Kinney Law, pc

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P.O. Box 729
Spearfish, SD 57783

Phone: 605-642-2147
Fax: 605-642-4079
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Sturgis, SD 57785

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DUI laws are tougher on truckers

Anyone who faces a DUI conviction may worry that the harsh penalties could cause difficulties with work. At the least, license suspension or revocation can lead to transportation issues. 

For commercial drivers, the repercussions may be much worse if they are behind the wheel of a large truck and South Dakota law enforcement discovers they are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

BAC level

For most drivers, a breath or blood test that reveals a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more can lead to an arrest. However, for a trucker driving a commercial vehicle, any BAC at all can cause immediate problems. If a driver's BAC is under 0.04 percent, he or she cannot get back behind the wheel of the vehicle for 24 hours.

Truckers who have a BAC at or above 0.04 percent face the loss of the CDL for one year, and drivers hauling hazardous materials lose their license for three years. This is just for the first offense; a second offense can lead to permanent CDL loss.

Implied consent

It may seem like a solution to refuse to take the chemical test so there is no evidence to show that the driver's BAC is at or above 0.04 percent. However, the implied consent law could cause a harsher outcome than if the driver simply conceded to the test. 

The implied consent law states that by driving, a person automatically agrees to take a test if law enforcement requests it. Refusal to take the test results in a DUI charge, and for drivers behind the wheel of a large truck, refusal puts them out of service for 24 hours and disqualifies them from driving a large truck for one year.

Defense strategies

Fortunately, there are many defenses for DUI charges. For example, sometimes breath test results are faulty. Failure on the officer's or the prosecution's part to follow correct procedure could get the case dismissed. With a successful strategy, a trucker may be able to keep from losing his or her livelihood.

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