PUI spells trouble for West Virginia snow plow driver

In West Virginia, there isn’t really a criminal offense called "plowing under the influence" or PUI, but it doesn’t mean that an individual cannot be arrested for the behavior it describes. That is exactly the situation that a snow plow driver found himself in late this past month.

On Jan. 29, a deputy in McDowell County observed a snow plow with a headlight that wasn’t properly functioning. It was the burnt out headlight that prompted the deputy to then conduct a traffic stop. When he pulled the driver over, he claimed that “he could smell alcohol on [the driver’s] breath,” as was reported by WOWK-TV.

The officer’s suspicion led to the next event in the sequence, when the officer decided to conduct a field sobriety test. The driver complied, and the officer determined that he had failed the test and took him into custody under suspicion of DUI. A Breathalyzer test that was later conducted produced a blood alcohol content reading of .09.

There are a couple of issues in this case that are important to note in a blog devoted to DUI/DWI law.

The first issue is that a field sobriety test was used to confirm the officer’s suspicion that the driver was intoxicated. These tests are notoriously unreliable. Did you know that some individuals couldn’t pass tests such as the ones that involve standing on one foot or saying the alphabet backwards?

The second issue is that this individual was driving under a commercial driver’s license. For an individual with a CDL, the legal limit is even lower than the one for the average driver, set at .04 in West Virginia. Losing his license, even temporarily, could mean losing his livelihood for a period of time.

These are only a couple of the reasons why individuals facing drunk driving charges should seek the advice and assistance of an experienced Martinsburg defense attorney.

Source: My Fox 8, “Snow plow driver arrested on DUI charge in West Virginia,” Jan. 31, 2014

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