Commercial DUI Attorney in DC & Alexandria, VA
Impacts of DUI Charges on CDL Licenses in DC & Alexandria, VA
If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Alexandria, VA or Washington, DC, a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) can devastate your career. Driving while intoxicated is always dangerous, but even more so if you are operating a commercial vehicle. This is because commercial motor vehicles (CMV) are large and heavy, having the power to cause serious damage if such drivers are impaired even in the slightest way.
Commercial DUI Laws & Penalties in Alexandria, VA
The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) for most Alexandria, VA drivers is 0.08 percent. However, commercial vehicle drivers can get a DUI charge for having a BAC as low as 0.04 percent, as they are held to higher standards due to the risks associated with driving commercial motor vehicles. Operating a commercial motor vehicle with drugs, or a combination of drugs and alcohol, in your system can also lead to commercial DUI charges. To determine what substances are impairing your driving and how much, you will be subject to a blood and/or breath test as outlined in Alexandria, VA’s implied consent law. Refusing these chemical tests will result in the disqualification or prohibition from driving CMVs. Alexandria, VA law specifies that driving with the following amounts of drugs in your system qualifies as impaired driving:
- 0.02 milligrams of cocaine
- milligrams of methamphetamine
- milligrams of phencyclidine (PCP)
- milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA/Ecstasy)
If you are charged with commercial DUI in Alexandria, VA, your driver’s license will be administratively suspended by the DMV for at least seven days. But if you are convicted of DUI, even if it was 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, which may last from 60 days to life. In addition, a commercial DUI conviction will carry harsh legal penalties:
First offense: Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail and $2,500 fines, with a mandatory minimum fine of $250. 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.
- BAC between 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent: Punishable by a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days
- BAC greater than 0.20 percent: Punishable by a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 days
Second offense within five years: Carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 20 days in jail, which can extend up to one year, and a $500 fine. Your CDL may also get suspended for a lifetime.
Second offense within 10 years: A mandatory minimum of 10 days in jail is required.
- BAC between 0.15 percent and 0.20 percent: 10 additional mandatory minimum days in jail are required
- BAC greater than 0.20 percent: 20 additional mandatory minimum days in jail are required
Third offense within 10 years: Class 6 felony punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $2,500 fines. The mandatory minimum jail sentence is 90 days unless the three offenses occurred within five years, wherein the mandatory minimum jail sentence is six months.
Fourth offense within 10 years: Carries a mandatory minimum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Commercial DUI Laws & Penalties in Washington, DC
Similar to Alexandria, VA, commercial drivers in DC must not operate a CMV with a BAC of .04 or higher, while drivers of regular motor vehicles cannot operate with a BAC of .08 or higher. In Washington, DC, CDL holders are subject to the same legal consequences as regular motorists for a DUI, except they are required to serve 5 additional mandatory minimum days in jail on top of their initial sentence. As such, commercial drivers may face the following penalties upon a DUI conviction:
First offense: Punishable by an 18-month CDL suspension, $1,000 fines, and/or 180 days in jail.
- 10 days: 0.20 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .25 grams/100 ml urine
- 15 days: 0.25 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .32 grams/100 ml urine
- 20 days: 0.30 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .39 grams/100 ml urine
- 15 days: Blood or urine contains a Schedule 1 chemical or controlled substance
Second offense: Punishable by a potential permanent revocation of a CDL, $2,500 to $5,000 fines, and/or 10 days to 1 year in jail. The mandatory minimum jail time is as follows:
- 15 days: 0.20 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .25 grams/100 ml urine
- 20 days: 0.25 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .32 grams/100 ml urine
- 25 days: 0.30 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .39 grams/100 ml urine
- 20 days: Blood or urine contains a Schedule 1 chemical or controlled substance
Third offense: Punishable by a potential permanent revocation of a CDL, $2,500 to $10,000 fines, and/or 15 days to 1 year in jail. The mandatory minimum jail time is as follows:
- 20 days: 0.20 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .25 grams/100 ml urine
- 25 days: 0.25 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .32 grams/100 ml urine
- 30 days: 0.30 grams/ml blood, 210 liters breath, or .39 grams/100 ml urine
- 25 days: Blood or urine contains a Schedule 1 chemical or controlled substance
Fourth offense: Punishable by a potential permanent revocation of a CDL, up to $10,000 fines, and an additional 30-day mandatory minimum term of incarceration for each additional violation.
Defenses to Commercial DUIs
A strong defense is critical to preserving your CDL. That is why our DUI lawyer will examine every detail of your case, from beginning to end.
One way we can challenge your DUI charge is to review police reports and video footage to discover if the initial traffic stop was valid, as law enforcement must have a valid reason to stop your vehicle.
Further, law enforcement and associated professionals must use precise collection and testing methods when you give a breath or blood sample. For instance, if you gave a breath sample, the breathalyzer must be calibrated and regularly maintained, while the person collecting your blood must be qualified to do so and follow a strict chain of custody, including avoiding cleaning your skin with an alcohol wipe and properly storing your blood between collection and testing.
It’s worth remembering that every chemical test has a margin of error. Therefore, if your test results fall within this range, your attorney can challenge the measurement error.
Contact our Commercial DUI Attorney for Fierce Defense
At S.L. England, PLLC, we understand the serious nature of your charge. A commercial DUI conviction in Alexandria, VA or Washington, DC has long-lasting consequences that extend far beyond jail time and fines. With so much at stake, you need a defense attorney with prosecutorial insights and real courtroom experience to present the strongest defense to the judge or jury for you.