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Are Commercial Drivers' DUI Penalties Appropriate?

More and more it is becoming quite clear that for many people the penalties for Driving Under the Influence outside the courtroom are more severe than the court imposed penalties.  For example a Commercial Driver will become disqualified for a commercial license for a period of one year if their license is suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles at an administrative hearing following a DUI arrest.  Even if the Commercial Driver prevails at the administrative hearing if the driver is later convicted in court of the DUI this will result in the one year disqualification.

Also, if a Commercial Driver refuses to take a blood alcohol or breath alcohol test following a DUI arrest the driver will be disqualified for a year.  An even more dramatic penalty is imposed for a repeat offense of any of these circumstances, a lifetime disqualification will be imposed.  These severe penalties can occur even if the commercial driver’s offense occurs in his personal vehicle not related in any way to commercial driving.

Is this fair?  Are these penalties too harsh?   While other professions may be similarly affected (a Blog for another day) when an average person is convicted of a DUI it generally does not mean they are barred from pursuing their livelihood.   Is disqualification of a Commercial Driver’s License (the livelihood for the individual) based on personal driving unrelated to commercial interests, a penalty that is rationally related to the perceived harm.

A list of Commercial DUI penalties are set forth at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website  For more information about the potential effects of DUI penalties to your profession call (925) 900-5330 or see our website at