Commercial Driver DUI – Vehicle Code 23152(d)
If you are a commercial driver and are arrested for driving under the influence, you face extremely serious charges. Under California Vehicle Code 23152(d), it is unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor vehicle. 1 The blood alcohol content (BAC) required for unlawful driving as a driver of a regular, non-commercial vehicle is 0.08 %. However, as a commercial driver, you will be subject to a stricter BAC standard.
Prosecution of Commercial DUI Under Vehicle Code 23152(d)
In order for you to be convicted of violating Vehicle Code 23152(d), the prosecution must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You drove a vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or greater or refused to submit to a DUI test; and
- the vehicle you were driving was a commercial vehicle.
Sentencing and Punishment for VC 23152(d)
If you are convicted of commercial driver DUI under VC 23152(d), you face the following consequences:
- probationary measures (such as the installation of ignition interlock devices (breathalyzers) in your car or being unable to drive with any amount of alcohol in your system at all);
- up to 364 days in county jail;
- $390 to $1,000 fines;
- driving license suspension or revocation;
- three months to three years in a rehabilitation program.
In addition, if you are a commercial driver, you are subject to more severe licensing penalties. If you are convicted of any DUI related offense (even in your personal car), you may be prohibited from operating a commercial vehicle for one year. If you have more than one DUI, your commercial driver’s license may be permanently taken away. Further, as a commercial driver you will be unable to receive a restricted license during your suspension period on both commercial and non-commercial driving privileges.
Possible Defenses to VC 23152(d)
If you have been charged with Commercial Driver DUI, a skilled criminal defense attorney can raise several defenses on your behalf. These defenses may include:
- False chemical test results. An experienced attorney can challenge the accuracy of the blood or breath tests used to convict you of a DUI. If your attorney can prove that faulty testing equipment was used in your test, you BAC test results cannot be used against you.
- Authorities did not follow proper arrest procedures. Your DUI charge can be dismissed if the police did not have probable cause (a legitimate reason) to pull you over and arrest you in the first place. If you were not exhibiting behavior such as swerving or otherwise driving erratically, the police may not have had the authority to pull you over.
- You were not actually driving. If you exceeded the legal BAC limits and were inside your vehicle, but were not actually driving it at the time of your arrest, you may not be charged with driving under the influence. It is possible, however, to be charged with other drinking-related offenses such as public intoxication.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Vehicle Code 23152(d)
At Wallin & Klarich, we frequently receive questions from those facing commercial DUI charges. These include:
What is a commercial motor vehicle?
According to vehicle code 15210, a commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle or combination of vehicles that requires a class A or class B or class C license with an endorsement issued pursuant to paragraph (2), (3), (4), or (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 15278. 2 Commercial vehicles in general are any type of motor vehicle used to transport goods or paid passengers. A vehicle which is manufactured to carry over 10 persons (such as a school bus) or hazardous materials are automatically considered commercial vehicles. 3 Other common examples include: taxi cabs, a double trailer, paid passenger buses, and trucks used to carry commercial cargo (such as gasoline or supermarket groceries).
If I have a commercial driver’s license but am not driving in the course of business, can I be convicted with a commercial DUI?
If you are a licensed commercial driver but are driving a regular car on personal time, you may not be convicted of a commercial DUI. However, if you are driving your commercial vehicle, even on personal time, you can be charged with violating VC 23152.
What is “rising blood alcohol level” and can it impact a commercial DUI charge?
It can take up to a few hours for alcohol to be fully present in your body. This may result in a chemical test, if taken hours after you are arrested, showing a higher BAC than what you really had at the time when you were driving. Under a regular DUI charge, “rising blood alcohol” can be a viable defense. However, if you are a commercial driver, VC 23152(d) allows a test result of 0.04 % or more taken up to three hours after the time of driving to be a rebuttable presumption. This means that a jury is allowed to assume that your BAC was 0.04% at the time of driving, even if that was not necessarily the case.
Call the Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich if you have been Charged with Commercial Driver DUI
If you are facing charges of driving under the influence in a commercial vehicle, you should contact our experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich right away. Our skilled attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients. We are confident that we can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is a skilled Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.