Are the DUI Laws Different for Commercial Drivers in Athens, Georgia?

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If you drive for a living, you know how important it is that you keep a clean driving record. But commercial drivers in Athens are human like everyone else. A driver could have a few too many beers at lunch. Or maybe they are out all night and then report to work the next morning. Now, we’re not saying that this is right. In fact, it’s illegal. However, it does happen. And, if it does happen to you, then you’re going to need an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Athens, Georgia.

Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard than other drivers. Because they’re on the road all day, it’s really important that you stay sober. Not only will you be facing criminal charges, but you’ll also risk losing your commercial driver’s license. This means you may lose your job and perhaps be banned from ever driving professionally ever again.

Given the high stakes, a DUI for commercial drivers in Athens is not to be taken lightly. You need to retain an experienced DUI lawyer in Athens. You could be facing jail time and thousands of dollars in fine. You may also risk losing your chance to earn a living.

What is the Law Regarding DUI for Commercial Drivers in Athens?

It’s against the law for anyone to drive in Georgia while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the police suspect that you’re driving while impaired, they’re going to pull you over. They’re going to ask you to perform a field sobriety test. They may also ask you to take a breathalyzer test.

If you don’t perform well on the Field Sobriety Test, you’ll be asked to submit to the breath test. The Field Sobriety Test consists of the following:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): This is when the officer will ask you to follow an object with your eyes. They’re looking for a few different indicators of impairment. Yes, they want to see if you can follow the object. But they’re also looking at how much your eyes jerk when doing this part of the test. If you’re impaired, your eye darting will be more exaggerated.
  • Walk and Turn – Almost all FST involve this part of the test. The officer will ask the driver to walk in one direction, heel to toe, for a certain number of steps (usually 9 or 10). Then the driver has to turn around and repeat the same thing in the other direction.
  • One leg stand – Most people who are drunk are not able to stand on one left for any length of time. The officers will ask you to stand on one leg for about thirty seconds. If you wobble or fall, it’s an indication that you’re drunk or under the influence.

If you don’t perform well on any of these components, the officer will presume you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. At that point, they’ll ask you to take a breathalyzer test.

Your Athens DUI Lawyer Understands the Legal Limit for Commercial Drivers is Lower

When you take a breathalyzer, it’s measuring your blood alcohol content. For someone who hasn’t had any alcohol, this measure will be 0.0%. The legal limit for individuals or personal drivers is .08%. So, if someone is pulled over for suspicion of DUI and blow a .08% or higher, they’ll be arrested for DUI.

For commercial drivers, the legal limit is much lower. In Georgia, a commercial driver is considered DUI if they have a BAC of .04 or higher. This is only half the legal limit for other drivers. So, if someone normally could drink 3 or 4 beers and be under the legal limit of .08%, they’ll probably be over the limit for commercial drivers. This is intentional. It’s as close to a zero-tolerance policy as the legislature was willing to mandate.

Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer in Athens Today

If you drive for a living and get pulled over for a DUI in Georgia, you could be in trouble. Not only is your personal license at risk, but so is your professional license. There is so much at stake, you don’t want to leave it to chance. You should call and talk to an experienced DUI lawyer who knows what you’re facing.

An attorney can look at the facts of your case and let you know what you are up against. They have a feel for the local judges and can let you know if you have a shot at a plea deal. Call our office today and set up a time to come in for a free consultation.

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