Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are very serious in Virginia. In particular, those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) should understand the impact a DUI will have on their life. Prosecution will pursue a CDL DUI case much more harshly than a regular DUI. This could lead to a loss of occupation and even the potential for severe restriction or even an inability in obtaining another job once a DUI is on a CDL holder’s record. If you have been charged with a DUI in Henrico County and have a CDL, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced local attorney. They will be able to craft a unique defense that is tailored to your situation to ensure the best possible outcome.
If an individual is charged with a DUI while operating a commercial vehicle with a commercial license, they need to understand that prosecutors will be much harsher and more severe on them in court. There is an understanding among the judges and prosecutors that CDL drivers are held to a higher level of responsibility for operating commercial vehicles in the state of Virginia, and there are harder requirements to obtain these licenses. Therefore, the judges and prosecutors are routinely stricter when it comes to CDL drivers.
If a CDL driver is charged but not convicted, they will typically be able to retain their CDL and may be able to retain their ability to work. However, this will depend on what the exact outcome of the case is. If the case is dismissed outright, then in many instances they can get the CDL reinstated and a great deal of their ability to return to work will depend on whether their employer is aware of the charge. If the case is reduced to reckless driving but still comes with a license suspension of any sort, then their CDL will be significantly impacted.
In Virginia, if you are a CDL holder and you are charged with a DUI, your license will be suspended immediately, pending the outcome of the case. In many cases your employer will also take punitive action against you until the case is resolved. It is best to consult with a Henrico CDL DUI lawyer to understand the specifics regarding your case as it varies from case to case.
If you are convicted of a DUI and you are a CDL holder, you will be disqualified from using your CDL for a minimum of one year; however, the penalties can also be in place longer than that. In addition, many employers will not insure or employ a CDL driver who is convicted of a DUI, even several years after sentencing.
The long-term implications of a DUI on a CDL holder can be severe. For a first offense there is an automatic, one-year disqualification imposed. However, the disqualification can often last longer than that. If there is a second or subsequent DUI offense, the holder will be disqualified from a CDL for life. In other words, they will no longer be allowed to have a CDL in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
If it is a second or subsequent offense, Virginia law declares that you are ineligible to operate a commercial vehicle. If your profession requires you to have a CDL of any sort, you will lose your job. You can petition to have your license reinstated, but in most cases, especially if it involves a second or subsequent offense, the state will not authorize you to get a CDL again.
CDL drivers are held to a much higher standard in court. The courts impose a greater responsibility on CDL drivers because driving is their employment. Additionally, in many cases CDL drivers can be hauling items that could be considered toxic or dangerous should there be an accident or spill due to drug and/or alcohol-induced intoxication.
The other thing courts look at is whether the vehicle which CDL drivers operate has the capacity to cause serious damage to other vehicles should there be an accident caused by their impairment. Additionally, because CDL holders are held to such a high standard in courts, there is no option for obtaining a restricted license.
The biggest thing a Henrico County CDL DUI attorney can do for a CDL holder is to attempt to get the charge reduced or dismissed, which can sometimes preserve their license. The main way to do this is to get the charge reduced from a DUI to reckless driving with a lesser charge. Each case varies substantially and therefore each defense must be individually tailored for the best possible outcome.
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