Each day, millions of people across the U.S. get out of bed and start their workdays as commercial drivers. They bring kids to school in buses, haul goods across the country in semi-trucks and operate tour buses for visitors.

These are also jobs that require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). The laws for CDL drivers in Pennsylvania are quite strict – and punishments for lawbreakers are severe. CDL drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) charges face some of the toughest penalties.

What are the DUI laws for commercial drivers?

In Pennsylvania, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is significantly lower for commercial drivers than it is for non-commercial drivers. The state will consider you impaired with a 0.04% BAC – or 0.02% BAC if you’re a school bus driver. This means you may be unable to legally drive after one beer or glass of wine.

One common misconception is that the lowered legal limit only applies if you are operating a commercial vehicle. In reality, the lowered limit can hold true even if you’re driving your personal vehicle.

What are the penalties?

For a first-time DUI conviction, you could face up to six months in jail and a fine up to $5,000. Additionally, a conviction will bring you 12 months of license suspension. This is especially tough to deal with if you are the main provider for your family.

Many employers are also wary of hiring a commercial driver with a DUI on their record. Therefore, a DUI conviction could have life-long consequences.

It is important to note, though, that a DUI charge does not automatically result in a conviction. If you are a commercial driver facing a DUI charge, you should consider contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney. They could help protect your future.