Since commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders operate large trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles for a living, they are held to a higher standard compared to non-commercial drivers. That is why if a commercial driver is arrested for a DUI, a conviction carries stricter penalties in Tennessee.
First, a commercial driver can get a DUI for having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .04 percent, which is much lower than the .08 limit for non-CDL holders. Furthermore, operating a commercial vehicle while intoxicated by drugs can also lead to a DUI arrest.
A DUI is considered a major violation, which means a first offense could lead to CDL disqualification for at least one year. However, if the DUI arrest involves transporting hazardous materials, then the disqualification period lasts three years.
A second major violation will result in a lifetime disqualification. In addition to CDL suspension, a first DUI offense carries a maximum jail term of 11 months and 29 days and a fine of up to $1,000.
Remember, a commercial driver can have his/her CDL suspended if he/she is charged with a DUI while driving his/her non-commercial vehicle. If a commercial driver refuses to submit to post-arrest chemical testing after a first-time DUI, their CDL will automatically be suspended for at least one year.
Once the suspension period is over, commercial drivers may still experience difficulty finding work. Trucking companies and other commercial fleets might be reluctant to hire drivers with a DUI conviction on their criminal record for liability and insurance reasons.
If you or a loved one is a commercial driver who is facing DUI charges in Knoxville, contact Eldridge & Blakney, PC today at (865) 544-2010 to get more than 55 years of combined legal experience on your side. Thousands of clients helped throughout Tennessee!