Commercial license DUIs in California can result in a 1 year class A license suspension for a 1st DUI, or a lifetime class A prohibition for 2nd DUIs. These suspensions can occur through DMV administrative action or through criminal Court conviction.
Commercial license DUIs can occur in privately operated vehicles, or while driving in a commercial Vehicle for hire.
0.04%BAC:California’s lower limit for commercial license DUI.
Under California Vehicle Code 23152(c), driving a commercial vehicle for hire with a Bacat or above 0.04% is a criminal Offense, with up to six months in County jail for a lst offense, Under cvc 13353, the DMV can take license action against the driver by imposing up to a 1 year license suspension.
The consequences for a Commercial License DUI in California can be very serious: with up to lifetime suspension from the DMV for Class A license holders in certain cases. Commercial license holders (drivers with a “Class A” license) face additional penalties and scrutiny because they have a commercial license, whether or not the DUI occurred in a vehicle operated for hire. The added scrutiny applied to commercial drivers is meant as a protection to the driving public, who could be placed in more danger should a driver of a large commercial vehicle operate their vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. California law specifically deals with commercial DUI with more harsh standards:
- Lower BAC threshold for DUI Cases (0.04% versus the typical 0.08% for standard Class C license holders)
- Increased suspension requirements if a Class A holder is found to have committed a DUI offense
- Different penalties exist for cases where the Class A license holder was driving a personal vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest vs. driving a commercial vehicle for hire
CVC 23152 (C): 0.04% BAC DUI Commercial License DUI in California
DMV Consequences: Class A license suspension for DUI in California.
For class A license holders, the DMV will suspend the Class A privileges if the driver is caught driving under the influence:
1. First offense: 1 year Class A driving privileges suspension
2. Second offense: Lifetime license suspension for Class A privileges
When operating a commercial vehicle, the driver cannot have a measured blood alcohol level above 0.04%. When driving a personal vehicle using their Class C privileges, the driver is limited to a 0.08% blood alcohol concentration.
Court Consequences for Commercial License DUI in California:
California’s Vehicle Code section 23152 regulates DUI offenses for both Class C and Class A license holders. CVC 23152 is divided into separate paragraphs, with CVC 23152(c) covering DUI cases where a commercial driver is operating a commercial vehicle for hire.
When a commercial driver is driving in a commercial vehicle for hire, more stringent DUI rules apply:
-0.04% BAC as opposed to the typical 0.08%
-Commercial Drivers must wait 8 hours between drinking and operating a commercial vehicle
-Class A operators face longer license suspensions
In court, the same defenses that a typical DUI case can involve can be useful in defending commercial license holders. Defenses in DUI cases can be legal, factual or scientific in nature, depending on what happened in the case.
Commercial DUI California Useful Links:
CHP DUI Enforcement Manual The California Highway Patrol is the state’s largest law enforcement agency. The CHP is the best equipped and best funded law enforcement agency to regulate DUI’s and DUI enforcement in the state of California.
California DMV DUI procedures: This .pdf gives a good overview of the California DMV policies and procedures for DUI cases.