No one wants to face an operating under the influence (OUI) charge, especially as a commercial driver. These drivers must meet stricter regulations because of the risk with large, heavy vehicles. If you have been arrested and have a commercial license, your driving career could be in jeopardy. Here is what you need to know about OUI and commercial licenses in Massachusetts.
Heightened Legal Thresholds and Consequences
Most criminal charges are based on the driver’s blood alcohol concentration limit. For most drivers, that limit is at 0.08%. However, commercial drivers have a lower threshold. In many cases, it is set at 0.04%. While all drivers are responsible for being safe on the road, commercial drivers’ reckless behavior can put the public at risk. With that, there are higher consequences for an OUI offense.
With an OUI charge, these drivers may face immediate suspension of their commercial driver’s license (CDL). When a person loses the ability to drive commercially, it can mean financial devastation for them. An OUI charge can tarnish their driving record and jeopardize their employability.
Many companies have strict policies regarding the hiring of individuals with a history of impaired driving. If this charge results in job loss, it can be difficult for the driver to secure new employment in the commercial driving industry.
Along with the immediate suspension, commercial drivers often face longer license suspensions compared to non-commercial drivers for the same offense. Once again, these consequences make sure that all commercial drivers adhere to the highest standards of safety. Additionally, these drivers could face fines and be required to attend mandatory alcohol education programs.
Federal Reporting Requirements
All commercial drivers must abide by federal Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Any OUI conviction must be reported to the FMCSA. In most cases, that can leave a lasting mark on a driver’s record. With this federal oversight, if a driver seeks employment in a different state, their OUI conviction remains on record. Once again, that can impact their ability to find a commercial driving job.
Can the License Be Reinstated?
Reinstating a commercial driver’s license after an OUI conviction is difficult. The driver will need to meet certain requirements. In some cases, they will have to complete an alcohol education program, undergo a substance abuse evaluation, and install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
What About Insurance?
Any OUI conviction will cause a huge spike in insurance premiums. While Massachusetts does not require SR-22 insurance, some states may demand commercial drivers with OUI convictions to file this form. With that, they can ensure that the driver has adequate liability insurance to operate the vehicle.
Learn More About OUI and Commercial Licenses in Massachusetts.
Commercial drivers facing OUI charges must deal with stricter penalties, immediate consequences, and the lasting impact on their livelihoods. If you have been arrested for an OUI while driving a commercial vehicle, there is still a chance to prevent a conviction. You need an experienced and skilled OUI Massachusetts attorney on your side.
For over 50 years, the Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. has helped thousands of clients resolve their OUI cases. We provide defense legal services to Springfield, Hyannis, Belchertown, and Cape Cod communities. Contact us by calling (413)-731-9995 or texting (413)-225-2072 to schedule a free initial consultation.