If you're a professional driver, you undoubtedly understand the importance of safety on the road. You also know that your employer, and the people of Texas, trust you to keep your passengers and others on the road as safe as possible. If the police suspect you of breaking that trust and drinking while driving, the consequences can be serious. That's what a professional ambulance driver in Georgia recently discovered.
DWI Ambulance Crash
On November 12, an ambulance left the road and rolled over into a ditch about 20 miles outside Atlanta. According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, the accident killed a 66-year-old unrestrained passenger who was riding in the back. The driver, suspected of driving while drinking, faces charges of driving with an open container, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, and “DUI combination less safe,” which allows Georgia police to charge someone driving under the legal BAC limit but is driving “less safe.” The ambulance driver would likely face similar charges if this had happened in Texas.
Professional Drivers in Texas
In Texas, as in most states, professional drivers are held to higher standards than the general public. For example, Texas DWI law defines drivers as “intoxicated” if their blood alcohol concentration exceeds .08%. However, if you are a professional driver with a Texas commercial driver’s license (CDL), you can face DWI charges with a BAC of .04% or higher. This higher BAC standard holds even if you aren't driving professionally. Police can charge you with DWI at a BAC of .04% or higher, even if you're driving their own personal vehicle. While ambulance drivers don't have to hold commercial licenses, they still hold positions of trust. If you drink while driving professionally, it will likely result in the loss of your job.
A first conviction for a DWI with a CDL is a Class B misdemeanor with a possibility of up to $2,000 in court-imposed fines, loss of your CDL, up to 180 days in jail, and a mandatory $3,000 administrative fine. The loss of your CDL can also mean the loss of your career and your livelihood. If someone is seriously injured or killed, as in the case of the ambulance driver, you could face charges of intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter. Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony with penalties of up to $10,000 in fines and up to ten years in prison. Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony with penalties of up to $10,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.
You Need an Expert in DWI Defense
If you face DWI charges and drive professionally or hold a commercial driver's license, you need a skilled DWI lawyer. If you want to avoid losing your license and your job, you need an expert by your side. Attorney Doug Murphy is an expert. He is one of only two attorneys in Texas Board Certified in both DWI Defense Law and Criminal Defense Law. Doug was also recently named a 2021 “Lawyer of the Year” for Houston DWI defense by Best Lawyers in America. Find out what Doug Murphy and his team can do for you. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. at 713-229-8333, or contact them online to schedule your consultation.