The Consequences of a DUI For Commercial Drivers in Fairhope, AL

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense with significant legal and personal consequences. Operating a commercial vehicle while impaired not only jeopardizes the safety of others on the road but also has far-reaching consequences for the driver’s livelihood. A seasoned Fairhope, AL DUI attorney can help you understand the specific penalties and requirements and explain your best legal options for minimizing the impact on your CDL and career.

Commercial License Suspension or Revocation After DUI in Alabama

First DUI Offense

For a first DUI offense in a non-commercial vehicle, a commercial driver’s CDL will be disqualified for one year. During this period, you cannot legally operate a commercial vehicle.

Second DUI Offense

If you get convicted of a second DUI offense in a non-commercial vehicle, your CDL will be disqualified for life. This is a permanent revocation of the CDL, meaning you will no longer be eligible to hold a CDL in Alabama.

CDL Disqualification

If you get a commercial DUI conviction while operating a commercial vehicle, you may lose your license permanently. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, your CDL may be disqualified for one year for the first refusal and three years for subsequent refusals.

Employment Consequences of Drunk Driving in Fairhope, AL

  • Job Loss: Most employers of commercial drivers in Fairhope, AL have strict policies against employing individuals with DUI convictions. If you are convicted of a DUI in Alabama, you will most likely lose your job. This is especially true if the DUI incident occurred while operating a commercial vehicle.
  • Disqualification from CDL-Required Positions: Losing a commercial driver’s license (CDL) due to a DUI conviction may disqualify you from applying for CDL-required positions. These positions are often well-paying and stable employment opportunities.
  • Loss of Seniority and Benefits: For those who had a long-standing career as a commercial driver, a DUI conviction can result in the loss of seniority, benefits, and retirement contributions. This can have a lasting financial impact.
  • Increased Insurance Costs for Employers: A DUI conviction can lead to higher insurance premiums for the employer’s commercial vehicle fleet. This increased expense may result in reduced wages or benefits for all employees.
  • Difficulty Finding New Employment: Even after a DUI conviction, finding new employment in the transportation or trucking industry can be challenging. Employers often check driving records, and a DUI can be a red flag for potential employers.

Federal Regulations for Commercial DUI

For commercial drivers in Fairhope, AL, federal regulations regarding DUI are primarily governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Federal regulations set strict BAC limits for commercial drivers. In Alabama, the legal limit for commercial drivers is generally 0.04% BAC, which is half the limit for non-commercial drivers (0.08% BAC).

In addition, commercial drivers are subject to implied consent laws, which means that by holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you agree to submit to chemical testing, such as breathalyzer or blood tests. Commercial drivers who refuse to take a required BAC test can face disqualification. Certain DUI convictions may require the installation of an ignition interlock device on all vehicles operated by the driver both personal and commercial.

The FMCSA established the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which is a national database that tracks drug and alcohol violations for CDL holders. Employers are required to report these violations, and this information can affect your future employment prospects.

How Will Our Lawyers Refute Your Fairhope, AL DUI Charge?

Here are a few key strategies and arguments our DUI defense lawyers in Fairhope, AL will use to challenge your commercial DUI charges:

  • Lack of Probable Cause: Our attorney may argue that law enforcement lacked probable cause to stop or detain you.
  • Challenging Field Sobriety Tests: We may challenge the reliability and accuracy of these tests, pointing out factors such as poor weather conditions, medical conditions, or law enforcement errors that may have affected the results.
  • Breathalyzer Accuracy: We can question the accuracy and maintenance of breathalyzer devices used to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
  • Rising BAC Defense: In some cases, a driver’s BAC can rise between the time they were pulled over and when the breathalyzer test was administered. The attorney may argue that your BAC was below the legal limit while driving but had increased by the time of testing.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions or medications can affect BAC readings and may lead to false positives. We may present medical records and expert testimony to support this defense.
  • Field Sobriety Test Video Analysis: Our dedicated attorney may review video footage of field sobriety tests to challenge the officer’s observations and interpretations of your performance.
  • Chain of Custody: The attorney may examine the chain of custody for blood or urine samples, if applicable. Any break in the chain of custody could raise doubts about the integrity of the evidence.
  • Mistaken Identity: If there is any doubt about the identity of the drunk driver or if someone else had access to the commercial vehicle, we may present evidence to establish an alibi or demonstrate mistaken identity.

