Driving a commercial vehicle is how you and many other people earn a living. You may enjoy your job because it allows you to travel and get out on the open road, which are two activities that likely bring you happiness. Of course, as a commercial truck or bus driver, the law holds you to a different standard, especially when it comes to drinking and driving.
In the event that an officer suspects that you have consumed alcohol before driving, you face the risk of a DUI charge. If convicted, this type of allegation will not only affect your personal life but also your professional life.
Differences in BAC limits
For the driver of an average motor vehicle, the legal blood alcohol concentration limit is .08%. If operating a vehicle under this level, officers will likely not take the driver into custody unless extenuating circumstances apply. However, for a commercial vehicle driver, that BAC limit is much lower at .04%. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration set this difference in efforts to ensure the safety of both commercial drivers and others on the roads.
Additionally, the FMCSA also prohibits commercial drivers from operating their vehicles within a four-hour window of having consumed any alcohol.
As mentioned, a DUI conviction could affect many areas of your life. When it comes to your job, if the court convicts you of DUI, you could face a longer driver's license suspension than someone with a non-commercial driver's license. As you can undoubtedly gather, a suspended driver's license puts your career on the line because you cannot drive without a license. Unfortunately, that could give your employer an incentive to replace you.
You may think that you could get away with your employer not knowing, but even without a license suspension, you must inform your employer of your DUI conviction within 30 days of that outcome. This rule applies to any traffic violation conviction, even if you were not driving your commercial vehicle at the time of the charge.
Your legal options
Of course, you do not have to accept that an accusation of DUI will result in negative consequences for you. You have the legal right to defend against the charge in efforts to uphold your best interests. Because this type of scenario differs for drivers with commercial licenses, you may wish to gain legal assistance from an experienced Washington attorney.