A DWI or DUI can be devastating for anyone, but for CDL (commercial driver’s license) holders, a DUI offense can be more severe. Truck drivers, bus drivers, and other professionals owning a CDL operate under higher legal standards than their non-commercial counterparts when it comes to impaired driving.
This is outlined in the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and Nevada State laws, and there is a good reason behind this standard.
The stakes in commercial motor vehicles are higher than those of typical drivers. An intoxicated driver is a serious liability to their employer and is a threat to public safety. Considering you rely on your CDL to earn a living, a DUI can threaten your livelihood. If faced with such a situation, consider the services of Las Vegas commercial driver’s license (CDL) DUI attorney to prepare the proper defense.
This detailed guide offers an overview of Las Vegas CDL DUI laws, the possible penalties, and how an experienced Nevada DUI attorney will help.
Overview of Nevada CDL DUI Laws
Nevada law highlights harsh penalties for those arrested while driving under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol. If you are facing a DUI CDL charge, the laws governing typical drivers will apply to your situation, and you’ll also face additional penalties. Also, the implications on your CDL are above those of the traditional driving privilege.
NRS 484C.120 defines CDL DUI in Nevada as when a commercial driver with a BAC of between 0.04 – 0.08 percent is in actual control of a CMV (commercial motor vehicle) on the highway or property where the public can access.
The 0.4 percent lower limit is half of what applies to non-commercial drivers. So if you are a CDL holder, you may be arrested with a 0.06 percent BAC, while a non-commercial driver would not be charged with the same percentage. It is also possible to be arrested if you appear impaired by controlled substances or alcohol, even if your BAC is below 0.04 percent. Even if you don’t appear intoxicated, the officer might order you off the road for 24 hours.
Notably, all driver categories face the same standards for DUID (driving under the influence of drugs). For instance, both regular and commercial drivers have a legal limit for driving with cannabis in their system, which should never go beyond two nanograms per milliliter.
Possible CDL DUI Penalties in Las Vegas
The penalties depend on the facts of your case. The primary determinant is the number of preceding DUI convictions. As a result, the first, second, and third convictions have different penalties.
A DUI crime is deemed the first offense if the defendant doesn’t have prior DUI charges in the last seven years. First offenders face misdemeanor charges, and conviction may attract the following possible penalties and fines:
- Jail term of 2 days – six months, or community service of 48 to 96 hours
- Fines between $400 to $1,000
- Compulsory attendance to a Victim Impact Panel
- Possible requirement to join a state DUI school
- Possibility of joining a substance abuse program
- Suspension of your non-commercial driver’s license for 90 days
A Las Vegas commercial drivers’ license DUI offense is viewed to be a second offense if the defendant has previously faced a conviction within the past seven years. Just like the first offense, this is also considered a misdemeanor and may attract the following penalties and fines:
- Jail term of between ten days to six months
- Fines of between $750 to $1,000
- Compulsory attendance to a Victim Impact Panel
- A possible requirement to join a state DUI school
- Possible requirement to enter a substance abuse program
- Suspension of your non-commercial license for a year
A CDL DUI offense in Nevada can be considered the third if you’ve faced two similar previous convictions within the last seven-year period. A third DUI incident is classified as a Class B Felony and may attract the following possible fines and penalties:
- One two six years in a state facility
- Fines between $2,000 – $5,000
- Suspension of non-commercial driver’s license for three years
In the three cases, you must provide evidence of financial responsibility. This is presented as the Nevada SR22 insurance policy and must align with the state-provided minimum limit for auto insurance liability coverage. If the defendant is below 21 years, they will face similar charges as those over 21 for a similar crime.
Your attorney will help you create a strong defense against the conviction to help you achieve a lenient outcome.
Possible Defenses for a CDL DUI
The most common defenses that your Las Vegas commercial driver’s license DUI attorney will rely on to fight your DUI charges include:
- You weren’t under the influence but instead suffered from exhaustion. Your state presented similar symptoms to being high or intoxicated.
- The vehicle you were operating wasn’t a commercial vehicle.
- You encountered a medical episode whose signs resembled alcohol intoxication, such as a diabetic coma or seizure.
- You had a dental procedure like a bridge that may have caused mouth alcohol pooling that led to inaccurate results during the BAC test.
- You suffered from the auto-brewery syndrome, acid reflux, or any other health condition that would register a higher BAC level.
- There wasn’t any reasonable suspicion for the officer to make the traffic stop.
- The officer had no probable cause to arrest you.
- They failed to administer the test correctly, or the testing device was defective.
- Your BAC test samples were contaminated.
- You breathed the fumes from the bus or truck for long, and you unknowingly became intoxicated. This requires evidence that the vehicle had a specific defect that you didn’t have control over.
Your attorney will use any of the above potential defenses to convince the court to dismiss or reduce the charge. If the prosecution declines to dismiss your CDL DUI charge, they may have it reduced to a reckless driving offense as an element of a plea deal. If you’re a first offender, reckless driving will lead to a CDL.
Partner with a Reliable Las Vegas CDL DUI Lawyer
Nevada state laws have more stringent penalties for CDL drivers than their standard counterparts. A lawsuit may prevent you from earning your regular income, and the effect can be felt by your dependents as well. Even more, a conviction could permanently dent your record.
Ralph Schwartz is a trusted CDL DUI Lawyer in Las Vegas and can help you achieve a favorable outcome in cases such as these. With over 25 years of experience handling CDL DUI cases in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada, the attorney will ensure your rights are protected and develop a solid defense for you. Reach out today, and we’ll discuss the solution.