In Minnesota, a person can be charged with a DWI for driving with a BAC of 0.08 or over. However, for drivers of commercial vehicles, the tolerance is much lower. The blood alcohol concentration limit for driving a commercial vehicle legally is 0.04.
Additionally, implied consent law allows law enforcement to administer a chemical test to a driver who is suspected of consuming any amount of alcohol while operating a commercial vehicle.
What is a “Commercial Vehicle”?
The commercial vehicle DWI laws apply to the following vehicles used to transport people or property and their operators:
- A vehicle that has a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds
- A vehicle that has a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds and the combination of vehicles has a combined gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds
- A bus
- A vehicle of any size that is used in the transportation of hazardous materials
- A vehicle that is outwardly equipped and identified as a school bus
Commercial vehicles do NOT include farm trucks and certain recreational vehicles.
Twin Cities DWI Penalties & Defenses
Civil and possibly criminal penalties are incurred when someone is convicted of a commercial vehicle DWI. For the first offense, a person will lose their commercial driving privileges. For any subsequent offenses, that term is extended to 10 years. If convicted of a commercial vehicle DWI with a BAC of less than 0.08, a person can still retain all regular driving privileges. However, if the BAC is over 0.08, all regular DWI penalties (both criminal and civil) would apply.
The civil penalties can very well mean that a driver will lose their livelihood. It is imperative that any person facing commercial vehicle DWI charges contact an experienced Minnesota DWI lawyer as soon as possible. As with regular DWIs, commercial drivers are also at risk of additional charges as a result of any number of aggravating factors. You can read more about Minnesota DWI laws, penalties, and aggravating factors here.