Many good men and women in the state of West Virginia are commercial drivers. This can be a great job, offering financial freedom to those who are willing to work the difficult hours and maintain strict schedules. Unfortunately, these drivers sometimes find themselves accused of driving while drunk or otherwise impaired. When this happens, a commercial driver has a lot on the line -- such as his or her means of providing for his or her family -- as a suspended license can be expected following a DUI charge and conviction.
Professional drivers who are required to have commercial driver's licenses in order to perform the functions of their jobs are required to abide by federal safety guidelines, as an impaired driver poses a threat to public safety. In an effort to deter intoxicated driving among truck and other commercial drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), requires that drivers be tested on a fairly frequent basis for drug and/or alcohol use. Along with mandatory testing, the FMCSA has set limits regarding acceptable blood-alcohol limits, which are far lower than what is permissible for standard drivers.
Commercial drivers who are found to have blood-alcohol levels of .04 or above are considered legally intoxicated and may be arrested for drunk driving. The punishments for driving while under the influence of an impairing substance are pretty much the same as those that would be handed down to the driver of a passenger vehicle. However, the license suspension period will be longer than usual for a commercial driver.
In West Virginia and across the country, a commercial driver who receives a DUI while driving his or her own personal vehicle may also find that his or her professional license can be affected -- as he or she is required to report the DUI to his or her employer within 30 days. According to the FMCSA, employers are not allowed to employ drivers whose licenses are suspended. Obviously, fighting or working to reduce the consequences of a DUI charge -- whether received while behind the wheel of a commercial or personal vehicle -- is of great importance to these individuals. A suspended license is a serious matter; as such, a commercial driver can seek legal assistance with fighting a DUI charge in court and with having his or her license reinstated -- if necessary
Source: FindLaw, "Commercial DUI Regulations", Accessed on Feb. 11, 2016