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How Does a DUI in Florida Affect a Commercial Driver's License?

When the holder of a commercial driver's license (CDL) has been arrested and charged with a DUI in Florida, their primary concern typically is, "How will this DUI charge impact my CDL?" This is because professional truck drivers earn their living by hauling goods throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Therefore, the truck driver's income solely depends on their driving privileges and good standing with The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and law enforcement. When a truck driver has been pulled over by the police, and the officer is placing the driver under arrest for DUI, the officer is required to review the implied consent warning with the driver. In the State of Florida, if the suspected drunk driver is a CDL holder, law enforcement is required to read a special implied consent warning that further pertains to a driver holding a CDL with the driver.

The federal and state regulations that govern drunk driving charges and commercial driver's licenses are complex. Often times, law enforcement officers make procedural errors when giving a commercial motor vehicle operator or CDL holder an explanation of the applicable regulations and rules. By way of example only, the law enforcement officer may forget to read the driver both consent warnings. This is a common occurrence because DUIs committed by a CDL holder or DUIs committed in a commercial motor vehicle do not happen often.

As in the case of a holder of a regular Florida driver's license, after the driver has been arrested and charged with drunk driving, the CDL licensee only has ten calendar days to request an administrative hearing to defend their driving privileges.

If you are a commercial truck driver or a Florida CDL holder, it is important that you speak with Musca Law as quickly as possible to preserve your legal rights and financial interests. Our legal professionals represent commercial truck drivers and CDL holders in all traffic and criminal matters such as DUI, DUI manslaughter, traffic violations, traffic infractions, hit-and-run charges, and other criminal cases throughout Florida. Our experienced CDL defense lawyers can help you protect your CDL and your livelihood as a commercial truck driver. Contact Musca Law 24/7 at (888) 484-5057 and learn more about how our firm can assist you.

Holders of a Commercial Driver's License Must Be Read a Special Implied Consent Warning

Suspending a CDL requires that the law enforcement officer who is placing the driver under arrest to review, with the driver, a special implied consent warning. This special implied consent warning is only applicable to holders of a CDL. The special implied consent warning is as follows:

  • Drivers who decline to submit to a breath or urine test will have their commercial driving privileges suspended for twelve months for the first test refusal and a permanent CDL suspension for a second breath or urine test refusal.
     
  • Refusing to submit to a breath or urine test when law enforcement requests you to submit to the chemical testing will result in such evidence being allowed in the defendant's criminal case.

Law enforcement officers often make mistakes in reading the consent warnings to CDL holders and commercial truck drivers while conducting a DUI investigation. This is one of the reasons why you should contact an experienced Florida DUI defense lawyer as quickly as possible to protect your legal rights and financial interests.

Notice of the Disqualification of a Commercial Driver's License in the State of Florida

After an individual has been arrested for a DUI-related crime, the CDL holder will get a notification stating that their CDL has been disqualified, according to Florida Statute Section 322.64. A commercial truck driver or a holder or a CDL will be informed when the driver refuses to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, and/or the driver has a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08% or higher.

The notification will also explain whether the CDL holder is qualified to obtain a driver's permit and if the driver's CDL was suspended. Unless the holder of a CDL is deemed ineligible for a number of reasons, this notice will serve as a temporary's driver's license. The notice will include an expiration date of ten calendar days after the notice's date. The temporary driver's permit does not authorize the driver to drive a commercial truck or vehicle.

Pursuant to the notification, the operator may ask the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to evaluate the driving privilege disqualification within ten days of the notification date. A copy of the notification, also known as form number HSMV 79005, is given to the operator, the law enforcement officer's agency, and a DHSMV hearing officer.

Special Notice Requirements in Cases When a DUI is Committed in a Commercial Motor Vehicle

According to Florida Statute Section 322.64, the aforementioned notices are only given to a motor vehicle operator who

(i) was actually in control of a commercial vehicle or who decides not to undergo a blood, breath or urine test; and

(ii) holds a Florida commercial driver's license and was in physical controlling a non-commercial vehicle, or was the driver of the said motor vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more.

The notice also gives an overview of the circumstances and facts and police officer's opinion that the operator was driving a commercial vehicle subsequent to consuming alcohol or intoxicating drugs. This notice will also list any other citations charged to the driver's driving record.

A final ruling will be issued, and the notification will be provided to the CDL holder or commercial truck driver. The accused may petition an informal or formal review of his or her commercial driver's license disqualification. Should the accused not petition a review inside of ten days of the day of the notification, he or she will relinquish their right to obtain a disqualification review.

In an informal review, the accused is required to submit a petition for a disqualification review in writing and send the request to the location given on the backside of the notice form. As previously mentioned, this petition needs to be submitted within ten calendar days after the disqualification date. The petition also needs to include the accused's full name, address, driver license number date of birth, work and residence phone numbers, the county where the disqualification happened, and the date of the disqualification notice. The review is confined to an examination of the materials that the accused has submitted in addition to the evidence given by a law enforcement officer or correctional officer.

A formal review requires the capacity to be heard and present witnesses. The CDL license holder has no more than ten calendar days of the date of the disqualification to submit their formal request in writing. The review request must be presented to the location written on the backside of the notice form. The request must also include the accused's full name, address, date of birth, work and residence phone numbers, driver's license number, the disqualification date, and the county where the driver's disqualification occurred.

After the formal review, based on information collected, the administrative hearing officer will determine whether there is adequate cause to amend, sustain, or revoke the disqualification. The accused may appeal the hearing officer's determination by petitioning the court for Certiorari to the proper venue within thirty days after the order, according to Florida Statute Section 322.31.

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