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How do DUI laws differ for commercial drivers?

When it comes to remaining sober while operating a vehicle, Hoosiers know how to obey the law. According to a recent study, Indiana had one of the lowest rates of DUI arrests and incidents in 2017.

Everyone needs to remain cognizant of the law and avoid consuming alcohol before going on the road. While a DUI charge can be catastrophic for anyone, it is particularly dangerous for people who operate commercial vehicles, such as 18-wheelers. In addition to facing jail time and fines, commercial drivers may also lose their commercial licenses, preventing them from going back to their old jobs. Additionally, commercial drivers need to be aware that there are some key differences in the law when it comes to people who own a commercial driver's license.

Lower blood alcohol content limit

In most states, there is a BAC limit of 0.08 percent. This is the limit most lawmakers recognize as being too dangerous for people to safely operate a vehicle of any kind. However, for commercial drivers, the BAC limit is only 0.04 percent. A person may need to consume two or three drinks to have a BAC higher than 0.08 percent, but for some people, one drink may be all it takes to go past the limit. This is in accordance with a new law passed in Indiana in 2016. According to Indiana Code 9-24-6.1-6, a commercial driver who gets behind the wheel with a BAC of at least 0.04 percent commits a Class C infraction. 

Implied consent

All drivers are under implied consent in the state of Indiana. This means by acquiring a driver's license, commercial or not, the driver intrinsically consents to undergoing a breath test if the police request one. When a regular driver refuses a breathalyzer test, he or she is automatically placed under arrest and the police will confiscate the license. For commercial drivers, refusing a test will result in an automatic suspension of the license. 

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Todd L. Sallee, Attorney at Law

155 East Market Street, Suite 575
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone: 317-643-5507
Fax: 317-630-4824
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