Police officers across the state of New York have special training to help them identify those who are driving while intoxicated (DWI). If they spot unusual driving behaviors, they will conduct a traffic stop to screen the driver for chemical impairment.
Those in control of passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles are subject to such enforcement efforts. However, the rules for drivers are different depending on the kind of license they have and the kind of vehicle they drive.
When someone with a commercial license is in a passenger vehicle, they face the same rules and restrictions as any other driver. When they are in control of a semitruck or other commercial vehicle, they are subject to stricter commercial licensing restrictions, which means police have a lower standard to meet to bring charges against that driver.
The per se limit for commercial drivers is twice as strict
Drunk driving charges can arise from one of two situations. The first is a scenario where a driver is visibly impaired and incapable of operating a vehicle safely. Regardless of the results of their chemical tests, they can still face charges.
However, even those who seem to be capable of driving safely can face DWI charges if they violate the per se limit. Lawmakers have enacted a strict rule regarding the maximum level of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that a driver can have.
Those driving their own vehicles break the per se limit when their BAC reaches 0.08%. However, the limit is half that for those driving a commercial vehicle. A BAC of just 0.04% is enough to lead to the immediate arrest of a commercial driver in control of a commercial vehicle.
Arrests in your personal vehicle can also affect your commercial license
As if the stricter rules about blood alcohol levels weren’t enough, those who drive commercially also face greater scrutiny of their personal driving record. A DWI conviction for an arrest that occurs while off the clock and in your own vehicle can have an immediate effect on your qualification for your CDL.
Commercial drivers face not just criminal consequences but also career consequences if they plead guilty or get convicted of a DWI. Fighting back against the DWI charge may be the only way to protect your profession and your licensing.