Understanding Minnesota DWI Laws For Commercial Drivers

Being arrested for DWI in Minnesota is embarrassing. Finding out that you have put your job in jeopardy for a full year is far worse; you are risking your livelihood and your family’s well-being. Even a first conviction for DWI in Minnesota will mean you will lose your license for one year. While typical drivers are offered the potential of obtaining a hardship license, there is no such allowance for commercial drivers. Commercial drivers must have an intimate knowledge of the Minnesota DWI Laws and how they apply to commercial drivers.

DWI Laws and Commercial Drivers

Minnesota laws contain an implied consent rule. This means if you are stopped and arrested for DWI you may be forced to submit to a chemical test to test your blood alcohol level.  Most drivers face consequences if their blood alcohol levels are above .08. However, as the holder of a CDL, you may not have a blood alcohol level higher than .04.  The levels are lower only for those drivers who are under the age of 21.

Implied Consent and Commercial Drivers

Any driver on Minnesota roadways who is stopped for suspected DWI may be requested by law enforcement officers to take a test to determine whether they are intoxicated. Refusal to take this test for those with a commercial driver’s license will result in an automatic suspension of the license for a period of one year. There’s a complication here you should be aware of: You need not be driving a truck. Commercial drivers who are driving their personal vehicle are subject to the same rules as if they were driving their truck. Remember, a law enforcement officer need only have probable cause for asking you to submit to a chemical test.

Stricter Penalties: Know What You’re Facing

Keep in mind, not only are you held to a different standard than non-commercial drivers, you have other concerns you must be aware of in Minnesota. If you are arrested for DWI and your haul contains hazardous material, your license will be suspended for three years, not one.  As a DWI/DUI Attorney in Anoka MN, I understand the full ramifications of a conviction and I will fight aggressively to protect you.

Truck Drivers: Additional Burdens of a DWI

The consequences of a DWI are always serious and if you’re facing charges, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you’re a truck driver, you should contact a lawyer as quickly as possible because your future employment is on the line. Not only are you facing an automatic loss of your license for a year, that means you are unable to work for that year. Should you be convicted and return to work once your license is restored, your worries are not over. A second arrest and conviction will mean a lifetime suspension of your CDL.

License Suspension: Only One Side of the Problem

Losing your license for a year, and therefore your ability to earn a living is bad but it’s only part of the problems you are facing if you are convicted of DUI/DWI as a commercial driver’s license holder in Minnesota. Minnesota DUI/DWI penalties for non-commercial drivers still apply to you. This means as a first time offender you could be facing:

  • Fourth degree – Drivers who submit to a blood alcohol test and have no prior convictions could be facing a fine of up to $1,000 plus up to 90 days jail time.
  • Third degree – Drivers who refuse a blood alcohol test and have no prior convictions could face fines of up to $3,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

These penalties would be on top of your license being suspended for a one-year period.

Clearly the loss of your license is going to impact your ability to earn a living. But you can fight back against DUI/DWI charges and it’s important that you do so immediately.  If you are a commercial license holder and you are facing Minnesota DUI/DWI charges, contact Christian Peterson Attorney At Law, an award-winning criminal defense attorney.