What Are Four Ways Commercial Drivers Fare Worse Under Pennsylvania's DUI Laws?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Dec 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) is serious for anyone. For commercial drivers, though, it can be a threat to their very livelihood. Worse, people with a commercial driver's license (CDL) are held to a higher standard than other people on the roads of Pennsylvania. When taken together, this means commercial drivers run afoul of Pennsylvania's drunk driving law and face higher penalties when they do.

Here are four ways CDL holders fare worse under the state's DUI law.

1. CDL Holders Have a Lower Legal Limit

The law has decided that drivers are too impaired to drive as soon as they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above the legal limit. Every state except Utah has set that BAC limit at 0.08%.

However, Pennsylvania is one of the many states that expect commercial drivers to abide by an even stricter legal limit. Under 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3802(f), drivers of commercial vehicles in Pennsylvania have a legal limit of only 0.04%. If they have a BAC higher than that, they are per se under the influence of alcohol and can be arrested and charged with drunk driving.

2. Commercial Drivers Face Steeper Penalties

Violations of § 3802(f) are treated differently than other DUI offenses when it comes to sentencing. Even though the legal limit is lower, 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3804(b) sets out additional penalties for a violation that put it alongside DUIs involving high BACs or injury-producing accidents.

Even if it was only a first offense, there is a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours – a sentence that carries a maximum of six months. First convictions also carry fines of up to $5,000.

3. DUIs Suspend Both a Regular and a Commercial Driver's License

When a commercial driver is convicted of drunk driving, both their CDL and their regular driver's license can be suspended. Regardless of what vehicle was being driven, the consequences are far more severe than for normal drivers:

  • If the CDL holder was driving their commercial vehicle and had a BAC over 0.04%, they can also lose their right to drive their personal vehicle
  • If they were driving their personal vehicle and had a BAC over 0.08%, they can see their commercial driver's license suspended, as well

4. Commercial Drivers With a DUI Tend to Have Employment Issues

Commercial drivers who get convicted for a DUI – and even many who were just accused of drunk driving – tend to get fired from whatever driving job they held at the time of their arrest. Those who end up getting convicted for a DUI often have trouble getting a professional driving job, again. Lots of trucking companies refuse to hire anyone with a prior DUI out of fear that they may be held liable if the driver causes an accident after they get hired.

DUI Defense Team Serves Philadelphia

Our Criminal Law Team legally represents Philadelphians who have been accused of drunk driving. Contact us online or call our law office at 888-555-3686 for a DUI defense attorney to protect your professional future.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.