Commercial drivers whose livelihoods depend on their ability to drive a vehicle such as a bus or truck can encounter serious complications if they are charged with a DUI/OUI. These individuals are held to a much higher standard if there is a traffic incident involving driving under the influence, and a conviction can result in the loss of a career. Professional drivers in Mississippi must pass strict tests that demonstrate special skills, knowledge and training in order to carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Commercial drivers may be responsible for driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that is very heavy and unwieldy vehicles to transport hazardous cargo or large groups of passengers, and an accident that results in injury or death due to driver impairment is a threat to public safety that can incur serious liability on the driver’s employer.
The penalties for a commercial driver DUI
Most states follow the guidelines for the FMCSA for legal limits for DUI’s, with penalties for commercial driver DUI’s covered under both federal and state laws. Under these guidelines, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level limit for professional drivers is 0.04% and they will be subject to disqualification sanctions in the federal regulations.
Under Mississippi law, a professional driver’s CDL will be disqualified for one year for a first DUI/OUI, refusal of a chemical test or for driving a CMV while disqualified or causing a fatality while driving a CMV. The operator may also be charged with operating under the influence of any drug or controlled substance under the Mississippi Controlled Substance Law. License revocation will be three years for a CMV operator hauling hazardous substances, and a subsequent conviction will result in lifetime CDL revocation.
The outcome of a commercial DUI
If a professional driver is convicted of a DUI even once, the effect can be devastating and long term. Their current job may be at risk and the DUI will remain on their record, preventing them from seeking another job as a commercial driver. It is possible to mount an effective defense against charges, especially if you were stopped without probable cause or if the arresting officer improperly administered breath or chemical tests.
But the first step after arrest is to find experienced legal counsel serving the Gulfport community to advise you on the critical measures to take to avoid losing your CDL while developing a defense that will help reduce or dismiss penalties.