CDL drivers face harsh DUI penalties.We all know that it is never a good idea to drink and drive. The dangers to property and people are well known—and the penalties for DUI in Arizona are quite severe.

As severe as those consequences can be for the holder of a regular driver’s license, they pale in comparison to the penalties that can be imposed on the holder of a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) who is charged with a DUI.

These amped-up consequences make sense. After all, commercial drivers spend more time on the road and tend to drive large and often complicated vehicles. Those larger vehicles generally cause more serious damage in the event of a crash—including causing more severe personal injuries. Commercial drivers may also be carrying passengers who rely on them for safe transport in their vehicles.

It is also essential to note that CDL drivers are held to a higher standard in Arizona when it comes to their blood alcohol content (BAC). A person driving with a regular license is considered drunk at 0.08% BAC. For those with a commercial license, that number is cut in half. A person who holds a CDL is considered drunk at 0.04% BAC. This is true whether the driver is stopped while driving their personal vehicle or a commercial vehicle.

Let’s take a look at the consequences for CDL drivers who are charged with DUI.

Consequences of a First Offense

A first offense for a commercial driver in Arizona is at least a Class 1 misdemeanor and can carry the following penalties:

  • Your CDL license and your personal license will be suspended for at least 30 days and could be suspended for as long as a year 
  • A minimum of 10 days in jail
  • A minimum of $1,250 in fines

If your BAC is 0.15% or above, those numbers go up:

  • A minimum of 30 days in jail
  • A minimum of $2,500 in fines

Consequences of a Second Offense

A second DUI for a commercial driver will result in:

  • A one-year suspension of your CDL and personal license
  • A minimum of 90 days in jail 
  • A minimum of $3,000 in fines

If the driver’s BAC is 0.15% or above, the jail time and fines increase:

  • A minimum of 120 days in jail 
  • A minimum of $3,250 in fines

Other Important Things to Keep in Mind

That list of consequences probably seems plenty serious, but there are three other things you should keep in mind:

  • If you refuse to take the alcohol test when you are pulled over, your CDL will be suspended for a year. If you have prior offenses on your record, this suspension could be increased to two years.
  • If you rack up multiple convictions for DUI or refuse to take the alcohol test on multiple occasions, the state of Arizona will revoke your CDL for life.
  • Employers frequently fire drivers convicted of DUI because it puts their business at risk for liability and loss.
  • It must be emphasized that driving under the influence puts your life (and the lives of others) in grave danger.  

You Need the Help of an Experienced Attorney

As we have pointed out, if you hold a CDL and have been charged with a DUI, you have a lot at stake. That’s why it is important to get help from an experienced attorney who can determine what defense or defenses may be applicable in your case. Some of the possible defenses include:

  • A lack of legal basis for pulling you over
  • A lack of legal basis for detaining you in order to conduct a DUI investigation
  • A poorly administered field sobriety test—or poor interpretation of the results of the test
  • Establishing that you were below the legal BAC level when driving
  • Improper police conduct 

Griffen & Stevens Is Ready to Help 

If you are a commercial driver and have been charged with a DUI, don’t wait to get the representation you need. The lawyers of Griffen & Stevens have the experience and expertise needed to make sure your rights are protected. Your initial consultation is free, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help.