A tractor-trailer driver was recently arrested in Rhode Island and charged with driving under the influence. The 36-year-old commercial driver was pulled over after police received several 911 calls about a swerving semi truck. State troopers witnessed the driver cross several lanes of traffic and almost collide with multiple vehicles before being stopped. According to Rhode Island State Police, commercial vehicles pose a tremendous risk to other motorists given the size and weight of the vehicles, especially when a driver operates while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Because of the safety risks involved, drivers with commercial licenses are subject to stricter DUI laws and harsher punishments for convictions than non-commercial drivers.
Experienced Seattle DUI defense attorney Steve Karimi explains commercial driver licensing laws in Washington and the impact that a DUI conviction will have on a driver's ability to continue driving commercial vehicles.
A Washington CDL Overview
A commercial drivers license, commonly referred to as a CDL, is an essential part of a commercial driver's career. In Washington, a driver must have a commercial driver's license when driving school buses, trucks and trailers weighing over 26,001 pounds, vans designed to transport 16 or more passengers, and when transporting hazardous materials. While obtaining a CDL in Washington is a difficult process involving tests and training, a commercial driver can be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle fairly easily due to strict state laws.
When Will I Be Disqualified from Commercial Driving?
A driver is disqualified from driving commercial vehicles in multiple instances. Disqualification occurs when a non-commercial license is suspended or revoked, following a DUI conviction, and after refusing a breath or blood alcohol test. A driver is disqualified even if the DUI conviction or test refusal occurred while driving a non-commercial vehicle. In Washington, a driver can be convicted for driving under the influence if their blood alcohol content is .08 percent or more while driving non-commercial vehicle, and .04 percent or more while driving a commercial vehicle.
How Long Will My Disqualification Last?
Disqualification punishments are severe. A disqualification stemming from a commercial driver's first DUI conviction, or first breath or blood test refusal, will last one year. A second conviction or second refusal results in disqualifying a driver from commercial driving privileges for life. If the incident occurs while a driver transports hazardous materials, they are disqualified for three years. A commercial driver may request an appeal or administrative review of their disqualification determination in certain situations. After the disqualification period passes, a driver may apply to have their commercial driving privileges reinstated.
Contact DUI Defense Attorney Steve Karimi in Seattle
Attorney Steve Karimi has experience defending drivers against DUI charges. If you are a commercial driver and you've been charged with a DUI in Washington, it's important to know that a conviction could end your driving career. Attorney Steve Karimi will defend your rights and protect your CDL privileges. Contact The Law Offices of Steve Karimi by calling us at 206-621-8777 for a free consultation.