If you hold a commercial driver's license (CDL) in Virginia, a conviction for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can devastate your career. Driving while intoxicated is always dangerous, but even more so if you are operating a commercial vehicle. If you have been charged with Commercial DUI in Virginia, contact the experienced defense attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC.
The legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Virginia for most drivers is 0.08 percent. However, commercial vehicle drivers can be charged with DUI with a BAC as low as 0.04 percent.
Operating a motor vehicle with drugs in your system can also lead to Commercial DUI charges. A blood test determines what substances are impairing your driving and how much is in your system. All drivers with a CDL are subject to Virginia's implied consent law. Virginia law specifies that driving with the following amounts in your system qualifies as impaired driving:
- 0.02 milligrams of cocaine
- 0.1 milligrams of methamphetamine
- 0.01 milligrams of phencyclidine (PCP)
- 0.1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA/Ecstasy)
You can also be charged with Commercial DUI for driving with a combination of alcohol and drugs in your system.
If you are charged with Commercial DUI, your driver's license is administratively suspended by the DMV for at least seven days.
A first-offense Commercial DUI is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in the county jail and fines up to $2,500, with a mandatory minimum fine of $250. If your BAC is between 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is five days, and if your BAC is greater than 0.20 percent, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is ten days. Additionally, you face a one-year suspension of your CDL, or a three-year suspension if you were operating a commercial vehicle transporting hazardous material.
A second offense within five years has a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 20 days and a $500 fine. You could serve up to a year in jail. A second offense within ten years carries a mandatory minimum of ten days in jail. If your BAC was between 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent, you must serve an additional mandatory minimum ten days in jail, and an additional 20 mandatory minimum days in jail for a BAC over 0.20 percent. A second commercial DUI conviction will result in a lifetime suspension of your CDL.
A third offense within ten years is a Class 6 Felony. You could face up to five years in prison and fines up to $2,500. The mandatory minimum jail sentence is 90 days unless the three offenses occurred within five years. Then the mandatory minimum jail sentence is six months.
A fourth offense within ten years carries a mandatory minimum one year in jail and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.
If you are convicted of DUI, even if you are convicted while driving intoxicated in your personal vehicle, you may not drive any commercial vehicle while you have a restricted license.
Your CDL will be disqualified if you refuse to take a breath or blood alcohol test. This disqualification may last from 60 days to life.
A strong defense is critical to preserving your CDL.
Law enforcement must have a valid reason to stop your vehicle. Your attorney can review police reports and video footage to discover if the initial traffic stop was valid.
When you give a breath or blood sample, law enforcement and associated professionals must use precise collection and testing methods. If you gave a breath sample, the breathalyzer must be calibrated and regularly maintained. For blood samples, the correct blood collection tube must be used, the person collecting your blood must not clean your skin with an alcohol wipe, and your blood must be properly stored between collection and testing. The person collecting your sample must be qualified to do so, and all samples must follow a strict chain of custody. Your attorney can challenge the test results if any of these procedures are not followed exactly.
Every chemical test has a margin of error. If your test results fall within this range, your attorney can challenge the measurement error.
Contact an Aggressive Virginia Commercial DUI Defense Attorney
A Commercial DUI conviction in Virginia has long-lasting consequences that extend far beyond jail time and fines. With so much at stake, you need a defense attorney with real courtroom experience to present the strongest defense to the judge or jury for you. At S.L. England, PLLC, we understand the serious nature of your charge. Call us today at (202) 489-0720 or contact us online.