Commercial DUI Laws Explained by Nevada Defense Lawyer

False written statements to obtain property or creditCommercial drivers depend upon their license for their living. A DUI is devastating to a commercial driver. Unfortunately, there is a very low blood alcohol concentration (BAC) standard set for commercial drivers. A professional driver can be found guilty of impaired driving for having much less to drink than a motorist in any other type of vehicle.

Many professional drivers may be unaware they are over-the-limit and may not be affected at all by the small amount of alcohol consumed… but they can still face charges that end their careers.

If you have been charged with a commercial DUI in Nevada, contact LV Criminal Defense as soon as possible for assistance in fighting for your license and future career prospects.

Nevada DUI Laws for Commercial Drivers

According to Nevada Revised Statute Section 484C.120, the driver of a commercial motor vehicle is breaking the law if he has a blood alcohol concentration of just .04 percent. This is half the legal limit applicable to the majority of other drivers.

Under the same law, commercial drivers can be found guilty of a crime for operating their vehicles under the influence of any controlled substances, or under the influence of any combination of drugs or alcohol. If there is reason to suspect that a commercial driver is impaired in any way by substances he has taken, this is a violation of the law that leads to serious legal consequences.

Laws setting the BAC limit to .04 percent apply to drivers of:

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  • Motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers, if the vehicle being operated can accommodate 16 or more people including the driver.
  • Trucks with a gross combination weight rating go 26,001 or more pounds.
  • Tractor trailers with towed units that have a gross vehicle weight eating of more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Vehicles used to transport hazardous material.

If you are a truck driver, a bus driver, a driver of a passenger van, or the operator of a vehicle transporting hazardous materials, you can face a 24-hour order to stay off the road when you are believed to be impaired by drugs or alcohol. Criminal charges and the possible loss of your license can follow.

The stakes are high, but LV Criminal Defense will be there to help you respond to accusations being made against you.

Penalties for a Commercial DUI

49 Code of Federal Regulations Section 383.51 is a federal law addressing disqualification of commercial drivers.  Both Nevada law and federal laws mandate the suspension of a commercial license for impaired driving.

A first conviction for DUI in Nevada can lead to a one years suspension of a commercial license.    However, if the incident resulting in the suspension occurred when the driver was transporting hazardous materials, a first offense can result in a three-year suspension.

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For a second DUI conviction, the consequences are dire: permanent revocation of the CDL for life.  This means that just two convictions for impaired driving can put a permanent end to a career. There is never going to be an option to drive professionally again.

CDL holders face serious penalties not just for driving impaired while in a commercial vehicle but also for a DUI in their personal car.  If you are operating your own vehicle and you have a BAC of .08 or higher, you face a 90-day suspension of your standard driver’s license and your CDL.  A second conviction leads to a year long suspension of a driver’s license.

In addition to a license suspension, a CDL holder who is over the legal limit can be charged with a misdemeanor DUI for a first or second offense and a felony for a third offense.

  • Penalties for a first offense can include between two days and six months jail time or between 2 days and 96 hours of community service. Fines between $400 and $1,000 may be levied and you may be required to attend a Nevada DUI school as well as a victim impact panel and possibly a substance abuse treatment program.
  • A second conviction for DUI can result in between 10 days and six months incarceration; fines from $750 to $1,000; required attendance at DUI school; and mandated completion of a substance abuse treatment program.
  • For a third DUI conviction, you will be charged with a Category B felony. This means a sentence of between one and six years in state prison, and a fine between $2,000 and $5,000.

If the DUI occurred in a work zone, penalties can double.

Options When Charged with Commercial DUI

When you are charged with a commercial DUI in Nevada, you must be proactive in responding because your entire life could change if you get convicted. You don’t want to lose your career, your money and your freedom.

You do have options, and a Nevada criminal defense lawyer will help you to explore what you can do to fight conviction or to reduce penalties.  Depending upon the evidence that the prosecutor has and the specifics of the case against you, you could consider:

  • Seeking dismissal of charges. If there’s not enough evidence, the case can be dismissed. This is the best outcome. Sometimes, an attorney can have evidence suppressed if police had no probable cause to pull you over or had no probable cause to test your BAC.
  • Fight the charges. You can plead not guilty and your attorney will represent you in court. You don’t have to prove innocence; just make it so the prosecutor can’t prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Negotiating a plea deal. If you don’t want to try to fight the charges, your attorney may be able to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor so your penalties are reduced. Sometimes, the charge will be dropped to reckless driving, which carries only a two month suspension of a CDL and which carries much less social stigma.

Let your attorney help you to decide whether these or other options are the best strategic choice for fighting commercial DUI charges and trying to reduce penalties that could end your career.

Contact a Nevada Commercial DUI Lawyer Today

LV Criminal Defense has helped many commercial drivers after they have been accused of driving under the influence.  Contact our experienced Nevada commercial DUI defense team today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the options that you can consider for fighting the prosecutor’s case against you.