If you’re driving along a Minnesota highway and a police officer pulls you over in a traffic stop, there could be negative implications. You might get a speeding ticket; then again, the officer in question might merely issue a warning, then release you. If you’re suspected of DWI, however, things might get a lot worse before they get better, especially if you happen to be driving a commercial vehicle at the time.
Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level has a significant impact on the ultimate outcome of your case if you’re arrested for suspected drunk driving. For most drivers, it becomes illegal to operate a motor vehicle once BAC reaches .08 or higher. If you’re driving a commercial vehicle, however, the legal limit is much lower.
What is the legal BAC limit for commercial vehicle drivers?
If you’re operating a commercial vehicle after consuming an alcoholic beverage, your BAC level must not be .04 or higher. Penalties under DWI conviction are often quite severe for commercial vehicle operators.
DWI has immediate and far-reaching implications
In many cases, even if the court finds you not guilty for DWI, the fact that the police arrested and charged you with a crime may have a negative impact on your career, especially if you’re a commercial truck driver. If you’re facing DWI charges in Minnesota, you’ll have court appointments and other legal issues to take care of. Your employer might not be so understanding.
If you’re convicted of DWI, you could lose your CDL for a minimum of 1 year (first offense) or lifetime disqualification (multiple violations), and thereby lose your job as well. Many employers won’t even consider an application if you have a DWI on your record. Even if you’re able to restore your CDL status, some employers might feel that it’s just not worth the risk to hire someone who has a prior DWI conviction on his or her record.
Things to know if you’re arrested for DWI as a commercial driver
While DWI laws are more stringent for CDL holders in Minnesota, if you’re charged with drunk driving, you’re afforded the same opportunities to refute the charges against you that any other defendant facing criminal charges would be. In such circumstances, you’d have several important decisions to make, such as whether to plead guilty or not guilty in court.
The decisions you make may have a significant outcome on your case, which is why you want to make sure you seek clarification of DWI laws as they pertain to commercial drivers before you take any legal action.