On Monday, 39-year-old Lycia Martinez was arrested on suspicion of DUI after adult passengers on board the school bus she was driving reported erratic driving behavior. According to a news article at the Huffington Post, Martinez was transporting 67 fifth and sixth graders on a field trip, and almost hit a car on a busy stretch of highway in Salt Lake City.
Police received reports after a parent aboard the bus and another motorist on the highway made 911 calls claiming the bus was swerving, that Martinez could not stay in the carpool lane, and that she was crossing double lines. Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Blaine Robbins said that it appeared Martinez had taken prescription anti-anxiety/muscle relaxer pills that were found in her handbag.
Martinez was pulled over by patrol officers approximately 40 miles from where the trip began, on an Interstate 15 off-ramp in Draper. Robbins said that “We really dodged a bullet,” as the interstate the bus had been traveling on had a speed limit of 75 mph and five lanes. A serious accident could easily have occurred, however no one was injured and the student on board were oblivious to what was happening.
According to Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams, Martinez is on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues. She was worked for the school district for six years, and has no known previous drug or DUI arrests.
Michigan DUI attorneys know that most people associate driving under the influence charges with the consumption of alcohol, however an individual may also be charged with DUI when under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs. Many drugs can affect a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, just as alcohol does. While Martinez did not appear to have been drunk, Michigan laws dictate that anyone who drives a commercial vehicle on a CDL license may be arrested for DUI with a BAC or blood alcohol concentration of .04%, which is half the legal limit of .08% for motorists driving ordinary cars or trucks.
Those who drive commercial vehicles are also under strict supervision in terms of drug use; federal law has a zero tolerance, and random testing of CDL operators are performed routinely for the use of certain drugs.
Whether you are a commercial driver of a school bus or 18-wheeler, or have been arrested for driving under the influence while in your car, it is vital that you work with a highly skilled Michigan DUI defense attorney. Driving under the influence is a serious charge, particularly for those whose livelihood depends on their jobs. Criminal penalties include jail time, fines, community service, license suspension, and more depending on the circumstances, and whether you have a previous DUI conviction. Your reputation, career, and freedom are at stake; speak with a dedicated criminal defense lawyer immediately.