According to a recent article from Fox CT News, a school bus driver was arrested on charges of driving a commercial motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Authorities have that alleged that a police officer was on his way to a middle school when he observed a school bus in front of him swerve off the road surface. He continued to follow the bus to the school.
When the officer spoke with children exiting the bus, he was told that the driver had hit several curbs on the way to school and was driving poorly. The officer administered field sobriety tests on the bus driver, and after determining that she had failed, placed her under arrest on suspicion of drunk driving.
At the police station, she was given a breathalyzer, and her blood alcohol content (BAC) was alleged to be 0.13. This is over the legal limit of 0.08 for drivers in a personal motor vehicle and substantially over limit of for drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle.
As your Birmingham DUI attorney can explain, the legal limit for operating a commercial motor vehicle in the State of Alabama is .04, and for drivers of school busses, the legal limit is .02.
After her arrest, all children on the bus were examined for any injuries, and it was determined that there were none. The school also sent a letter to all parents explaining the situation.
If you have been arrested for driving a commercial motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, you probably have much more at stake than a typical DUI defendant. Not only do you face the standard penalties associated with a drunk driving conviction, but also a conviction or loss of license will likely have a substantial effect on your ability to earn a living.
While the consequences may be severe, there is a lot your Alabama DUI lawyer can do to prevent a conviction. In addition to challenging the validity of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), which we have discussed in other blog entries, your attorney may be able to challenge the results of the breath-testing instrument used by the police during your arrest.
One of the main problems with standard testing machines involves the calibration process. Most machines rely on infrared spectrometry or fuel cell (EC) integration analysis, or a combination of the two methods. While these sound like very scientific terms, and they are, the issue is that a police officer, not a scientist, has the job of calibrating the machine using a another machine known as a headspace gas chromatograph and a dry gas solution.
The officer responsible for calibrating the machine is normally required to testify at trial and, as you can imagine, under cross-examination, it may be very difficult for that officer to explain this process to a jury.
This is the reason that you want to make sure your attorney regularly handles cases for people charged with drunk driving and has a thorough understanding of the models of breath testing instruments used by the police.