Driving a Commercial Vehicle While Intoxicated in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia prohibits any person from driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs on public roadways. These DUI laws apply equally to personal and commercial vehicles. When a truck driver violates these requirements, commercial DUI is punishable separately under Virginia law. Upon conviction, the commercial driver can face criminal fines and jail time as well as suspension of their commercial driver’s license (CDL).
The state laws against commercial DUI appear under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-341.24. Under this section, it is unlawful to operate a commercial vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs and, thus, incapable of driving safely. From a general standpoint, Virginia law prohibits any person from operating a commercial vehicle while they are:
- Under the influence of alcohol;
- Under the influence of one or multiple narcotic drugs; or
- Under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs.
From a more precise standpoint, it is illegal to operate a commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 or:
- 02 milligrams of cocaine per liter of blood;
- 1 milligrams of methamphetamine per liter of blood;
- 01 milligrams of phencyclidine per liter of blood; or
- 1 milligrams of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine per liter of blood.
The criminal penalties for commercial DUI appear under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-341.28. for the most part, the commercial DUI penalties under this section escalate based on the number of previous offenses within a certain time period. For example:
- First Offense — Is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum fine of $250;
- Second Offense (within 10 years) — Remains a Class 1 misdemeanor but includes a mandatory minimum of $500 in fines and one month in jail;
- Third Offense (within 10 years) — Is a Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in fines and 90 days in prison; and
- Fourth or Subsequent Offense (within 10 years) — Remains a Class 6 felony but includes a mandatory minimum of $1,000 in fines and one year in prison.
On a related note, Section 341.28 does outline other penalties for commercial DUI. If a person operates a commercial vehicle with elevated BAC levels or while transporting a minor, there are separate penalties under Virginia law.
Commercial DUI also results in license disqualification under Code of Virginia Section 46.2-341.30. Disqualification is the commercial equivalent of license suspension or revocation for non-commercial drivers. Upon conviction for commercial DUI, the offender will lose their CDL for a period of time. In order to regain commercial driving privileges, the offender must complete a series of reinstatement requirements.
Let Us Help You Today
If you need legal help with commercial DUI or other criminal offenses in Virginia, it can be decidedly constructive to contact a trusted Leesburg DUI & DWI attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP provide clients with time-tested advice in the face of various criminal charges, including commercial DUI. If you need legal assistance with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.