If you have been arrested on charges of DUI, you are likely feeling very anxious about your future—with good reason. A Georgia DUI conviction can have very far-reaching consequences, including jail time, fines, fees, the necessity of having an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and even losing your driver’s license for a period of time. If, however, you have a commercial driver’s license, and your job depends on that license, you could be facing more harsh consequences from your Georgia DUI charges.

Across the nation—and in the state of Georgia—many people are charged with DUI each and every day. The vast majority of those charged with DUI are good people who simply made a bad decision. In fact, most statistics show that about a quarter of all those arrested and convicted of driving under the influence are repeat offenders, meaning 75 percent are facing a first DUI offense. Perhaps you are one of the 75 percent who, up until now, have a clean criminal record. Being convicted of a DUI can have far-reaching consequences for your job and your life particularly if you have a commercial driver’s license.

Commercial Vehicles and DUI Charges

There are millions of commercial vehicles on the roadways across the nation, from large commercial trucks to buses. These vehicles are larger and heavier than passenger cars, and those who drive commercial vehicles are required to obtain a special driver’s license, known as a commercial driver’s license.  

Commercial vehicles are typically designed to transport property or people, and those who drive commercial vehicles have an added responsibility, due to the size of the vehicles and, in the case of a bus, the human lives being transported. The sheer size of a commercial vehicle makes it an added danger to those in smaller vehicles, therefore a person driving a commercial vehicle who is charged with DUI is likely to face much harsher penalties. Further, these penalties can apply even if a driver is operating his or her personal vehicle when charged with DUI.

The blood alcohol concentration limit, across the nation, is 0.08 percent, however if you have a Georgia commercial driver’s license, the BAC limit is 0.04 percent. If you are arrested for DUI while driving a non-commercial vehicle—but you have a commercial driver’s license—then the BAC limit is 0.08 percent. Either way, you are likely to face additional penalties, both administrative and criminal, and could lose your ability to work for at least a period of time. If you have a commercial driver’s license and you have been charged with a Georgia DUI, you should know:

  • If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you could lose your commercial driver’s license for one year.
  • If you are convicted of DUI, you will lose your commercial driver’s license for one year—or up to three years if you were transporting hazardous cargo which require a placard.
  • If you are convicted of a second DUI, you could lose your commercial driver’s license for life. Under certain circumstances, you could be eligible for reinstatement of your commercial driver’s license after ten years
  • In addition to losing your commercial driver’s license, if you are convicted of a first-time DUI, you could face a fine from $300-$1,000, a minimum of 24 hours in jail, and a maximum of 12 months in jail, up to 40 hours of community service, up to twelve months of probation, participation in a DUI Alcohol Risk Reduction Program, and a clinical evaluation and treatment.
  • You will face even harsher penalties for each subsequent DUI conviction, and you could find yourself unable to ever have a job which requires a commercial driver’s license.
  • Harsher penalties will be imposed if a person is hurt or killed while you are driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence.

Where to Turn if You Have Been Charged with DUI and Have a Commercial License

As you can see, you face harsher penalties, as well as potentially losing your livelihood if you are convicted of DUI and you have a commercial driver’s license. You need an experienced Georgia DUI attorney who will work hard on your behalf to obtain the very best outcome possible. Melanie Ellwanger will be in your corner and on your side from the moment she takes your case, and throughout the case. With unique experience as a prosecutor, defense attorney and judicial candidate, Melanie Ellwanger will defend your charges aggressively and skillfully. Call Melanie Ellwanger at 404-803-3105 for a dedicated, knowledgeable attorney who truly cares about your future.