The country needs truck operators now more than ever, and you may find yourself in high demand in spite of the dismal occupational outlook for other careers. Losing your commercial driver’s license could put your livelihood at risk.
If law enforcement pulls you over and arrests you for driving under the influence, fighting the charges may be the only way to keep from losing your income.
What the laws say
Federal law states that you face CDL disqualification for one year if you receive a DUI conviction while driving your own vehicle. This is subject to state laws, and in Pennsylvania, you can receive a DUI if you have a blood alcohol content of 0.08%. However, you may also receive a DUI if law enforcement determines (and a judge agrees) that you had enough alcohol to make you unable to drive safely.
If you are driving a commercial vehicle when law enforcement pulls you over, you face a one-year CDL disqualification if your BAC is at or above 0.04%. If you refuse to take a breath test, the penalty is a one-year CDL disqualification.
What your defense options are
The circumstances of your arrest affect what defense you may claim. For example, law enforcement has to have a valid reason to pull you over, and then the officer has to have a reason to suspect that you are driving impaired before arresting you. You may be able to challenge the officer’s stated reasons.
If the officer requested that you perform field sobriety tests, you may have medical conditions that led to your inability to complete them successfully. Or, the officer may not have administered the tests correctly.
While a breath testing device may seem to provide hard scientific evidence, these devices occasionally malfunction or provide false readings.
Other defenses may also be appropriate depending on your situation, so examining every aspect of the circumstances is critical.