Professional Drivers Have Much to Lose When Charged with Drunken Driving or DUI

October 12, 2012

Here in the Garden State the law defines impairment while operating a motor vehicle as having a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, though many a motorist has been arrested and charged with drunken driving while having a lower BAC. As legal defense lawyers, our role is to represent those individuals who have been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs, also known as drug DUI. While not every person is found innocent of charges, it is our right as citizens to have our day in court and face our accusers.

When it comes to establishing hard evidence that a motorist is guilty of drunken driving, state and local police lean heavily on the results provided by devices such as the Alcotest and other breathalyzer-type machines. These devices take a sample of a suspect's exhaled breath and make a chemical analysis of the molecules contained in that sample. Consuming even a small amount of beer, wine or hard liquor is known to dull an individual's senses and can decrease driver reaction time behind the wheel. A breathalyzer test, or occasionally an actual blood test, are ways in which police can measure how much alcohol is circulating in a person's bloodstream.

It goes without saying that anyone who wishes to avoid a DWI charge and possible conviction should never, under any circumstances have a drink before getting behind the wheel of a car, truck or other motor vehicle. If Murphy's Law has anything to say about it, a driver who imbibes just a little will likely run afoul of the police sooner or later and end up facing a judge while trying to defend himself against charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. A qualified DWI attorney can be helpful during this process.

While New Jersey law is relatively strict regarding the legal level of alcohol in the blood of a private individual operating a passenger car or light truck, federal regulations are tighter when it comes to commercial truck drivers who might take a drink while on duty. Federal law calls for more severe penalties, especially considering that holders of commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) drive for a living. In fact, a commercial driver who is convicted of driving with a 0.04 percent of better BAC faces a one-year suspension of their CDL for the first offense. There is no second chance, as a repeat will disqualify that individual from ever holding a CDL again.

This may or may not have been going through the mind of a school bus driver who was arrested by New York state police after he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a house with a handful of students on board. According to news reports, the accident happened on a Wednesday in the mid-afternoon when 66-year-old Frederick Flowers was ferrying home several children from an elementary school in a shortened "mini" school bus. The vehicle ended up inside the garage of a nearby home on Teibrook Ave. in Long Island.

While initial reports from fire department personnel described the event as being caused by some kind of medical emergency experienced by Flowers, the subsequent police investigation resulted in the man being arrested and charged with several counts of aggravated DWI as well as that of endangering the welfare of each of the children on board at the time of the accident. In addition to standard DWI charges, the man was also hit with reckless endangerment charges.


Long Island school bus driver crashes into house, charged with DWI; NBCNews.com, October 4, 2012