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DWIs and Commercial Drivers in Minnesota: What You Need to Know

by | Apr 7, 2021 | DUI/DWI

As explained by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a driver needs a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to lawfully operate a wide range of commercial vehicles in the state, including large trucks, delivery trucks, tow trucks, buses, and much more. If you are a commercial driver, a DWI charge is a very serious problem. In this post, our Southern Minnesota DWI defense lawyers explain the most important things that commercial drivers need to know about our state’s intoxicated driving laws.

Know the Law: Lower BAC Limit While Operating a Commercial Vehicle

As in other states, Minnesota’s general blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08. If your BAC is over the legal limit, you can be arrested and charged with drunk driving. However, the 0.08 standard does not apply to drivers who are actively operating a commercial vehicle. If you pulled over while driving a commercial vehicle in Minnesota, the applicable BAC level is 0.04. Any driver found in the physical control of a commercial vehicle in Minnesota with a BAC over 0.04 can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense that carries penalties of:

  • Significant fines;
  • Jail time; and
  • A disqualification of their CDL.

Minnesota takes commercial vehicle DWI offenses especially seriously. If you are pulled over for a DWI while in a commercial vehicle, you may face aggressive action from police and prosecutors. That being said, a DWI in a personal vehicle—while not subject to the reduced 0.04 BAC standard—could still have an effect on your commercial driver’s license.

A DWI Could Cost You Your CDL—Consult With a Defense Lawyer Immediately

For CDL holders in Minnesota, a drunk driving arrest could cost you a lot more than your driving privileges—it could cost you your livelihood. To be clear, a DWI conviction will have an impact on your commercial driver’s license even if you were arrested off-hours while operating your personal car. The state licensing authority can still move to disqualify your CDL for a non-work related DWI.

In this scenario, it is imperative that you consult with a Minnesota DWI defense lawyer who has experience representing commercial drivers. A qualified attorney will be able to review the charges against you and help you take action to avoid the very worst consequences. You may still be able to save your CDL from a disqualification by state authorities.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Minnesota DWI Defense Attorney Today

At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota DWI defense lawyers have the skills and legal expertise to represent CDL drivers in the full range of criminal cases. We will protect your rights, your future, and your career. If you are a commercial driver who was arrested for intoxicated driving, we are here to help. Contact us now for a fully private review and evaluation of your legal case. From our Mankato law office and our Rochester law office, we defend the rights of commercial drivers throughout Southern Minnesota.