Commercial Driver DUI

CDL License GA Lawyer

Helping CDL Drivers Protect Their Ability to Make a Living

georgia commercial drivers license attorneyIf you depend on a Georgia commercial drivers license (CDL) for your livelihood and have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you need an experienced and dedicated lawyer who is prepared to identify and pursue all opportunities to beat these serious charges.

I am George McCranie IV, a DUI defense attorney in Douglas serving clients throughout southeast Georgia. I understand the impact DUI charges can have on commercial drivers in Georgia, and I also have a track record of helping clients get the court dismiss or reduce these charges.

Fighting the Serious Consequences of a CDL DUI

For noncommercial drivers, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or above is considered DUI. If you are a commercial driver, this number is lowered to .04 if you were operating a commercial vehicle when you were stopped.

If your BAC was recorded at .04 or above on a breath test or blood test — or if you refused to take one of these tests — your CDL could be suspended or revoked.

However, if you already have a DUI conviction on your driving record — no matter how long ago the first offense occurred — and you are convicted of DUI for a second time even if the DUI was in your personal vehicle, you will be banned for life from obtaining a CDL and operating a commercial vehicle in Georgia.

Contact a Georgia Commercial Drivers License Attorney at 912-384-2889

If you are facing CDL DUI charges, your ability to make a living for yourself and your family as a commercial driver may be under threat. I can help you fight these serious consequences. To schedule a free consultation, please contact my office at 912-384-2889 or by e-mail.

What Is a Commercial Vehicle?

A Georgia commercial driver’s license is required if you will be driving a commercial motor vehicle. According to Georgia law, a commercial vehicle is one that is “designed or used to transport passengers or property. However, commercial motor vehicles may also have the following characteristics. They:

  • Have a gross weight of 26,001 or more pounds;
  • Are designed to transport 6 or more passengers, including the driver;
  • Transport hazardous materials; or
  • Meet another rating as determined by federal regulations.

Anyone who operates a commercial vehicle must have a Georgia commercial driver’s license.

Which Drivers May Be Impacted by a Commercial Driver DUI?

A CDL DUI can impact many different professionals who possess a Georgia commercial driver’s license. That includes the following:

  • Drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles;
  • Drivers for federal, state, and local governments;
  • Motor carrier drivers for-hire;
  • Private motor carrier drivers;
  • Drivers for civic organizations; and
  • Driver for churches.

Anyone operating a commercial vehicle with a Georgia commercial driver’s license must follow both state and federal regulations regarding CDL DUIs.

Drug and Alcohol Tests for CDLs

If you possess a Georgia commercial driver’s license and you are pulled over based on reasonable suspicion for a DUI, then you may be asked to submit to a drug or alcohol test. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations also allow your employer to test you for drugs and/or alcohol. Common substances that your employer or the police may test you for include the following:

  • Marijuana
  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Prescription drugs
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

Both the police and your employer have a right to request drug and alcohol tests. However, the police must have reasonable suspicion. Even if you fail a test, if the police did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over in the first place, then your drug test results may be inadmissible in court. However, your employer may drug test you with or without suspicion. If you feel you’ve been forced to take an invalid drug or alcohol test, you should contact an attorney right away.

Implied Consent and the Georgia Commercial Driver’s License

According to Georgia Law (Section 40-5-53), if you possess a Georgia commercial driver’s license, then you have agreed to consent to a chemical test if law enforcement had valid reason to pull you over for a DUI in Georgia. That means that you have already agreed to a drug or alcohol test if a police officer pulls you over with reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

However, you may still refuse a chemical test. If you do refuse, then you will face administrative repercussions and an automatic CDL suspension. You can fight the suspension of your CDL with the help of a skilled attorney.

Penalties for Georgia Commercial Driver’s License DUIs

If you have a Georgia commercial driver’s license and receive a DUI conviction, then you may face an array of criminal penalties, including:

  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • Incarceration of up to 12 months
  • Up to 40 hours of community service
  • Mandated drug and alcohol treatment programs
  • Clinical treatment and evaluation
  • Up to 12 months of probation

These penalties are common for a first time DUI conviction for someone with a Georgia commercial driver’s license. However, the penalties may increase with aggravating factors, such as subsequent DUIs, injuries to others, and more.

Out of State DUI in Georgia

If you are from out of state and get a DUI in Georgia, then you may face repercussions in Georgia as well as your home state. Georgia may suspend your commercial driver’s license and your privilege to drive within Georgia. Georgia may also report to your home state’s department of driver services. Your state will make a determination about whether to impose consequences within your home state.

You will have to return to Georgia for court appearances for your DUI. If you are from out of state, however, that can be difficult. Traveling to and from Georgia from out of state can be expensive. Sometimes negotiating a plea agreement with the prosecutor can make your case go away quickly.

If you have a Georgia commercial driver’s license and get an out of state DUI elsewhere, then Georgia may also suspend your license. You should contact a DUI defense attorney right away to try to protect your license.

Defenses to a CDL DUI

If law enforcement pulled you over and arrested you for a CDL DUI, then you still have a chance to avoid a conviction. A skilled DUI lawyer can help you make the following defenses:

  • The traffic stop was invalid;
  • Field sobriety tests were not accurate; or
  • There was an error in chemical alcohol or drug tests.

You may be worried about losing your Georgia commercial driver’s license, but that doesn’t have to be the outcome. Contact Georgia commercial drivers license attorney to find out how to save your license.