Washington DUI Charges for Commercial Drivers

Semi Truck on a Highway

The Campbell Law Firm Defends CDL Holders Against DUI and Physical Control Charges

If you earn your living as a driver and have a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL), a Washington DUI or physical control charge can be devastating for your career, and can dramatically impact your ability to earn a living.

Washington DUI charges can impact your CDL if even if you were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest.

With so much riding on a DUI charge, you need an experienced DUI defense lawyer in your corner, fighting to minimize the likelihood of a conviction and the consequences of a DUI charge.

Potential Consequences of a Washington DUI for CDL Holders

A Washington CDL holder who is arrested for DUI or physical control faces severe consequences, including hefty fines, possible jail time, and CDL disqualification.

Any Washington driver charged with a first-offense DUI faces up to 364 days in jail, fines between $990.50 and $5,000, and a 90 day license suspension.

The particular concerns for commercial drivers are: (1) the lower alcohol concentration threshold that can lead to a DUI conviction; and (2) revocation of a driver’s CDL privileges.

Under RCW 46.20.308, “a person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period of not less than one year if...the person has been convicted of a first violation...of”:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or any drug
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .04 or more or any measurable amount of THC
  • Driving a noncommercial motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more, or a THC concentration of 5.00 ng per milliliter of whole blood or more

If this is your second violation, you face a lifetime CDL suspension.

License Revocation After a DUI Charge

If you are a CDL holder and have been arrested for physical control or DUI, the Washington State Department of Licensing will provide a notice of intent to revoke your CDL and, in most cases, your personal driver’s license, as well.

Once you receive the notice of intent to suspend your license, you have 7 days in which to request a hearing to contest the suspension. In some cases, you may need to request one hearing to contest the suspension of your personal driver’s license and a second hearing to contest the suspension of your commercial driver’s license.

If you do not request a hearing to contest the license suspension, both your commercial license and your personal license will be suspended.

Even if you successfully contest the license suspension at the administrative hearing, the Department of Licensing will suspend your license if you are ultimately convicted of DUI.

Deferred prosecution is treated as a conviction for DUI for purposes of CDL suspension.

How a Washington DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help

A DUI charge is daunting, and even more so if your livelihood depends on your ability to drive.

An experienced DUI defense attorney can help you understand the nuances of a DUI or physical control charge if you have a CDL, and can represent you at the license suspension hearing(s).

A DUI defense lawyer will also protect your rights against violation by overly aggressive police officers or prosecutors, and can explain and help you navigate the far-reaching collateral consequences of a plea bargain or conviction.

A criminal defense lawyer stands by the constitutional guarantee that you are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and will fight to give you every advantage before the government takes away your license and your livelihood.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you minimize the likelihood of a license suspension, and reduce the detrimental effects of a conviction or guilty plea on your ability to earn a living.

Depending on the specific facts of your case, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain that will allow you to retain your CDL, or at least minimize the length of a license suspension.

If you or someone you know has a CDL and was charged with a DUI or physical control in Washington state, DUI defense attorney Justin Campbell can help.

We invite you to learn why clients choose us, and to contact the Campbell Law Firm today by calling (360) 588-4111, emailing info@lawjrc.com, or completing our online form.

The Campbell Law Firm proudly represents people in Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Friday Harbor, and all courts in Skagit County, including Anacortes, Mount Vernon, Burlington, and Sedro-Woolley.