Commercial drivers charged with DUI can face severe consequences

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Any case in which a driver is accused of driving under the influence in Alabama can have far-reaching ramifications. The penalties might include a driver’s license suspension, jail time, fines, the need for an ignition interlock device and ancillary penalties that people might not immediately consider such as raised insurance rates.

For some drivers, the arrest can negatively impact their job. Such is the case for commercial drivers.

Any DUI case warrants an aggressive defense. For commercial drivers, it is even more imperative.

DUI thresholds are different for commercial drivers

For non-commercial drivers, the blood alcohol concentration for a DUI arrest is 0.08%. According to state law, it is 0.04% for commercial drivers. In a first-offense conviction, the license will be suspended for at least one year. This penalty is the same if the driver refuses to submit to a test when instructed to do so by a law enforcement officer.

The cargo the commercial driver is carrying also plays a role in the duration of the suspension. When the driver is carrying hazardous material, the loss of commercial driving privileges will be for a minimum of three years. The commercial license can be lost permanently if the driver has two or more of these offenses.

Anyone accused of DUI will inevitably be fearful as to what will happen to them. Often, these individuals have never been in any trouble with the law and have no concept of how the criminal justice system works. Commercial drivers will be particularly concerned as their entire future depends on finding a positive result to retain their license and keep their job.

Commercial drivers need to protect their license after a DUI arrest

Commercial drivers rely on their license to do their jobs. Without it, they will be confronted with an uncertain future with their freedom, finances and professional standing in jeopardy. Just as there are strategies to combat a passenger vehicle DUI, there are ways to fight back when a commercial driver is accused of DUI.

Law enforcement is required to adhere to specific rules when making a traffic stop to investigate a DUI, testing the driver and making the arrest. If there is an issue with any step such as the Breathalyzer or why the decision was made to stop the vehicle, this could be used to question the validity of the arrest.

The driver could have a viable explanation as to why they appeared under the influence such as having used legal medication for a condition or because they were drowsy from an extended time on the road. There are myriad ways to try and counteract the charges.

When a commercial driver loses their right to ply their trade, it can lead to life changing problems. To avoid the legal, personal and financial consequences or at least limit them, it is essential to consider all options for a criminal defense.