the implied consent law or face the consequences. By driving on Georgia’s roads, drivers give their implied consent to taking chemical DUI tests. The implied consent law states that commercial motor vehicle drivers have given implied consent to tests that measure their breath, blood, or urine. The implied consent laws only apply to tests conducted to measure the driver’s blood alcohol concentration or tests that determine whether a person’s blood contains drugs.
Commercial drivers who refuse to submit to a chemical DUI test risk losing their license for one year. When Georgia does revoke a driver’s commercial license for failure to submit to a chemical test, drivers have a right to appeal the suspension. However, commercial drivers must act quickly and request a hearing within 30 days of the suspension. Commercial drivers who do not submit their request within the 30-day time frame lose their right to appeal their license suspension.
Contact Our Atlanta Commercial Driver’s License DUI Lawyer Today
If you are facing commercial DUI charges, having a skilled DUI lawyer on your side will help your case immensely. At Carter Pilgrim Stroud, our practice is focused solely on DUI defense. Our lawyers know how to defend commercial DUI cases successfully. We thoroughly investigate every case and fight hard to see our clients’ charges dismissed or reduced.
We know that state prosecutors often lack the necessary evidence to prove commercial DUI charges. Our lawyers take commercial DUI cases seriously and assertively defend our clients’ rights throughout the entire process. Contact our Atlanta commercial DUI defense law firm today to schedule your free consultation.