Most White Plains, New York, residents probably know that if they get behind the wheel of a vehicle after having a few drinks, they are putting themselves in both personal and legal danger.

Even if they cause no accident, if an officer pulls them over and, using legal processes, finds out that they were operating a vehicle with over .08 blood alcohol content, then the driver will almost definitely face a criminal charge and, along with it, a license suspension and other problems, including even the possibility of jail time.

Both the rules and the potential consequences are stricter for commercial drivers. For one, a commercial driver who is caught operating his or her commercial vehicle at .04 BAC, even if they face no criminal charges, will likely have their privilege of operating commercial vehicles revoked for 1 year and, potentially, 3 years depending on what type of cargo they were hauling at the time. Subsequent violations will mean the accused is prohibited from driving commercial vehicles for at least a decade.

The same penalties apply if the driver receives a drunk driving conviction, even if the incident happened in one’s personal vehicle and the driver otherwise has a clean driving record.

The long and short of it is that, while any drunk driving case is serious, even one alcohol-related traffic offense for a commercial driver can spell the end of his or her professional career and, with that, his or her livelihood.

It is also important to remember that these actions on one’s commercial license are administrative penalties, not criminal cases. This means that one may not have the same rights and protections as one would in a criminal matter, and the fact that a driver beats a criminal case does not mean he or she will also have success in dealing with the fallout from the related administrative truck violations.

For these reasons, it is almost always a good idea for a commercial driver facing one of these allegations to get the assistance of an experienced traffic attorney who has a track record of helping commercial drivers.