If you make your living as a commercial vehicle driver, your livelihood could be endangered if you face charges of DUI while driving a commercial vehicle. The requirements for a DUI conviction, if you are driving a commercial vehicle, are just half of the requirements for a DUI in a normal vehicle. You are considered intoxicated if your blood alcohol content is at .04, instead of just .08. If convicted, you will lose your ability to drive a commercial vehicle for at least a year.
St. Petersburg Commercial DUI Lawyer
If you face DUI charges for driving a commercial vehicle, Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm, P.A. is an experienced St. Petersburg commercial DUI lawyer who can help you fight the charges. Melinda Morris prosecuted DUI cases as a State Attorney in the DUI Manslaughter/Vehicle Homicide Squad. She knows how DUI prosecution works, and will put that experience to work fighting for you. Call the Morris Law Firm, P.A. today at (727) 388-4736 for a free consultation on your commercial DUI charge.
Based in St. Petersburg, Melinda Morris is proud to represent clients facing DUI charges throughout Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Gulf City.
Commercial DUI Charges in Florida
A person is driving a commercial vehicle under Florida law if the vehicle meets any of the following characteristics:
- It has a declared maximum weight for purposes of registration when loaded of more than 26,000 pounds.
- It has a “gross vehicle weight rating” of more than 26,000 pounds.
- It is designed to carry more than 14 passengers, excluding the driver.
- It must be placarded in order to transport hazardous materials.
This includes 18-wheelers, shuttle buses and vans, dump trucks, cement trucks and other large vehicles.
For most drivers, a person is considered intoxicated if his or her blood-alcohol content (BAC) is at .08 or above. However, if that person is driving a commercial vehicle, the person is considered intoxicated if he or she has a BAC at .04 or above. This heightened requirement means that, for instance, if your body size, sex and metabolism mean that you would normally be legally intoxicated after two beers, if you are driving a commercial vehicle, you are legally intoxicated after just one.
Additionally, it is illegal, under Florida Statutes § 322.62, for a person driving a commercial vehicle in Florida to have any alcohol at all in his or her system while in physical control of a commercial vehicle. The charge is a traffic infraction, punishable by a fine up to $500. That means that, hours after one drink or sometimes after using mouthwash, you could face a hefty fine if administered a DUI test.
Potential Commercial DUI Penalties in Pinellas County
If you are a commercial driver by profession, you could easily lose your job if convicted of a commercial DUI in Florida. Even if your employer is lenient on you for the mere fact of being convicted, which few are, you face an administrative license suspension of up to 18 months, and you will be completely disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for a year. Employers are unlikely to hang on to an employee if he or she is unable to perform an essential job function for at least a year.
Additionally, you will face the penalties you would normally face for a DUI, potentially including:
- Fines from $500 to $1,000
- 50 hours of community service.
- Probation of up to a year.
- Vehicle impounded for 10 days.
- Required attendance for substance abuse education or treatment programs.
This is only for a first DUI. For a second or subsequent DUI, the penalties get much worse, and can include prison time. The consequences are too severe to not have an experienced St. Petersburg DUI lawyer on your side.
Morris Law Firm, P.A. | Pinellas County Commercial DUI Attorney
If you face commercial DUI charges, Melina Morris is an aggressive St. Petersburg commercial DUI lawyer who will put her experience as a former prosecutor to work for you. Call the Morris Law Firm, P.A. at (727) 388-4736 today for a free consultation.