Florida Drunk Driving Laws for Commercial Drivers (CDL)
Florida laws are harsh on driving under the influence (DUI) for all motorists, but they are even more severe when the driver holds a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). If you operate a semi truck, you are held to a higher standard because of the size of the vehicle and the potential to cause devastating accidents. Talk to a skilled Florida DUI defense attorney if you were arrested for DUI as a CDL, and read on for some basic information you need to know.
Drunk Driving Laws for CDL Holders: For most Florida drivers, the legal limit for purposes of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent. Recognizing that operating a semi takes more control, physical capacity, and cognitive abilities, the BAC for commercial drivers is half that amount at .04 percent.
However, your BAC is not the only grounds to arrest you for DUI in Florida. Police can also charge a driver, including a CDL holder, with drunk driving if he or she demonstrates impairment. This is a very subjective standard, yet an officer may arrest you if:
- There is an odor of alcohol in your vehicle or on your breath;
- You have difficulties answering questions or slur when you speak;
- Your eyes are glazed over;
- You perform poorly on field sobriety tests; or,
- You show any other signs of being under the influence of alcohol.
Penalties for a DUI Conviction for CDL Holders: The sanctions if you are a commercial driver apply whether the drunk driving charges are based upon impairment or your BAC. First, you are immediately placed on out-of-service status for 24 hours after your arrest. Then, there are additional implications for your CDL if you are actually convicted, including:
- Disqualification of your CDL for a period of one year; and,
- Disqualification up to three years if you were hauling hazardous substances at the time of your arrest.
Of course, other penalties apply as part of the criminal case against you. Your conviction could also lead to:
- A fine up to $1,000;
- Jail time up to six months;
- Community service;
- The requirement to complete an alcohol evaluation and treatment program; and,
- A permanent criminal record.
Refusal to Blow: If you are requested to submit to a chemical test when police pull you over, and you refuse, the implications are even more severe. All drivers in Florida impliedly consent to a breath, blood, or urine test to determine BAC, including CDL holders. If you refuse, your CDL is suspended and you are disqualified to operate a commercial vehicle for one year, regardless of whether you are ultimately convicted for DUI.
Rely on a Florida Defense Attorney for Help with CDL DUI
If you were arrested for drunk driving as a commercial driver, you may already be experiencing the hardship from a 24-hour out-of-service status. It only gets worse if you are actually convicted for DUI as a CDL and can ultimately affect your livelihood. Please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik to discuss your defense options. We can review your circumstances and tell you more after conducting a confidential consultation at our Fort Lauderdale office.