What Are The Collateral Consequences Of Having A CDL DUI Conviction?
The problem with having a CDL DUI conviction on your record is huge because unless your employer is willing to keep you on in another type of job until you can get your commercial back, whether you go back to your employer or another employer once you get reinstated and get your commercial back, many employers will not take you back or take on an employee that has a DUI on their record. That’s for two reasons. One is the risk of taking someone on who is subject to possible lawsuits but in most cases it is because of the insurance, because the insurance rates are so much higher for all these companies and the insurance company will say we are not going to insure you as a commercial driver who has a DUI on their record. That’s typically when someone has it on their record for the past four or five years, if it’s longer than that typically that’s not as big a deal for them as when you have something within a three to five year period.
What Are The Biggest Mistakes That CDL Drivers Make Which They Can Generally Avoid?
A common mistake when someone has a regular Class C motorcycle or commercial license in California. A lot of times, the driver’s case is made worse by blowing into the preliminary alcohol screening machine. When you do that you are giving the police department evidence against you. Another area is doing field sobriety tests. You are giving the cops evidence against you. These are all optional things. You do not need to do field sobriety tests, you can respectfully decline the preliminary alcohol screening device, the breath test on the side of the road. The officers at that point will usually arrest you if you decline all this stuff because they see some type of bad driving and they probably will claim that they smell the odor of alcohol beverage on your person.
Will that make the case stick without a preliminary blow or without a field sobriety test? Maybe, maybe not but respectfully declining these is allowed and that’s what most attorneys would advise people to do in DUI situations because this allows a number of things. It allows someone to have the alcohol that is absorbed or is absorbing into their body, it allows a longer period of time to burn off and if you do a blood test which typically takes longer to do than another breath test, there is a better chance of coming back under a 0.08. The field sobriety test is not always recorded. If an officer is writing down observations and these are tests that you have not practiced for and are not trained in. How many tests have you taken that really counted or meant something when you were not given any chance to prepare? That’s what’s going on here.
You are giving a test basically having never practiced any of this, at the side of the road, late at night. You are scared, there are flashing lights, and there is a cop threatening to arrest you and take you to jail and potentially take away your livelihood, if you are at or over a 0.08. Unfortunately, most people do take the breath test on the side of the road because they may blow below the limit. That’s not always the case, in fact that’s usually not the case. I have had cases where, I’ll give you a recent example. I had a client who recently was in a checkpoint, decline to do the breath test on the side of the road, got arrested anyways. However when they did the blood test at the station later on that client came back under the legal limit. The DA did not have a preliminary breath test that they could have used to show that the client’s blood alcohol level was high which they would have probably had if the client had taken the breath test.
Every case is different and I know people like to cooperate with the police department, with the officers. Cooperating in most cases is a good thing, people being polite is a good thing. You can be polite when you are pulled over for a DUI whether you have a commercial license or not but the other thing that people do is a breath test and breath testing is something where it’s a lot harder to beat these machines than a blood test while some say that a blood test is a lot more accurate, there is a lot that can go wrong with a blood test. There are a lot more things that we can show a jury that may be wrong with blood testing. Once you are told you are under arrest after you’ve refused the field sobriety tests or the preliminary alcohol screening device and then you have a choice of test.
The problem is a lot of police officers have the evidential machine with them and can get you tested very quickly and you don’t have more time to burn off. So that’s why choosing a blood test can be a better option.
Additional Information About CDL DUI Cases
What I would advise any commercial driver or anybody that drinks at all is to have a handheld breath machine that works, a reliable one, not one that you got for $20 but something that is more expensive and can get calibrated and is just more reliable. Keep it in your car, especially the commercial drivers because it is so easy to wake up the next morning and still have alcohol in your system. Alcohol can absorb very quickly. You can get to a high level if you are drinking a lot very quickly but the burn off once you are fully absorbed is usually a lot slower. The burn off is less than a drink an hour. Most of us burn off at a 0.05 to a 0.18 per hour, that’s less than a drink and if you go to bed at midnight and you’ve had some drinks or a good number of drinks and you get up at 6:00 or 7:00 or 8:00 and you hit the road, you may have alcohol in your system, you may be at risk for a CDL DUI.
So you need to have that machine in your car. It is very important, it’s just common sense. It’s a small investment to help protect you and your livelihood which means protecting your family, your mortgage, your job, your career and your future because if you get convicted of a DUI, it’s on your permanent record which won’t go away. It might go with an expungement down the road after probation is over but a conviction can still be seen even if a case is potentially later dismissed. So the insurance and the cost, it’s a very small investment versus what happens if you get convicted of a DUI or if you have to fight a DUI.
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