DUI or driving under the influence has serious consequences. In 2021, driving drunk caused 31% of all fatal crashes in the United States.
Unfortunately, this is a common problem. About 20% of drivers in the United States admitted to driving drunk at least once.
For people who drive personal vehicles, this could simply mean some fines and a temporary driver’s license suspension. However, being a commercial driver is a different ballgame.
What does the Florida DUI statute say about DUI charges for a commercial driver? This guide explains the most important things you need to know.
Blood Alcohol Concentration
The first thing you need to be aware of as a commercial driver is that there are different rules when it comes to blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Typically, someone has to have a BAC of at least .08 before they face an arrest and other additional penalties. However, commercial drivers only have to have a BAC of .04 before they may face penalties.
This is because commercial drivers are typically driving larger vehicles. As a result, these vehicles can be more fatal to the other cars around them if a driver is under the influence.
You also have to be aware that this can be tested in a variety of ways. Police officers can test your breath, your urine, or your blood.
If you have a Florida CDL, you must be aware of the BAC requirements for your specific circumstances.
Refusing a Test
Another thing that you should know is that there are penalties if you refuse a BAC test. This is because police officers may automatically suspect that you are driving under the influence and that you are trying to hide it.
Some may argue that there is no proof that they were doing this if they refused. However, there is an unwritten agreement that you comply with these tests if you are driving on Florida roads. If you refuse to do this, you will be treated as if you were driving under the influence.
The point is that it is best not to change this. Be aware of this law in Florida and be prepared to submit to a BAC test if the time comes.
Driving a Personal Vehicle
Note that rules for commercial drivers do not just apply when you are driving a commercial vehicle. You are expected to obey driving laws when you are driving a personal vehicle as well.
The only good thing with this is that when it comes to a personal vehicle, the BAC laws are not as strict. Unlike commercial vehicles, where you can face penalties with a .04 BAC, you have to have a .08 BAC to face similar penalties while driving a personal vehicle.
This does not mean that you should get reckless with alcohol consumption before you get behind the wheel. However, Florida statutes give you a little more room for error if you are driving a regular car.
Do note that if you do get arrested for a DUI while driving a personal vehicle, it can impact your Florida CDL.
Now that you are aware of some of the different things that can land you in hot water, we have to talk about what type of penalties you face for these actions.
For all three of the things mentioned above, you face losing your CDL for at least one year. However, depending on the circumstances of your arrest, this can be even longer.
What can extend this penalty? Factors such as if this is your first offense, how much your BAC was over the legal limit if you had minors in the car, and if there were any injuries during this incident.
Then, you have to consider traditional penalties, according to the Florida Statutes.
For starters, you could be fined up to $1,000 for a first conviction and up to $2,000 for a second conviction. You are also likely looking at around 50 hours of community service or $5,000 in fines if you do not live close enough to the area.
You also risk going to jail. For a first offense, this can be up to six months. This increases to nine months on a second offense.
For personal vehicles, you may even need to have an ignition interlock device installed at your own expense. However, this typically only happens on repeat offenses. When you are subject to this, it can remain on your car for at least one year.
You also need to think about what happens when you try to operate a commercial vehicle when you have been ordered not to. No matter how long the order is, you risk permanently losing your CDL if you get caught driving while your license is supposed to be suspended.
Loss of Job and Income
Finally, you need to think about what happens to your financial stability when something like this happens. Even if your license is only suspended for one year, that still might mean you lose your job with your current company.
While you may be able to get unemployment benefits during this time, it likely will not match what you were making with your commercial driving job.
You would have the difficult task of finding something to replace that income. Then, you could have a hard time finding another commercial driving job with a DUI permanently on your driving record. This may make some companies hesitant to hire you based on that background.
Be Aware of the Florida DUI Statute
The Florida DUI statute has more legal requirements for commercial drivers compared to regular drivers. This is because of how fatal their vehicles can be and the fact that they drive these vehicles professionally.
If you are a commercial driver who is facing DUI charges, you need to act sooner rather than later. That is where RHINO Lawyers come in.
We are premier attorneys who use modern technology and data to get you the best case results possible. Plus, we treat others the way we want to be treated.
Do you want a free case review? Message us here today.
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