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VC 23152(d): Commercial Driver DUI

Legal Definition: “(d) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in Section 15210. In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.”

To establish your culpability for driving under the influence of a drug under VC 23152(d), the prosecution must demonstrate the following:

  • Operating a Commercial Vehicle with a Commercial License;
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol;
  • Presence of blood or breath alcohol content equal to or greater than .04%.

Rest assured that our experienced and trustworthy team of experts can guide you through the legal proceedings related to this matter.

What does this mean?

A person is deemed to be under the influence if the ingestion of a substance results in significant impairment of their mental or physical capabilities, rendering them incapable of driving a vehicle with the level of caution and ordinary care exhibited by a sober individual in similar circumstances. It is worth noting that the threshold for intoxication is lower for commercial drivers, reinforcing the expectation of a higher standard of conduct and responsibility when operating a commercial vehicle while under the influence.

This legal provision exclusively applies to individuals piloting commercial vehicles. For non-commercial vehicle operators, the legal blood alcohol limit remains at .08. However, commercial drivers who commit a DUI offense, regardless of whether they were operating a commercial or personal vehicle, face more severe penalties and license suspensions proportional to their licensing class. Commercial vehicles are categorized as either Class B vehicles, which require a specific license, or Class C vehicles with a commercial endorsement.

Typically, Class B vehicles consist of larger trucks weighing a minimum of 26,000 pounds, as well as any 3-axle vehicle weighing over 6,000 pounds. Bear in mind that a non-commercial vehicle can acquire commercial status with the appropriate endorsement. This may include vehicles such as school buses, double trailers, passenger cars accommodating up to 10 occupants, or vehicles involved in the transport of hazardous substances or waste, requiring the display of the corresponding placard.


A conviction under VC 23152(d) is the same as a misdemeanor DUI. The maximum exposure can be up to 6 months in a County Jail. You must serve at least 50% of that time in custody. If this is not your first DUI offense, the penalties go up, those can be found here. Finally, if you have sufficient prior DUIs or a prior felony DUI, you can be charged under this section as a felony, which can be found here.

If convicted of a first-time Commercial Driver DUI, you could also face a license suspension for one year. If this is your second offense, then you can face a lifetime driver’s license suspension. A driver cannot get a restricted license to drive a commercial vehicle during that suspension. But the driver may be able to downgrade to a non-commercial Class C (car) or Class M (motorcycle) license and get a restricted license to drive a non-commercial vehicle.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court since DUIs are generally held to be very serious crimes in immigration and licensing cases.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence

There are several effective defenses available for individuals facing a DUI offense. Engaging the services of an experienced attorney with expertise in DUI cases is crucial. One strategy they can employ is to challenge the validity of the case, such as by arguing that the recorded DUI results may have been erroneous due to underlying factors like acid reflux or GERD. These conditions can potentially elevate the recorded levels, putting individuals close to, or slightly over, the legal limit of .04%. Demonstrating inaccuracies in chemical test results can significantly strengthen the defense, casting doubt on the incriminating evidence.

Another common defense is to question the legality of the stop conducted by the officer who pulled you over, thereby invoking protection under the Fourth Amendment. In California, if it can be established that the stop was unlawful or violated your rights, you may invoke PC 1538.5 to suppress any evidence obtained subsequent to the illegal stop. This means that any admissions you made regarding alcohol consumption or any blood tests conducted could be excluded as evidence, leading to a favorable outcome in your case. Due to the frequent occurrence of unlawful stops in DUI cases, it is imperative to seek the assistance of an attorney who possesses extensive knowledge and expertise in this area of law.

Entrusting your DUI defense to an attorney with proven experience, expertise, and authority is essential for a successful resolution in your case. They can carefully evaluate the details of your situation, identify potential defenses, and navigate the complexities of DUI law to safeguard your rights effectively.

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A DUI conviction in California casts a long shadow, introducing profound ramifications now and in the future. The state’s tenacious prosecution of DUI offenses often leads to repercussions—fines, mandatory classes, and potential jail time—that dwarf those of many other criminal charges. More so, commercial drivers face the compounded risk of losing their license, livelihood, and professional trajectory due to a DUI conviction. It underscores the necessity of enlisting a legal expert who has a nuanced understanding of DUI intricacies.

Leverage the unmatched expertise of our Ontario VC 23152(d) Commercial Driver DUI attorney, backed by a rich legacy of championing DUI defenses across the Inland Empire. In a situation where every decision matters, make the right call. Connect with IED Defense at 909-281-0456. Centrally situated in Ontario, we stand ready to elevate your defense.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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