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Commercial drivers should be aware of new DUI law started in 2023

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2023 | Criminal Defense, DUI |

Lawmakers and law enforcement in Oregon constantly try to make the roads safer by cracking down on drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Toward that end, there are often new laws passed or changes to existing laws. Frequently, people are completely unaware of them until they are facing consequences for allegations related to DUI.

This is especially worrisome for people who drive for a living – specifically, commercial drivers. Changes to the law that went into effect at the start of 2023 could come as a surprise to many drivers. Knowing what they mean is important as they craft plans to lodge a defense.

Commercial driving privileges can be lost for non-commercial vehicle DUI

Starting on Jan. 1, 2023, two changes were implemented that could have a negative impact on commercial drivers if they face DUI charges. First, if a commercial driver is stopped and registers a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08%, their commercial driver’s license could be jeopardized.

There can be a suspension for implied consent if they were driving a commercial vehicle and, notably, a non-commercial vehicle. Prior to this change, the commercial driver’s license would be in jeopardy if the alleged violation happened while driving a commercial vehicle. That is no longer the case.

Second, the driver’s commercial license might be in danger if they have a diversion agreement but are not eligible to take part in one because they were operating with a commercial driver’s license when the offense happened. In the past, the Oregon Department of Transportation required the Department of Motor Vehicles to work in tandem with the court to address this.

It is imperative to fight DUI charges to avoid long-term consequences

Anyone who is accused of DUI could be confronted with significant consequences like jail time, fines, a driver’s license suspension and more. Those who have a commercial driver’s license can see their livelihood taken away. Now, with these new rules, the circumstances are vastly different and they might not even know about it beforehand.

When people are facing a DUI charge, there are avenues to fight to case. The defendant’s rights might have been violated; the officer could have deviated from established protocol; or there could be a viable explanation as to why the person appeared under the influence. Combating the charges is vital for commercial drivers as they could face multiple problems – personally and professionally – from a conviction. Having professional assistance can assess the case and decide on a viable strategy.