Tampa Commercial DUI Attorneys

Commercial Drivers & DUI Charges

Any case involving driving under the influence is potentially life-altering; this, however, is never truer than when dealing with a commercial driver who drives for a living. Due to the large size of their vehicle, as well as the commercial nature of their jobs, commercial drivers are placed under even stricter rules than non-commercial drivers.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), while alcohol is a legal substance, they do have rules regarding the use of "prohibited alcohol-related conduct."

It is prohibited to operate a commercial vehicle while drinking alcohol, while having a blood alcohol level over 0.04% or within 4 hours of drinking. Due to their severe stance on alcohol usage, commercial drivers are also subjected to routine and random alcohol testing.

According to the FMCSA, the following are required alcohol tests:

  • Post-Accident -
    Following a truck accident where the driver's behavior is considered a contributing factor, the driver will be subjected to alcohol testing. This is determined by whether or not the driver was cited for a moving traffic violation. In cases where the accident resulted in a fatality, however, they will always be tested.

  • Reasonable Suspicion -
    In some cases, an accident may not occur but a supervisor or a company official may observe certain behaviors or symptoms that lead them to believe the driver was operating under the influence. The reasonable suspicion is enough to warrant a test.

  • Random -
    Beyond the post-accident and reasonable suspicion tests, all drivers are subjected to random testing. This can be done around functions that have safety-sensitive facets. They are unannounced and designed to keep drivers on their toes and safe at all times.

  • Return-to-Duty -
    Should a driver be required to leave work following an alcohol-related incident, they will be subjected to alcohol tests once they return to safety-sensitive duties. They will also experience 6 unannounced follow-up tests within the first 12 months of return.

All of the above tests will be split up into two separate parts. The first is known as "screening." If it returns with less than 0.02 percent alcohol, it is considered negative. If, however, is higher than that, it is considered positive and moves on to the section portion. This is the confirmation test and is much more thorough than the first. The blood alcohol technician must use evidential breath testing (EBT) that prints out not only the results, but also the date and time, the test number, as well as the name and serial number of the EBT.

Consequences of DUI for Tampa Commercial Drivers

Beyond being removed from safety-sensitive functions, commercial drivers will also face serious criminal penalties as well. This can include driver disqualification, license suspension, fines and jail time. While these are never ideal, when you drive for a living, they can affect your very livelihood. To ensure that your legal rights are protected, do not hesitate to consult with a Tampa criminal defense lawyer from Thomas & Paulk, P.A. as soon as you possibly can. With over two decades of combined legal experience, we have been able to help countless clients protect their rights; no matter whether we are fighting for reduced penalties or dismissed charges entirely, you can trust in the legal prowess of our team. We understand how much is at stake and will do everything possible to ensure that your future is protected.

Call us today to learn more. You can schedule your consultation by calling 813-321-7323.

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