Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Federal Operation of a Common Carrier Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs Charges

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Federal Criminal Law » Federal Operation of a Common Carrier Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs Charges

It is a Federal crime for a person who is operating a common carrier to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  The applicable Federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 342, provides as follows:


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Whoever operates or directs the operation of a common carrier while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)), shall be imprisoned not more than fifteen years or fined under this title, or both.

The definition of a “common carrier” under Federal law is provided by 18 U.S.C. § 341, which states that “As used in this chapter, the term “common carrier” means a locomotive, a rail carrier, a sleeping car carrier, a bus transporting passengers in interstate commerce, a water common carrier, and an air common carrier.”

A person who has a blood alcohol content of 0.10 or greater is presumed by Federal law to be intoxicated. Additionally, an individual is presumed to be under the influence of drugs if the quantity of the drug in the system of the individual would be sufficient to impair the perception, mental processes, or motor functions of the average individual. In cases where there is not enough alcohol or drugs present in a person’s system to raise that presumption, the Federal prosecutors can still attempt to prove that the particular individual was impaired by drugs or alcohol in that particular case.


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Federal charges relating to Operation of a Common Carrier Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs are often filed in situations where a bus driver or other common carrier operator is involved in a crash and accused of being drunk or high while driving.  Such cases are serious matters, and a person who is accused is well advised to seek an attorney at once.


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