When Your Career Is on the Line
The future of freight is changing as the push to get self-driving trucks on the road continues. Eventually, freight truckers might face job insecurity because of this new technology, but until we reach that point, truckers are a vital part of our economy.
Freight truckers supply the State of California and the country with valuable goods and products. Perhaps because freight truckers play such an important role in our economy, they are held to stringent standards when it comes to driver conduct. Accordingly, a freight trucker facing DUI charges might find his or her career on the line. A DUI arrest might not be sufficient cause for termination, but a DUI conviction could be, so freighters should navigate any criminal case with caution.
As a freight trucker or commercial driver, your job requires excellent driving skills, endurance, focus, and responsibility. If any of those traits are called into question because of a criminal charge, you could be out of work. Typically, driving crimes such as DUIs or reckless driving have the biggest impact and carry the most potential to ruin someone's career. One relevant conviction won't necessarily disqualify you from being a commercial driver for life, but two most likely will. But even if you are facing criminal charges, you are innocent until proven guilty and should, therefore, explore your options for fighting your charges.
As a freight trucker, you not only face stricter standards of conduct, you face a longer license suspension and many more collateral consequences if convicted, chief of which is your job. After you are arrested for a DUI, two types of proceedings will commence: DMV proceedings and criminal court proceedings.
Trying to navigate either of these on your own when the stakes are high is never a good idea. The DMV deals with your driving privileges and your license. The criminal court deals with your criminal charges. Both can suspend your license for a DUI. You should take both proceedings seriously. You should take quick action if you are arrested for a DUI because the DMV gives you a very short amount of time in which to request a hearing. If you don't request a hearing, you won't have the chance to defend yourself. Start that process as soon as you can by contacting an attorney after your arrest so he or she can request an administrative hearing. Your criminal court proceedings might not go as quickly and can be more complicated because the court will consider many factors. In your criminal case, however, there is sometimes more room for negotiation—if you have a good attorney—than there is with the DMV. Again, make sure you speak with an attorney before you answer any questions or appear in court.
The good news is a DUI conviction does not spell the end of your career. Some companies will hire drivers with DUIs on their record, but many require a certain number of years have passed since the conviction. Some companies won't hire a trucker with a DUI conviction in the last seven years and others not at all. Similarly, company policies for contracted drivers can vary as well. So, if you're facing criminal charges, you should inquire about your company's policies, so you know where it stands on criminal convictions.
If you are a freight trucker or commercial driver facing DUI charges or criminal charges of any kind, consider speaking with an attorney. When your very livelihood is on the line, it is worth it to consult with an experienced California criminal defense attorney about your options. A skilled attorney can do two things. He or she can help you challenge your license suspension in DMV proceedings. Even if you are confident about your criminal case, make sure you have expert guidance when dealing with the DMV. An attorney can also help you fight your criminal charges. Find a trusted criminal defense attorney with experience in driving crime and general criminal defense. Discuss your work and the licensing you need to maintain to stay on the road so he or she can devise a strategic plan of action unique to your situation.
This two-pronged approach will give you the best chance of keeping your license so you can stay on the road. Trying to handle these two processes on your own is unwise because many factors can affect your case and put your license—and your job—at risk.
Are you facing criminal charges and worried about your license? Visalia area DUI and driving crime defense attorney Christopher Martens can help you fight the charges and keep your license so you can stay on the job. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.