Ellensburg CDL DUI Lawyer
Fighting for Commercial Driver’s License Holders Accused of DUI
If you are a commercial driver's license holder suspected of driving under the influence, your entire future could be at stake. The arrest alone can result in your CDL being disqualified. That's right: Even if you have not been found guilty of the offense, you could still face severe consequences. The reason is that two processes happen in a DUI case. First is the administrative process, which is concerned with whether you failed or refused to take a chemical test. Second is the criminal process, which is concerned with whether you committed a violation. Both can result in CDL disqualification, but the first is immediate. Many CDL holders might not realize that their CDL can be disqualified whether they were driving a noncommercial or a commercial vehicle when suspected of drunk driving.
Are you a CDL holder facing DUI charges in Ellensburg? Reach out to Ellensburg Law for the serious defense you need. Our attorney has over 25 years of experience and is a former major crimes prosecutor. Because we have worked on the other side of the courtroom, we can bring to your case a wealth of insight into how the prosecution operates and use that to our advantage. We are familiar with Washington's DUI laws and the effects an arrest or conviction can have on your livelihood. We seek to protect your rights and your driving privileges.
What Is a DUI in Washington?
In Washington, a person can be charged with a DUI in two ways. First, they can face charges if they were driving a vehicle while affected by drugs and/or alcohol.
The second way a person can be charged is if they were operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration above the legal limit. If the CDL holder was operating a noncommercial vehicle, the legal alcohol concentration is 0.08. However, it's much lower when operating a commercial vehicle. In that case, the driver can be considered violating the law if their alcohol concentration was 0.04 or higher.
In either case, a conviction carries penalties that include jail time, fines, and loss of driving privileges, among others.
What Is the Administrative DUI Process?
As mentioned earlier, an Ellensburg CDL DUI matter involves an administrative process. This part of the case is handled by the Department of Licensing (DOL), and there are two ways it is triggered, which have to do with chemical testing.
After a CDL DUI arrest, the offer will request that the driver submits to a chemical test. The chemical test analyzes a breath or blood sample to determine the driver's alcohol concentration level.
The administrative process is triggered if the CDL driver:
- Refuses to participate in the chemical test, or
- Takes the chemical test but has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or higher (when operating a commercial vehicle) or 0.08 or higher (when operating a noncommercial vehicle).
Under either of these circumstances, the driver will be notified that the DOL intends to disqualify their CDL. They have only 7 days to request a hearing after their arrest or receiving notice to contest the action. Failing to ask for a formal hearing within the deadline means they waive their right to challenge an administrative suspension.
What Is the Criminal CDL DUI Process?
The criminal CDL DUI process is handled by the court. This is where a prosecutor attempts to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of driving under the influence.
A conviction for a first-time CDL DUI can result in:
- 1 to 364 days of imprisonment
- $350 to $5,000
- CDL suspension
The CDL holder has the right to fight the allegations against them. Countering a prosecutor's accusations can be challenging, which is why it is necessary to retain legal representation.
At Ellensburg Law, our CDL DUI attorney can aggressively fight for you. We have an in-depth understanding of the nuances of driving under the influence matters and know what defenses can be raised. We will thoroughly review your case, examining everything from the initial stop to chemical tests being administered, to plan a strategic course of action.
For How Long Is a CDL Disqualified?
The commercial driver's license disqualification period is the same for an unfavorable finding during the administrative process or a conviction during the criminal process.
The length of suspension is as follows:
- First offense: 1 year, or 3 years if transporting hazardous materials
- Second offense: Life
Note that if the CDL is disqualified for life, the driver cannot requalify. Thus, they will be barred from working in a career they once enjoyed.
When your future is at stake, you need a dedicated attorney ready to do what it takes for you. At Ellensburg Law, our CDL DUI lawyer is prepared to explore and exhaust every legal option to seek an optimal result on your behalf.
CDL DUI Defense in Ellensburg
Our team has the skills and resources to aggressively fight your criminal charge. We are ready to stand by you throughout your case, zealously advocating for you.
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Former Major Crimes Prosecutor
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