Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense with significant legal and personal consequences. Operating a commercial vehicle while impaired not only jeopardizes the safety of others on the road but also has far-reaching consequences for the driver’s livelihood. A seasoned Fairhope, AL DUI attorney can help you understand the specific penalties and requirements and explain your best legal options for minimizing the impact on your CDL and career.
Commercial License Suspension or Revocation After DUI in Alabama
First DUI Offense
For a first DUI offense in a non-commercial vehicle, a commercial driver’s CDL will be disqualified for one year. During this period, you cannot legally operate a commercial vehicle.
Second DUI Offense
If you get convicted of a second DUI offense in a non-commercial vehicle, your CDL will be disqualified for life. This is a permanent revocation of the CDL, meaning you will no longer be eligible to hold a CDL in Alabama.
If you get a commercial DUI conviction while operating a commercial vehicle, you may lose your license permanently. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, your CDL may be disqualified for one year for the first refusal and three years for subsequent refusals.
Employment Consequences of Drunk Driving in Fairhope, AL
- Job Loss: Most employers of commercial drivers in Fairhope, AL have strict policies against employing individuals with DUI convictions. If you are convicted of a DUI in Alabama, you will most likely lose your job. This is especially true if the DUI incident occurred while operating a commercial vehicle.
- Disqualification from CDL-Required Positions: Losing a commercial driver’s license (CDL) due to a DUI conviction may disqualify you from applying for CDL-required positions. These positions are often well-paying and stable employment opportunities.
- Loss of Seniority and Benefits: For those who had a long-standing career as a commercial driver, a DUI conviction can result in the loss of seniority, benefits, and retirement contributions. This can have a lasting financial impact.
- Increased Insurance Costs for Employers: A DUI conviction can lead to higher insurance premiums for the employer’s commercial vehicle fleet. This increased expense may result in reduced wages or benefits for all employees.
- Difficulty Finding New Employment: Even after a DUI conviction, finding new employment in the transportation or trucking industry can be challenging. Employers often check driving records, and a DUI can be a red flag for potential employers.
Federal Regulations for Commercial DUI
For commercial drivers in Fairhope, AL, federal regulations regarding DUI are primarily governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Federal regulations set strict BAC limits for commercial drivers. In Alabama, the legal limit for commercial drivers is generally 0.04% BAC, which is half the limit for non-commercial drivers (0.08% BAC).
In addition, commercial drivers are subject to implied consent laws, which means that by holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you agree to submit to chemical testing, such as breathalyzer or blood tests. Commercial drivers who refuse to take a required BAC test can face disqualification. Certain DUI convictions may require the installation of an ignition interlock device on all vehicles operated by the driver both personal and commercial.
The FMCSA established the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which is a national database that tracks drug and alcohol violations for CDL holders. Employers are required to report these violations, and this information can affect your future employment prospects.
How Will Our Lawyers Refute Your Fairhope, AL DUI Charge?
Here are a few key strategies and arguments our DUI defense lawyers in Fairhope, AL will use to challenge your commercial DUI charges:
- Lack of Probable Cause: Our attorney may argue that law enforcement lacked probable cause to stop or detain you.
- Challenging Field Sobriety Tests: We may challenge the reliability and accuracy of these tests, pointing out factors such as poor weather conditions, medical conditions, or law enforcement errors that may have affected the results.
- Breathalyzer Accuracy: We can question the accuracy and maintenance of breathalyzer devices used to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
- Rising BAC Defense: In some cases, a driver’s BAC can rise between the time they were pulled over and when the breathalyzer test was administered. The attorney may argue that your BAC was below the legal limit while driving but had increased by the time of testing.
- Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions or medications can affect BAC readings and may lead to false positives. We may present medical records and expert testimony to support this defense.
- Field Sobriety Test Video Analysis: Our dedicated attorney may review video footage of field sobriety tests to challenge the officer’s observations and interpretations of your performance.
- Chain of Custody: The attorney may examine the chain of custody for blood or urine samples, if applicable. Any break in the chain of custody could raise doubts about the integrity of the evidence.
- Mistaken Identity: If there is any doubt about the identity of the drunk driver or if someone else had access to the commercial vehicle, we may present evidence to establish an alibi or demonstrate mistaken identity.
Our DUI lawyers will fight till the end to protect your rights. If all options are exhausted, we will strongly negotiate with the prosecution for a plea deal that reduces the charge from DUI to a lesser offense with less severe consequences.
Get a Free Case Evaluation from Our Seasoned Fairhope, AL Criminal Defense Attorneys
The experienced DUI lawyers at Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne, P.A. have decades of collective experience in DUI defense. We have represented numerous clients, from first-time offenses to commercial DUIs. We know how to negotiate with prosecutors and present strong arguments and evidence in court to get your charges dismissed or reduced. Depending on the case, we can also explore alternative penalties that minimize the impact on your life. To schedule your free consultation, call 251-928-1915 or reach us online.