Tennessee Commercial DUI Laws

From semi-trucks and tractor-trailers transporting precious cargo to passenger buses carrying dozens of passengers, operating these vehicles require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Since CDL holders drive large vehicles for a living, they are held to a stricter standard in comparison to non-commercial drivers, especially when it comes to drunk or drugged driving.

A CDL holder can be charged with a DUI in Tennessee for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .04 percent, while the legal limit for non-commercial drivers is .08 percent, which is double the amount. Commercial drivers can also be charged with a DUI for driving a vehicle while impaired by drugs.

A first-time DUI conviction in Tennessee carries the following penalties:

  • A jail term of 11 months and 29 days

  • A maximum fine of$1,500

  • Non-commercial driver’s license suspension for one year

  • Participation in an alcohol or drug treatment program

Most importantly, a first DUI conviction is punishable by CDL disqualification for one year, unless you are transporting hazardous materials at the time of the arrest, which carries a three-year period of CDL disqualification. A second DUI conviction will result in lifetime disqualification.

Keep in mind, if a CDL holder is arrested for a DUI while driving his/her personal vehicle, his/her CDL will still be suspended. If a commercial driver refuses to take a chemical test (e.g., breath or blood test) after an arrest, a first-time refusal will automatically result in CDL suspension for at least one year.

If you drive a commercial vehicle for a living, a DUI conviction could potentially be the end of your career. When facing serious consequences, you must hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you obtain the most favorable outcome in your case.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Clarksville, call Patton | Pittman Attorneys at (931) 361-447 or fill out our online contact form today to request a free case evaluation. Our trial-tested lawyers have more than 100 years of combined legal experience!

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