One of the great things about being a driver for a company like Uber or Lyft is that you can set your own schedule and work whenever you choose, but if you’ve had a drink or two, you’d better avoid clocking in on the ride sharing service. That’s because the legal blood alcohol content for the driver of a limo, taxi or ride-sharing service is half of what it is for a regular driver, according to Oceanside DUI lawyer Peter M. Liss.
Drivers for Hire BAC
Drivers of commercial vehicles were already subject to a blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.04 for years under federal law. Most people can get a BAC of 0.04 after only one or two drinks.
However drivers for hire who ferried passengers around town in taxis, limos, Lyfts and Ubers were still permitted to have the same 0.08 BAC as practically any other driver on the road, at least up until July of 2018.
Since the law changed, these drivers now have a similar restriction on them as commercial drivers, with some notable differences. While those with commercial driver’s licenses cannot operate even passenger vehicles with a BAC above 0.04, those who operate taxis, limos, Lyfts and Ubers can drive with a BAC between 0.04 and 0.08 as long as they do not appear to be under the influence and do not have a paying passenger in the car -even if they are operating the car they use for work and are even technically “on the clock.”
It’s worth mentioning that driving under the influence can also be committed by any driver driving under the influence of alcohol at any level if it impairs their ability to drive. In San Diego, it is common for prosecutors to charge a driver with a DUI for having a breath or blood .06 or above. Typically non-commercial drivers at .05 or below are not charged with DUI.
Fighting the Charges
The fact that the passenger has to be paying is a critical detail in these cases and something that your Oceanside DUI attorney can use in your defense. If, for example, you had a BAC of 0.05 in the car you use to give Uber rides, it doesn’t matter if you were technically on the clock, as long as the passenger did not pay to get a ride in your vehicle, you cannot be convicted of this charge.
Ride-Share DUI Penalties
The penalties of a DUI while operating a ride-share vehicle are the same as those for a usual DUI. If it is your first offense, you could face a penalty of up to $390 and $1000, be sentenced to up to six months in jail and lose your license for up to six months. Your vehicle could also be impounded for up to six months, you may be forced to install an ignition interlock device and you will be required to carry SR-22 insurance for up to three years after you get your license back. These consequences are bad enough for most people, but for those who make a living through driving passengers from one place to another, they could leave you out of a job.
As you can tell, it is critical those who drive for a living fight these charges with the help of a top Oceanside DUI defense attorney. You only have 10 days to fight a DMV license suspension, so it is imperative you act as soon as you can
If you have been charged with driving under the influence while operating a vehicle for hire, please call (760) 643-4050 as soon as possible to fight the charges with the help of top Oceanside DUI defense lawyer Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by Irina Slutsky