Jacksonville CDL DUI Attorney for Commercial Truck Drivers

A DUI charge is a problem for anyone. A conviction could mean a fine, driver’s license suspension, higher insurance rates, probation, and even jail time.  But, if you’re a commercial truck driver, the risks are magnified. Florida driving under the influence laws are stricter for those operating commercial vehicles. And, a conviction could mean loss or suspension of your CDL, interrupting your livelihood or ending your career. 

If you’re a commercial trucker who is facing DUI charges, it’s in your best interest to immediately speak with an experienced Jacksonville DUI attorney. Attorney Matthew Lufrano has dedicated his entire legal career to fighting for people who have been charged with crimes in Florida. He has a thorough knowledge of CDL DUI laws, extensive trial experience ranging from misdemeanor cases to murder, and has been designated a Board Certified Expert in Criminal Trial law by the Florida bar. 

Mr. Lufrano offers free consultations to ensure that you fully understand: 

  • How Florida CDL DUI law and any other applicable statutes apply to your specific situation
  • Strengths and weaknesses in your case
  • The possible options for resolving your DUI charge

The more you know, the better equipped you will be to make good decisions about your next steps. Schedule your free consultation right now. Just call 904-513-3905 or contact us by filling out the contact form on this site to get started. 

What Happens if I Get a DUI with a CDL? 

The most significant difference between the general driving under the influence law in Florida and DUI law as it applies to commercial motor vehicle operators is that operating a commercial vehicle with any amount of alcohol in your system violates the law. 

In a general DUI case, the prosecution must prove either that the driver was operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or that the driver’s blood alcohol level or breath alcohol level (which you may see referred to as “BAL” or “BAC”) was .08 or higher. If you’re operating a commercial vehicle, the rules are stricter. 

First, Florida law specifically states that “A person who has any alcohol in his or her body may not drive or be in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle in this state.” That means even a trace amount of alcohol–.01 or even lower if measurable–could result in a moving violation. This is a non-criminal offense, subject to a fine like other traffic tickets. A driver who violates this provision must also be immediately placed “out of service” for 24 hours. 

If the BAL / BAC is .04 or higher or the driver is found to be “under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance,” that triggers another Florida statute: one that disqualifies a person from holding a commercial driver’s license for a year. If the person is transporting hazardous materials at the time of the offense, the disqualification is for three years. 

A second offense, or a single offense in combination with another serious offense such as leaving the scene of an accident or refusing to submit to BAL / BAC testing will result in permanent disqualification. 

What if I’m Not Driving a Commercial Vehicle? 

A CDL-holder who is operating a non-commercial vehicle is subject to the same DUI statute as a non-commercial driver, in that the prosecution must prove that the driver is either “under the influence” or has a BAL of .08 or greater. However, a first conviction triggers a one-year disqualification from holding a commercial driver’s license. A second offense or single offense in combination with one of the other listed offenses will result in permanent disqualification.

What if My CDL Isn’t Florida-Issued? 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has its own set of regulations, which kick in when a CDL-holder:

  • Operates a commercial motor vehicle with a BAL / BAC of .04 or greater, or
  • Drives under the influence as defined by state law, or
  • Refuses to submit to testing as required by the relevant jurisdiction

The federal regulations impose the same disqualifications as apply under state law: 

  • One year for a first conviction or refusal
  • Three years for a first conviction or refusal when the commercial vehicle was carrying hazardous materials
  • Lifetime disqualification for a second conviction or refusal, or a combination of convictions

In other words, prior convictions or refusals from another state will impact your qualification for a CDL in Florida, and Florida convictions or refusals will impact your access to a commercial driver’s license anywhere in the country.

Talk to an Experienced Jacksonville CDL DUI Lawyer

As you can see, driving under the influence can put your career as a commercial driver at risk. A single DUI conviction for operating your personal vehicle under the influence or operating your commercial vehicle at .04 or greater can knock you off the job for a year. One of these incidents combined with a prior refusal or certain other offenses can prevent you from ever driving commercially again. 

With your livelihood on the line, you should get knowledgeable guidance right away. Call 904-513-3905 to schedule your free consultation with Attorney Matt Lufrano, an experienced and knowledgeable Jacksonville criminal law attorney.

Frequently Asked Questions about CDL DUI Charges

Do I lose my CDL if I get a DUI?

The short answer is yes. If you are convicted of driving under the influence or of operating a commercial vehicle with an alcohol concentration of at least .04, you will be disqualified from holding a commercial driver’s license for a year. A second conviction could disqualify you for life.

What if I have a CDL and I refuse a breathalyzer test?

Blood or breath test refusal is treated just like a conviction with regard to a Florida CDL. Either will trigger a one-year disqualification. Any combination of two convictions or refusals means lifetime disqualification.

Can I get a hardship license after a CDL DUI first offense?

Florida does not issue restricted licenses that permit the holder to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

How do I get my CDL back after a DUI?

A CDL is not automatically reinstated after a DUI disqualification. Once the disqualification period has expired and you have fulfilled all requirements of the court, you may re-apply for a CDL. You will be required to pay a reinstatement fee and retake the necessary tests.

Can I get a CDL if I have a DUI on my record?

The restrictions and application process for a CDL after a DUI or related offense are similar to the reinstatement process for a former commercial driver’s license holder who was disqualified due to a conviction or refusal. After the disqualification period has expired, you may apply for a CDL. Two or more convictions or refusals, or a combination of the two, will result in a lifetime disqualification.

Can I avoid a CDL disqualification with a withheld adjudication?

No. Florida law specifically prohibits courts from offering withheld adjudication in driving under the influence cases. A separate Florida statute makes withholding adjudication in connection with traffic offenses off limits for CDL holders.

Can I get a job as a commercial driver with a DUI?

If you succeed in getting your commercial driver’s license reinstated after a CDL DUI first offense, you may be able to return to work as a commercial driver. However, it’s important to know that different companies have different policies. Some may choose not to hire a driver with any DUI conviction on their record. Others may consider a driver with a past conviction, but may not be willing to make that hire soon after the one-year disqualification ends.