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Commercial Drivers in Florida Are Subject to a One Year Driver’s License Suspension for a DUI

In Florida, when a person is arrested for a DUI, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will normally suspend that person’s driver’s license for six or more months based on the arrest. The DHSMV will do this immediately and irrespective of what happens in the criminal case. In other words, a DUI arrest normally triggers an automatic driver’s license suspension that takes effect and continues even if the criminal DUI case later gets dropped, gets reduced to a reckless driving charge or has some other favorable result. The length of the DHSMV suspension depends on the circumstances- prior DUI cases, whether the suspect refused the breathalyzer test, etc. There are ways to challenge the DHSMV suspension. Speaking to an experienced Florida DUI lawyer is the best way to understand the ramifications of a DUI arrest and what steps can be taken to fight the charges and the suspension.

There are special penalties for people who drive commercial trucks who get arrested for DUI. Under Florida law, if a person is convicted of a DUI and has a commercial driver’s license, that commercial driver’s license will be suspended for one year. This is true whether the person pleads guilty or no contest. The suspension also occurs if the commercial driver is driving his/her noncommercial vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest and is not working at the time. So, the law does not require the commercial driving to be driving a commercial vehicle for the commercial driver’s license to be suspended. If the DUI suspect is driving a commercial vehicle and is stopped by a police officer, he/she is subject to a one year suspension of the commercial driver’s license if his/her blood alcohol content is only 0.04 or higher. That is half of the legal limit for DUI’s in Florida. Basically, drinking almost any alcohol and driving a commercial vehicle may not be enough for a DUI conviction in a regular criminal case, but would be enough for a one year commercial driver’s license suspension and other sanctions under Florida law. Anyone who has a commercial driver’s license risks fines and losing his/her commercial license and ability to work in that field for a year if he/she is driving a commercial vehicle after having any alcohol or driving a private vehicle after having a couple of drinks or more. The breathalyzer tests can be unpredictable and results vary for different people. A reading of 0.04 is very low and could be achieved with one drink. A reading of 0.08 can be achieved after a couple of drinks depending on the person.