The DUI risks and consequences facing commercial drivers

For most West Virginians, not being able to drive means not being able to work. This is especially true if you are employed as a commercial driver. Losing your license, even temporarily, could cost you your job and make it impossible to put food on the table.

One of the fastest ways to lose your personal and/or your commercial driver's license is to get convicted of driving under the influence. In today's post, we'll discuss some of the ways that DUI laws differ for commercial drivers.

For anyone 21 and older with a personal driver's license, the legal threshold for intoxication is a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent. For commercial drivers, however, the threshold is just half of that, or 0.04 percent. Depending on your size and how your body responds to alcohol, you could reach a 0.04 percent BAC after just a couple drinks.

The BAC limit for commercial drivers was set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Under FMCSA rules, commercial drivers are also prohibited from getting behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle for at least four hours after drinking alcohol.

As a commercial driver, a DUI could result in a lengthier license suspension (than for personal DUI). Also, anyone with a commercial driver's license is required to inform their employer within 30 days if they have been convicted of a traffic violation (except for parking offenses). This is true even if the offense occurred while driving a personal vehicle. It goes without saying that if a driver's license gets suspended or revoked, he cannot work as a commercial driver during this time.

Most commercial drivers take their work very seriously, whether they drive a truck, a bus or any other commercial vehicle. But mistakes can and do happen. If you are a commercial driver and have been charged with DUI, a conviction and a license suspension are two outcomes you probably can't afford. For this and other reasons, please seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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