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The stakes are raised when commercial drivers are accused of DUI

Commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks and buses, traverse the roads of New York on a daily basis, and in fact, are an essential part of commerce in the state and nationwide. However, per law, these drivers are held to a different standard of care with regards to drunk driving than are non-commercial drivers of standard motor vehicles.

Most of the states in the nation, including New York, set the blood alcohol content level for commercial drivers at 0.04 percent. Keep in mind that the legal limit for drivers of non-commercial vehicles is twice that, at 0.08 percent. Moreover, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has adopted rules that state that commercial drivers cannot drive their vehicles within four hours of consuming an alcoholic beverage.

Moreover, operators of commercial vehicles may be required to take blood alcohol content level tests if they are involved in a crash, either because law enforcement has reasonable suspicion the commercial driver was drunk or if it is required via policy in order for the commercial driver to return to his or her job. In some circumstances, drug testing may be allowed as well, either as a condition of having the job, or if following an accident if there is reasonable suspicion the commercial driver was drugged driving or if it is required vial policy in order for the commercial driver to return to his or her job.

In addition, if a commercial driver refuses to take a blood alcohol content level test, this is considered to a guilty plea of driving under the influence. Further, commercial drivers charged with drunk driving while working may have their licenses suspended for a longer amount of time than drivers of non-commercial vehicles. Moreover, the commercial driver could lose his or her job if he or she is charged with drunk driving.

With all that is at stake, commercial drivers accused of drunk driving need to take the necessary steps to defend themselves. After all, their very livelihood could hang in the balance. The penalties for impaired driving can be very serious. Therefore, securing legal advice may be the first step in waging a strong defense for a commercial driver accused of drunk driving.

Source: FindLaw, "Commercial DUI Regulations," accessed Aug. 1, 2016

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