Our DUI lawyers will fight till the end to protect your rights. If all options are exhausted, we will strongly negotiate with the prosecution for a plea deal that reduces the charge from DUI to a lesser offense with less severe consequences.

Get a Free Case Evaluation from Our Seasoned Fairhope, AL Criminal Defense Attorneys

The experienced DUI lawyers at Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne, P.A. have decades of collective experience in DUI defense. We have represented numerous clients, from first-time offenses to commercial DUIs. We know how to negotiate with prosecutors and present strong arguments and evidence in court to get your charges dismissed or reduced. Depending on the case, we can also explore alternative penalties that minimize the impact on your life. To schedule your free consultation, call 251-928-1915 or reach us online.

What the Rise in Gig Economy Means for Divorce

There’s no question that COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the economy and how people view work. While gigs and side jobs have always been an option, the pandemic saw a huge number of people ramp up their earning opportunities or completely change how they earn an income.

If you are pursuing a divorce and you or your partner earn money in a side hustle, you may find that some aspects of your divorce are more complicated than they are for those with conventional employment. Learn more by calling Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne at 2251-928-1915.

Side Hustles Are Now the Norm

Side hustles used to be reserved for those who couldn’t make quite enough in their day job, but they have become increasingly common in recent years. Even people with thriving careers often supplement their income with a side gig.

Options vary widely and include:

  • Driving for Uber, Lyft, or another rideshare company
  • Delivering food for Grubhub, UberEats, Doordash, or other similar services
  • Delivering goods and groceries for companies like Instacart
  • Babysitting or providing nannying services
  • Dog walking and pet care
  • Freelancing for writers, artists, and coders

Unfortunately, multiple income streams can also complicate the divorce process. Some of the issues you may run into are detailed below.

Calculating Spousal Support and Child Support

First, it can make it incredibly difficult to come to an agreement on appropriate child support and spousal support numbers. Child support in Alabama looks at the income earned by both parents, so either parent having a fluctuating income can make it difficult to create an order that’s truly fair.

This is especially true if a side gig is one parent’s only or sole source of income. If one earner is always at risk of losing all of their income without any option for unemployment, that may change what is considered fair.

Spousal support is difficult if either spouse has a side gig. Consider a spouse who has to pay spousal support. They may claim that their gig income is unreliable and unsteady, so it should not be calculated with their regular income source for alimony purposes.

However, the receiving spouse may claim that leaving that amount out would significantly affect the order. If the receiving spouse has a side gig, the paying party may argue that they don’t actually need spousal support.

Under-the-Table Work

While many side gigs require you to sign up using your SSN and fly appropriate tax documents, there are some that pay cash under the table. Some restaurants and bars pay servers or bartenders cash to work occasional shifts, and babysitting is often not reported on taxes.

Unfortunately, if one party does not report a source of income, that may force the other parent to pay more in child support. There are ways that the court can prove that one spouse is earning undeclared income, so discuss this issue with your attorney as soon as possible if you think it’s an issue in your divorce.

Challenges With Child Custody and Visitation

It should come as no surprise that child custody and visitation schedules are often very difficult to work out when one or both parents engage in gig work. Children thrive on routine and a schedule, but when one parent doesn’t have a set schedule, they often struggle to provide that stability for a child.

If the non-custodial parent primarily earns money through a side gig, they may be unavailable for their visitation time if they are expected to work or pick up tasks during that time. This puts enormous stress on the custodial parent and can cause the parent-child relationship to deteriorate. For this type of arrangement to work, there generally needs to be some financial sacrifice on the part of the gig-working parent and some flexibility on the part of the custodial parent.

Find Out How Wilkins, Bankester, Biles & Wynne Can Help

Regardless of which factors make your divorce a challenge, our team is ready to help you. We’re ready to talk about your divorce and what you hope to get out of it. Call our Fairhope office at 251-928-1915, or send us a message online now.