In Minnesota, a person can be charged with a DWI for driving with a BAC of 0.08 or above. However, for drivers of commercial vehicles, the tolerance is much lower. The blood alcohol concentration limit for driving a commercial vehicle legally is half that, or 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. Below, we take a closer look at Minnesota’s DUI laws as they pertain to commercial vehicles and Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders.
What is a “Commercial Vehicle”?
Any of the following vehicles used to transport people or property and their operators would be considered a commercial vehicle under Minnesota law:
- 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.
It’s worth noting that farm equipment and recreational vehicles like boats or an ATV/UTV are not classified as commercial vehicles under the law.
Twin Cities DWI Penalties & Defenses
A person who is convicted of a commercial vehicle DWI can face both criminal and civil penalties. For the first offense, a person will lose their commercial driving privileges for a year, and that is extended to three years if they were transporting hazardous materials at the time of their arrest. 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, but they would lose their CDL. However, if the BAC is over 0.08, all regular DWI penalties (both criminal and civil) would apply alongside the suspension of their commercial driver’s license.
The civil penalties can very well mean that a driver will lose their livelihood and their ability to provide financial stability for their family. It is imperative that any person facing commercial vehicle DWI charges contact an experienced Minnesota DWI lawyer as soon as possible. We can help explain your situation, review the facts and put forth the strongest defense so that you can beat the charges and retain your driving privileges. To learn more about how we’ll do that, or to see if we’d be a fit during a free case review session, give Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm a call today at (952) 224-2277.