Imagine being a surgeon who loses their sight. A singer who has their vocal cords removed. Or a baseball pitcher who has their throwing arm amputated. That’s not too far from what it’s like for a professional driver to get a DUI.
A drunk-driving conviction can upend a commercial truck driver’s life. Not only could it mean up to six months in jail, but Pennsylvania can suspend their operating license for a year or more. Now imagine being unable to work in your chosen profession for an entire year. Think about the effect that will have on your wallet and your career.
Challenging DUI charges
School bus operators, truckers and other professionals with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are held to higher standards than regular motorists. They are forbidden in most states from driving commercial vehicles with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04 – half the legal limit for non-commercial drivers.
Challenging the circumstances of your arrest and exposing police or prosecutor mistakes might help you get your charges reduced or dismissed – and perhaps avoid a CDL suspension altogether.
- Was the traffic stop proper? Officers can’t pull over drivers just because they want to. They need probable cause that a driver has committed a traffic violation, such as speeding or running a red light. Getting into your car after leaving a bar isn’t the same thing.
- Was your breath test administered correctly? Registering a BAC of 0.04 or higher does not guarantee a conviction. Breath test results aren’t always accurate. They also need to be given correctly. Only certified officers can perform chemical tests.
- Was the arrest legal? Officers need to clear a higher hurdle and show probable cause to warrant an arrest. This still does not mean a crime was committed.
- Were your Miranda warnings read? You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Law officers are supposed to remind you of these rights after they arrest you and before they question you. Otherwise, a judge might bar your testimony.
These are just some of the questions an experienced attorney will ask while preparing your defense. Every case is unique, and the circumstances matter. Good attorneys know that not every arrest will lead to a conviction.
The stakes are high
No one wants to face a DUI conviction, but for professional drivers, a conviction can be devastating. Simply accepting the charges and accompanying punishments might not be an option. If you wish to protect your livelihood, you want to work with a lawyer who will scrutinize