Skip to main content

Exit WCAG Theme

Switch to Non-ADA Website

Accessibility Options

Select Text Sizes

Select Text Color

Website Accessibility Information Close Options
Close Menu
Rinaldo Law Group Rinaldo Law Group
  • Call For A Free Consultation
  • ~
  • Hablamos Español

Commercial Motor Vehicles & DUI In Florida


In general, commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are large vehicles, carrying quite a lot of weight. Because CMV drivers are entrusted with such difficult vehicles to operate, they are held to high standards in terms of their driving abilities. If a CMV driver operates their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may face even more serious penalties than the average driver might face, given how badly such a choice may affect their professional well-being. If you have been injured in an accident with a CMV, you may be able to recover damages more quickly if you can establish that the driver was impaired.

Stricter Regulations For CMV Drivers

Driving under the influence (DUI) is seen as an extremely serious crime, even in a small passenger automobile, so when it occurs in a large commercial vehicle, the real or potential harm to society as a whole is not taken lightly. Florida law provides for up to 6 months in jail, plus fines and court costs, as a sentence even for first offenses, simply because drunk driving is seen as an act so reckless that it should be punished immediately. If a person drives under the influence, and causes “serious bodily injury” to another person, they may face up to 5 years in jail, as the offense is prosecuted as a third-degree felony.

For commercial motor vehicle drivers, the requirements and the penalties are even stiffer. For example, a CMV driver may not legally operate their vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04, which is half the amount allowed to the average civilian. Drivers also cannot consume alcohol within 4 hours of starting work, or within 8 hours after a shift (or an accident). If you are involved in an accident with a CMV, and there is any evidence that the driver consumed alcohol or drugs, this may indicate not only negligence in your case, but also potential consequences for this reckless action.

DUI Is Evidence Of Negligence

In most auto accident lawsuits, a DUI conviction is treated as evidence of what is known as negligence per se – in other words, a DUI is legally held to show negligence occurred, so an injured plaintiff need not prove it again. In a commercial motor vehicle accident, if the driver can be established as driving under the influence, that fact effectively makes half of the injured plaintiff’s case for them – but the rest of the case still must be established to the court’s satisfaction.

In order to establish that a defendant should be held liable for the injuries of another person, it must be shown that the defendant breached the duty to exercise reasonable care toward other road users (as is mandated in Florida), and that their breach of duty was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries, with no other intervening cause. A showing of driving under the influence effectively counts as a breach of that duty, and if the plaintiff can show that no other superseding cause existed for their injuries, the CMV driver (and in some cases, their employer) will wind up on the proverbial hook.

Contact A Tampa CMV Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a DUI accident that you believe was caused by the negligence of a CMV driver, calling a Tampa CMV accident attorney should be your first step. The Rinaldo Law Group has handled many cases against CMV drivers and their employers, and can help to guide you through the legal process while you focus on recovery. Call our office today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

By submitting this form I acknowledge that form submissions via this website do not create an attorney-client relationship, and any information I send is not protected by attorney-client privilege.

Skip footer and go back to main navigation