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Commercial Drivers License and DUI in South Dakota

Just as the rules and penalties are different for underage drivers found guilty of DUI offenses, the statutory rules for DUI differ for those carrying commercial drivers licenses as well.  Drivers of commercial vehicles are held to a higher standard than typical drivers.  The legal BAC limit for a person driving a commercial vehicle is 0.04.  Thus a driver of a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 or greater is automatically guilty of violating South Dakota’s DUI law.  The same result occurs if the driver neglects to take a chemical test of sobriety upon being pulled over.  The driver will be arrested for driving under the influence and have his commercial license suspended for a period of one year.  If the driver is carrying hazardous materials at the time of the incident, however, the length of suspension will be increased from one year to three years.

A second offense will lead to the driver’s commercial license being revoked for life, meaning the consequences of a commercial DUI can have even more strenuous effects on the driver than a normal DUI in the state of South Dakota.  If a driver is guilty of a second offense, for example, it could mean he no longer can perform his job and lose his livelihood.

Finally, drivers of commercial vehicles can still face punishment if they have any alcohol in their bodies regardless of their BAC falling within the legal limit for a commercial driver.  A commercial driver with a BAC between 0 and 0.04 will receive an out-of-service notice and will be barred from driving for the next 24 hours.  While this penalty may seem like no more than a slap on the wrist, DUI laws are taken very seriously and the penalties associated can be even more stringent for commercial drivers than for others.


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