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Navigating DWI laws for commercial drivers in Missouri

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2024 | Firm News

Commercial drivers hold a significant responsibility because of the delicate nature of their work involving large vehicles. Whether they’re transporting goods or passengers, commercial drivers must exercise safety and caution while on the road.

Given the potential for serious consequences in cases of impaired driving, Missouri law imposes stringent driving while intoxicated (DWI) regulations on those holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Understanding these laws is crucial for maintaining a commercial driving career.

Lower limits for CDL holders

For a driver to face DWI charges, their blood alcohol content (BAC) level should be at least .08%. However, the legal limit for commercial drivers is at a lower BAC of .04%. This is because CDL holders are held at a higher standard of safety than regular drivers, so the law is quick to penalize CDL holders for even the smallest hint of alcohol.

Penalties for DWI offenses

For the most part, a CDL holder convicted of DWI faces the same penalties as regular drivers convicted of the same offense. A first offense leads to up to six months of jail time and $500 in fines.

But in addition to these penalties, a court can immediately disqualify a CDL holder from operating a commercial motor vehicle for at least one year for a DWI conviction. If the CDL holder violated DWI laws while transporting hazardous material, the disqualification period increases to not less than three years.

Multiple DWI convictions will eventually lead to a lifetime disqualification from operating commercial vehicles. Drivers can’t apply for reinstatement until after 10 years. But this reinstatement process isn’t easy, since drivers will have to meet strict criteria such as not committing any traffic violations within those 10 years.

Missouri’s strict DWI laws for commercial drivers reflect its commitment to road safety. The reduced BAC limit and severe penalties highlight the importance of sober driving when operating commercial vehicles. If you’re facing a DWI charge, consult a legal professional who can guide you. Your livelihood is on the line if you face DWI charges while operating a commercial vehicle.