Anyone who pays attention to media reports regarding law enforcement crackdowns on drunk drivers likely already realizes that the law in Minnesota general treats drunk drivers severely. Between possible jail time, fines, court costs, license suspensions and skyrocketing insurance rates, the punishment for drunk driving can be overwhelming.
Drunk driving with a CDL
One group that is made to feel the full weight of Minnesota’s harsh DWI laws is commercial truck drivers. Though it might surprise many people, operators of commercial motor vehicles are actually held to a different legal standard than every other driver in the state. This special status means that those drivers who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), face especially punitive measures if they are found to be driving a vehicle while under the influence.
Difference in acceptable BAC levels
Many people in Minnesota incorrectly assume that the state’s 0.08 percent BAC limit applies to drivers across the board. In Minnesota, and in many other states, a different level is applies to those who operate commercial motor vehicles. Here in Minnesota, the legal limit for commercial drivers who are operating a commercial vehicle at the time is half that of normal drivers. This means that a commercial truck driver in the state could be found guilty of DWI by driving a commercial vehicle while having a BAC level equal to or greater than 0.04 percent.
Penalties for impaired driving
Minnesota law says that drivers with class A, B, or C commercial driver’s licenses are subject to disqualification of their CDL privileges if found driving under the influence of alcohol. Holders of Minnesota CDLs will be disqualified for one year if they are convicted of drunk driving while operating any type of vehicle, commercial or otherwise. The same disqualification period applies to those who refuse to submit to a test to determine their blood alcohol concentration. Even harsher are the punishments handed down to drivers who are transporting hazardous materials when pulled over. These commercial drivers face a three-year disqualification if convicted of drunk driving.
Impact on commercial drivers
As we’ve said, Minnesota’s drunk driving laws are severe for almost everyone, but the state’s legislation is often even more difficult for those who drive for a living. This is because commercial drivers depend on their CDL to provide financial support for their families. A driver’s license for these people is not merely a convenience, but a way to put food on the table.
Consult with a Minneapolis DWI Attorney
Any restrictions that impact your ability to earn a living should be taken very seriously, underlining just how important it is to consult an experienced Minnesota DWI defense attorney who can help guide you through the difficult process. If you have a CDL and have recently been charged with a DUI, contact respected criminal lawyer Douglas Kans for a free consultation.