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DUI Penalties Are Harsher for Truck Drivers

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DUI Penalties Are Harsher for Truck Drivers - Anderson LeBlanc Upland Attorneys

DUI Penalties Are Harsher for Truck Drivers

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Story By HG.org

Anyone who is arrested for DUI faces serious penalties. However, commercial truck drivers face even harsher penalties and repercussions. In addition to the potential legal ramifications of a conviction, a commercial driver can potentially lose his or her license and job.

Legal Limits

While the national legal limit for drinking is at 0.08 for most drivers, this number is lower for commercial truck drivers. Commercial truck drivers who have a BAC of or over 0.04 percent can be convicted of DUI. This lower limit takes into consideration the serious impact that a drunk driving accident can have when the driver is a commercial driver carrying thousands of pounds of freight or hazardous materials.

Acquiring a License

A commercial driver’s license, or CDL, gives the driver the right to operate certain types of commercial vehicles. There are different classes of vehicles recognized in different states. For example, in California, there are Class A, Class B and Class C vehicles that can be operated with a CDL. Some vehicles are designated differently because they hold hazardous materials.

Recognizing the potential risk involved of carrying heavy loads across the country in the largest vehicles that occupy the roads, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration imposes additional rules and safety regulations on commercial drivers and the companies they represent. According to rules promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a commercial driver must pass a drug and alcohol test before acquiring a license. Additionally, drivers are subjected to random drug and alcohol tests while operating a commercial vehicle.

Automatic Suspension

At the time of a DUI arrest, a commercial driver’s license is suspended automatically. Even if the DUI was acquired when the driver was not operating a commercial vehicle, his or her commercial license may still be suspended based on state law. The driver does not have to be convicted of the crime before the repercussions begin to arise through this automatic suspension.

Test Refusal

If a commercial driver refuses to take a blood, breath or urine test in a state that mandates such testing through implied consent laws, he or she may still be charged with DUI and may still lose his or her driving privileges.

Harm to Others

Some states have a specific DUI that applies to commercial drivers who have a BAC of or above 0.04 percent or higher who violate a traffic law or otherwise drive negligently when such act causes harm to another person. The state may define specific traffic law violations that are covered under a law of this nature, such as speeding 15 miles per hour or greater above the speed limit, making improper lane changes, following too closely or driving in a careless fashion.

Criminal Consequences

Commercial truck drivers may face a number of criminal consequences depending on the nature of the violation and their driving record and criminal history. Drivers may face jail time. In some situations, the driver may be subjected to mandatory minimum jail sentences. He or she may be required to pay fines, perform community service, attend an alcohol treatment program or serve probation, depending on sentencing and any plea agreement reached.

Employment Consequences

If a driver is convicted of DUI, he or she is usually required to report this information to his or her employer. An employee handbook or other agreement between the employer and truck driver may specify the exact nature of the consequences of such conviction as well as any reporting requirements by the driver.

Financial Consequences

The driver may also face a number of financial consequences. If the drinking and driving resulted in an accident, he or she may have to pay restitution to the victim. To reacquire his or her license, the driver will need to pay reinstatement fees. Insurance rates will likely spike. He or she may also be required to pay for the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device.

Consequences for Certain Drivers

HAZMAT drivers are typically subjected to stiffer penalties and tighter scrutiny.

Evidence Used Against Truck Drivers

The prosecution may have ample evidence to use against truck drivers, including the results of any test that the truck driver submitted to. The prosecution may also use eyewitness testimony or the testimony of the officer who initially pulled the diver over. Any footage of the driver from the law enforcement officer’s dash camera may also be used to incriminate him or her.

Legal Assistance

Commercial drivers who have been charged with DUI may wish to consult with a criminal defense lawyer to increase their odds of avoiding conviction and facing the harsh penalties associated with such a conviction.

Read the original article at HG.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

HG.org was one of the very first online law and government information sites. It was founded in January of 1995 by Lex Mundi, a large network of independent law firms. The objective of HG.org is to make law, government and related professional information easily and freely accessible to the legal profession, businesses, and consumers.

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