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Commercial DUI in Pittsburgh

Drivers who hold commercial licenses are required to follow stricter rules than regular drivers. Pennsylvania law forces these higher standards. Commercial drivers have a lower legal blood alcohol content limit when they are operating their commercial vehicle. CDL holders risk losing their driving privileges, and their jobs, by being stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence. They may never work in the commercial driving industry again. Being convicted for DUI when you hold a CDL license means the end of the career that the driver spent a lot of time and hard work to get and maintain.

It is vital for a driver who has been charged with DUI in the Pittsburgh area to confer with a trained and experienced DUI attorney. Having a lawyer helping you will increase the chances of you having a favorable outcome to your case. But, for you to understand the penalties you are facing, it's important to know what Pennsylvania law says about commercial drivers and DUI.

DUI Laws for Commercial Drivers

The law in Pennsylvania as it pertains to commercial CDL holders is rather strict. Statutory law states that CDL holders risk their career for the decisions made while they operated their commercial vehicle and while operating their personal vehicle, as well. Pennsylvania DUI law prohibits CDL holders from:

  • Operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or higher
  • Operating a non-commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher

CDL holders generally have two types of licenses. They have their CDL license, and they have a personal driver's license authorized by the state. It's possible for both of those licenses to be suspended at the same time. Whether this happens or not depends entirely on the DUI charge itself and the penalties associated with it.

Implied Consent Law

Drivers who hold a CDL license are required to abide by Pennsylvania's implied consent law. The law requires that any license holder arrested under suspicion of DUI take a blood, breath, or urine test. If a police officer believes without a reasonable doubt that the person in charge of the vehicle is driving while intoxicated, the cop can ask that he or she take a chemical test. If a driver refuses to comply, there are harsh consequences. The person’s license may be suspended for one year the first time. Any subsequent offenses will lead to an 18-month license suspension.

DUI Penalties for Drivers of Commercial Vehicles

Commercial vehicle drivers who are convicted of DUI face strict penalties that were specifically targeted to them. A CDL holder whose blood alcohol content is over 0.04% faces a charge that is considered to be a "high rate" DUI. A commercial driver who is convicted of high rate DUI will face mandatory jail time, even if it's a first offense. Below is a list of penalties that CDL holders generally get when they get a DUI.

First DUI

  • Highway safety school
  • Fine of up to $5000
  • Jail sentence of up to six months
  • Drug and alcohol treatment program completion
  • CDL license suspended for a minimum of one year
  • Personal driver's license suspended for a minimum of one year

Second DUI (within 10 years of a previous offense)

  • Community service
  • Ignition interlock device installation
  • Personal driver's license suspended for 18 months
  • Fine of up to $10,000
  • Drug and alcohol treatment program completion
  • Lifetime ban of CDL
  • Highway safety school
  • Jail sentence of up to five years

Third and Subsequent DUI (within 10 years of a previous offense)

  • Up to five years in jail
  • Personal driver's license suspended for 18 months
  • Drug and alcohol treatment program completion
  • Fine of up to $10,000
  • Ignition interlock device installation
  • Community service

It's important to remember that a DUI conviction on the record of a commercial driver's license holder becomes a permanent part of his driving record. Potential employers will be able to see it. Getting another commercial driving job is very hard after a DUI conviction. Employers prefer drivers who have clean records, because it keeps their liability down.

A driving record free of convictions is crucial for a commercial driver to retain his job and sustain his career. Remember that it’s vitally important to contact a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney who is experienced and well-trained in DUI defense. Call Sean Logue and his associates 24/7 at 1-844-PITT-DUI or 412-389-0805 for a free initial consultation. If you prefer, they can be reached online here. Logue Law serves Pittsburgh, PA, Ohio, and West Virginia.

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