Commercial DUI in Las Vegas (What You Need to Know)

If you drive a commercial vehicle in Las Vegas, drunk driving and drugged driving fall under a specific Nevada law that applies to commercial DUI. Penalties for a conviction include suspension or revocation of your commercial driver’s license (CDL), which can prevent you from earning a living.

The Gersten Law Firm’s criminal defense practice includes aggressively fighting against DUI charges, including commercial DUI. Attorney Joe Gersten draws on his extensive investigative and trial experience in representing individuals facing drunk driving or drugged driving charges in any context. Your first consultation is always free of charge.

Nevada Commercial DUI Law Provisions

The Nevada DUI law for non-commercial drivers makes it a violation to drive with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) over 0.08. The law that applies to drivers of commercial vehicles establishes different, lower standard for impaired driving.

Commercial Vehicle Definition

For purposes of the commercial DUI law, a commercial vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle (or combination of vehicles) used to transport passengers or property that meets any of the following criteria:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more, including a vehicle with a towed unit weighing over 10,000 pounds
  • Is designed to carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver
  • Is used to transport materials that are hazardous under federal law

Commercial DUI Standard

For commercial vehicle drivers, a specific law (NRS 484C.120) establishes a violation for a BAC of 0.04 or more in blood or urine within two (2) hours after driving or being in control of a commercial vehicle. As such, the BAC standard for drivers of commercial vehicles is significantly less than the BAC standard for drivers of non-commercial vehicles.

A commercial vehicle driver may be charged with a violation if the BAC limit is met or exceeded within two hours of the time that the person drove or was in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle on a highway or on premises to which the public has access. In this regard, the law does allow a defendant to assert an affirmative defense. To prove the defense, a defendant must demonstrate consumption of a sufficient amount of alcohol to raise the BAC to 0.04 or more after driving or being in control of the vehicle.

The commercial DUI law also specifies prohibited amounts of other substances, including amphetamines, cocaine, heroin and metabolites, LSD, methamphetamine, phencyclidine, and marijuana. In addition, the law includes provisions that allow law enforcement to charge the driver with commercial DUI even if the stated limits are not met.

Test results are not necessary if other evidence demonstrates that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance (or a combination of the two) or used a substance that rendered the person incapable of safely driving or exercising physical control of a commercial vehicle. For any charge of violation of the commercial DUI provisions, it is not a defense that a person has a legal prescription for a controlled substance.

In addition to the commercial DUI law, Nevada’s implied consent law applies if police stop a commercial vehicle driver. Under the law, your license can be revoked if you refuse to take a breath or blood test. The law applies to drivers from out-of-state, as well as Nevada residents.


A first offense commercial DUI / DUID results in suspension of the driver’s CDL for a year. If the driver was transporting hazardous materials, the first-conviction suspension is for three years rather than one. A second conviction results in revocation of an individual’s CDL for life.

In addition to license suspension, a commercial driver who is over the legal limits is subject to the same serious penalties that apply to a non-commercial a DUI / DUID violation.

Importance of Defending Against Las Vegas Commercial DUI Charges

Suspension or revocation of your CDL for a commercial DUI conviction means you can lose the ability to perform your work. For that reason, it is absolutely essential to defend against any commercial DUI charge.

You face other significant penalties for a conviction, including fines and prison time. Any DUI conviction on your record also has serious long-term implications for other aspects of your life beyond your employment.

An experienced commercial DUI defense attorney can develop a strategy to defend against the charges you face. The appropriate defenses will depend entirely on the facts of the individual case, but may include:

  • Improper police conduct
  • Failure of law enforcement to follow proper testing protocol
  • Improper handling of evidence
  • Factual mistakes by the prosecutor or police
  • Insufficient evidence to meet the legal standard for conviction

Determining the best defense strategies in a particular case requires extensive investigation and analysis, as well as the skill to take a case to trial if necessary. If you are charged with commercial DUI, you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney before you make any decisions about how to proceed.

An experienced commercial DUI attorney can analyze your case and explain what strategies and options are available to defend against the charges and avoid losing your ability to pursue your livelihood. In many cases, a skillful attorney can secure dismissal of the charges, negotiate a plea agreement that results in lesser penalties, or take a case to trial and win acquittal.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Las Vegas Commercial DUI / DUID Defense Attorney

If you are facing a Nevada commercial DUI or DUID charge — or any DUI charge — in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten will discuss and evaluate your case based on his extensive investigative, analytical, and trial experience. Your initial consultation is free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.