Commercial Drivers Have More DUI Restrictions Than Other Drivers
While it may make sense to some that commercial drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to DUIs, why aren't all drivers held to the same standards? If the law says that driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% is illegal for drivers, why is the limit for commercial drivers only 0.04%? After all, commercial driver's have much more driving experience than most drivers. Yet, under Georgia DUI law, one drink may put them over the legal limit, but other drivers out on the same roads can have 2 or 3 drinks before they are over the limit.
Commercial drivers also have a lot more at stake after a DUI. Their commercial driver's license (CDL) can be suspended for an entire year after a DUI. If they get a second one, they won't be able to get a CDL at all, which may mean that all their work experience up until that point will leave them without a job. Even with a perfect driving record and no accidents or other violations, a CDL DUI can mean your job.
Legal Defenses for CDL Drivers
Although the per se legal limit is lower, and the consequences may be greater, a commercial driver arrested for a DUI can seek defenses along the same lines as any other driver. Depending on the facts of your case, if the police made a mistake anywhere along the process, that may mean your Atlanta DUI lawyer can get evidence thrown out of court, or have your charges reduced or dismissed entirely. If your case goes to trial, your DUI attorney can defend you against the prosecutor's charges, to convince the jury that you are innocent.
Even though the cops routinely do traffic stops and evaluate drivers every day for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it does not mean they are doing things by the book. If the cops don't follow the rules, then you shouldn't be penalized for their mistakes. The police make mistakes all the time, from pulling you over, to field sobriety tests, to arrest. A DUI lawyer who exclusively handles DUI cases will know how to find the defenses in your case.
Traffic Stop: It may seem like the cops can pull over any car for any reason, but they have to have probable cause or a reasonable suspicion to pull over a car. They also have to be able to articulate specific facts to justify stopping the car. If they don't, then the traffic stop may be a violation of your constitutional rights.
Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are not 100% accurate. Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration knows this. There can be a lot of problems with field sobriety test results. If you submitted to field sobriety tests, everything from the specific instructions, to observation, to analysis of the results should be reviewed by an experienced DUI attorney with training in field sobriety testing, to see where the police went wrong, and how the results should not reflect your suitability to drive.
Alcohol/Drug Testing: Even the machines that test blood and breath for alcohol or drugs are subject to error. This could be operator error, by an inexperienced or distracted officer. It could also be machine error from a machine that was improperly calibrated. False positives can also be set off by other substances which are not related to impaired driving.
There are many available defenses in a CDL DUI case. However, many people don't challenge an arrest because they think it will just be the police officers word against theirs. This is why it is important to have someone standing by your side, to challenge the police and prosecutors, and to make them prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If there are any problems with the case, it may be thrown out, and you will be free to keep your license, and keep a clean criminal record.
Commercial CDL DUI Defense in Atlanta
If you are arrested for a DUI while driving a commercial vehicle in Georgia, your CDL license will automatically be suspended for a year, unless you act within 30 days to stop this process. A conviction may make it harder for you to find a commercial driving job in the future. With so much at stake, you need to know how to fight the charges against you, so that you can keep your license and your job. Don't wait any longer, because the time is running out to keep your license from being suspended. Call our office today so we can discuss the consequences of a DUI for commercial drivers.