What Commercial Drivers in Idaho Need to Know About the State’s DUI Laws

Commercial vehicles are larger and heavier than passenger cars, so they pose a bigger threat to other road users. That’s why the laws regulating commercial drivers are so strict. These drivers are held to a higher standard in several areas including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Not only is the legal limit lower, but the penalties can be harsher.

While anyone’s life can be altered by a DUI charge or convicted, commercial drivers are at greater risk. If you lose your driving privileges, you won’t just find it inconvenient to get around, you’ll lose your ability to earn a living. It is also important to note that commercial DUI penalties apply even if you were driving your personal vehicle at the time of the offense. If you want to hang on to your license and protect your livelihood, you’ll need to hire a DUI lawyer in Boise, ID. Let’s look at some of the major considerations in these types of cases.

Commercial Vehicles Defined

Commercial vehicles are those made or used to transport people or property. They can be:

  • Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more or more pounds or as determined by federal laws
  • Vehicles that are designed to transport 16 passengers or more, including the driver.
  • Vehicles that transport certain hazardous materials

DUIs Involving Commercial Drivers

For non-commercial drivers, the legal limit is 0.08 percent. However, the allowed blood alcohol level for commercial driver’s license holders is half that amount. Therefore, it’s illegal for you to drive or be in physical control of a moving vehicle if your BAC is 0.04 percent or more. In addition to the lower BAC threshold, you can also face harsher criminal and administrative penalties. A DUI conviction will prevent you from working at least temporarily since your license will be suspended.

Criminal Penalties

If it’s your first DUI, it’ll likely be a misdemeanor charge. As a result, you may have to deal with:

  • Jail time of between 24 hours and 12 months. Many first-time offenders are sentenced to one to ten days in jail.
  • A fine of between $300 and $1,000
  • 40 hours of community service.
  • Completion of an Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Program. This must be completed 90 days after you get out of jail or 120 days after you get convicted.
  • A clinical substance abuse evaluation and treatment, if deemed necessary
  • Probation for up to 12 months
  • License suspension. You’ll be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for a year. If you get a second DUI conviction, you could be prohibited from driving a commercial vehicle ever again.

The penalties for driving under the influence increase with each subsequent conviction. Therefore, even though a second DUI conviction is still a misdemeanor, the punishment will be harsher. Meanwhile, a third conviction is considered an aggravated or high misdemeanor. A fourth or subsequent conviction is a felony.

Usually, you have to notify your Idaho employer of any DUI conviction regardless of whether you were driving their vehicle or not. You have 30 days to tell your employer what happened.

What You Can Do to Get Back Your Commercial Driver’s License

You no doubt want to save your job. The only way to do so is to regain your commercial license since you won’t be able to work legally without it. Once the suspension period has passed, you’ll have to go through the Department of Transportation to have it reinstated. You must:

  • Pay a reinstatement fee
  • Show proof that you paid your fines
  • Meet any other requirements imposed by the court

Call an Experienced Boise DUI Attorney to Discuss Your Case

If you’re looking for a skilled, competent DUI attorney in Boise, reach out to the Trilogy Law Firm. Commercial DUI charges can cause significant disruption to your life and your livelihood. However, you shouldn’t give up hope. Our attorney will investigate your case and look for every opportunity to secure the best possible outcome. We want to protect your rights. However, you need to call us as soon as you can so we can get to work. Even if your license has already been suspended, we can appeal as long as the deadline has not passed. Schedule a consultation today and learn more about how we can assist you.

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