Washington Commercial Licenses
In Washington in order to operate certain vehicles on public roads, a driver needs a commercial driver's license. This is also referred to as a CDL. RCW 46.25.020 states that a driver is required to have a commercial driver's license (CDL) in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle. A commercial motor vehicle is defined under this law as any vehicle or combination of vehicles that is used in commerce to transport passengers or property and any of the following attributes apply:
- The vehicle has a gross weight of 11,794 kg or 26,001 pounds
- The vehicle is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver
- The vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials
- The vehicle is a school bus In order to operate any of these types of vehicles legally, a driver must have a CDL.
Many people need these licenses in order to perform their jobs especially truck drivers and bus operators.
Seattle Commercial License DUI Laws
Drivers of commercial vehicles are held to a higher standard of traffic laws then noncommercial drivers. Because commercial vehicles are often larger or carry passengers, it is important that the driver is in control of the vehicle at all times. For this reason Washington lawmakers have set specific laws that apply only to CDL drivers. A CDL driver who is convicted of a criminal act, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, will face CDL disqualification. Disqualification means that the offender will not be able to driver commercial vehicles for a given periods of time. Unlike regular license suspension, a CDL holder who has been disqualified from driving is not eligible for a work restricted license or any type of temporary license. Under Washington law RCW 46.25.090, A CDL driver can have their license disqualified if they do not abide by a certain set of rules.
A commercial driver cannot operate a vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more. They also must not have any measurable THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in their system. Violation of either of these laws or operating a commercial vehicle under the influence of any drug or alcohol will lead to a commercial DUI charge. CDL drivers can also face DUI charges for operating a noncommercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of 0.08 or more or a THC of 5.00 ng or more. This means that a career CDL driver can lose their ability to drive a commercial vehicle if they are convicted of driving under the influence while driving their personal vehicle while off-duty.
In addition, commercial vehicle drivers must submit to a test or tests in order to determine the driver's alcohol concentration or drug impairment level when asked to do so by law enforcement. Noncommercial drivers have the option to refuse some tests, like field sobriety tests, without penalty, but commercial drivers will face CDL disqualification for refusing to take any tests.
Penalties for Seattle Commercial DUI
If a driver is convicted of DUI on a commercial driver's license, they will face serious penalties. In addition to the other penalties for criminal DUI, they will also face disqualification of their CDL. A first offense in Washington will lead to a minimum of one year of commercial driver's license suspension. A second offense will lead to a life time ban. This means that the commercial driver's license holder can only receive one DUI conviction in their lifetime before they lose their license permanently. For people who depend on their CDL for their careers, this can mean using their ability to perform in their career field.
Call a Seattle Commercial DUI Lawyer
For CDL drivers, losing your license could mean losing your career. It is vital that anyone accused of commercial DUI to fight the charges and speak to an experienced DUI lawyer. If you have been accused of commercial DUI in Seattle, contact our office immediately. Attorney Steve Karimi can help you get the best results possible. If you are a repeat commercial DUI offender, the stakes are even higher. A conviction can mean the loss of your license permanently.
With the aid of a DUI attorney, you have options. DUI charges can always be challenged by questioning the lawfulness of the police stop that led to the arrest, looking to see if the police violated any of your rights during or after the arrest or by challenging the accuracy of the sobriety test results. Attorney Karimi has been successful using all of these DUI defenses. There is no way to know for sure what the results of your case will be, but call today to find out more about your defense options. Steve Karimi is dedicated to his clients and will stop at nothing to make sure that you are happy with your results.