In New Jersey, it is against the law for most drivers to get behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. This means that, for many drivers, consuming only a couple drinks can result in a criminal charge for driving under the influence of alcohol. Those who operate commercial vehicles face even tougher legal standards. They can face career-ending drunk driving charges if a BAC of .05 percent or higher is detected.

Last week, a school bus driver in southern New Jersey pleaded guilty to driving drunk in November 2011 when she was taking Westhampton Middle School students home from school.

The woman was arrested after several students on board called their parents to tell them that their bus driver was not driving well. Many of those parents then called the school.

An Associated Press news report about the case does not indicate the 48-year-old’s alleged blood-alcohol content at the time of her arrest.

She has pleaded guilty to child endangerment as well as driving drunk as part of a plea agreement that will result in three years in prison. It will likely also result in the end of her commercial driving career.

In addition to the lower acceptable BAC, drivers of commercial vehicles typically face tougher penalties for DUI convictions. The consequences are even worse for school bus drivers, as both driving drunk with minors in a vehicle and driving drunk in a school zone can increase DUI penalties for any driver.

Those who are arrested for and accused of driving drunk in the state of New Jersey should contact a DWI/DUI attorney as soon as possible in order to moderate the potential impact of the charges.

Source: ABC 7, “New Jersey school bus driver pleads guilty to DUI,” Oct. 29, 2013