John’s Public Intoxication Charge

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Truck Driver Training School Money Saving TipNote: the following submission has been edited for spelling and punctuation.

just received a PI public intoxication charge. will that affect my chances of getting a job in trucking? this is not a moving offense and does not include a vehicle.

Response from Vicki:

Hi, John,

As we are neither legal experts nor in charge of hiring at a trucking company, the following information may be limited. We welcome the comments of others to help give better clarification.

First of all, from the best we can determine, there is a difference between a Motor Vehicle Record and a criminal record. If your offense was not in a vehicle, chances are that it will not show up on your MVR. It may show up on your criminal record. You can get a copy of both from the authorities in charge of those records through your state.

The next thing to bear in mind is what state you live in (or where your Public Intoxication charge occurred). Different states define things differently.

Among the resources I found in researching this matter are:





You may wish to look for information about public intoxication in your state (Iowa selected here):

Depending on how a trucking company defines it, a “drug related offense” may include public intoxication, which could kick you out of contention to be hired by them.

In looking at an online application for a trucking company that Mike used to drive for, some of the criteria that an applicant must meet are:
* No DUI,DWI citations/convictions in the last 10 years/ no more than 1 ever
* Able to pass DOT physical, drug test and other evaluations
* No drug related offenses

If I may be frank, you need to evaluate your priorities. Are you the kind of person who can’t get by without alcohol? If so, I advise you to select another occupation. The legal limit for alcohol is lower for commercial drivers than others.

Please refer to this page on Alcohol and Drug Rules from the FMCSA:

When my husband Mike and I were in truck driver training school, a few of our fellow student drivers used their “allowance” to go partying. The school must have caught wind of the drug use and had everyone in the school go through a drug screen. One driver in particular was expelled from truck driving school because he tested positive for crack cocaine. Now, granted, drinking alcohol and using controlled substances may vary in the eyes of the law, but neither is smart for truckers.

So, in a nutshell, can your Public Intoxication charge affect your chances of getting a job in trucking? Quite possibly, especially now that trucking companies are really looking to protect themselves from liability in the event of an accident. If a trucking company knew that a driver had a PI charge before being hired — and that driver got involved in an accident — they could theoretically be sued for much more money.

Mike’s question that you may want to ask is this: If you were the owner of a trucking company that hauls multimillion dollar freight and an application from someone whose background check revealed a public intoxication charge came across your desk, would you hire him or her? Why or why not?

I urge you to abstain from alcoholic beverages to be on the safe side. There are other ways to relax and have fun. If you felt pressure to drink because of the company you kept, please consider the influence that these folks had (or maybe still have) on you — for good or bad.

I realize that a public intoxication charge is not the same thing as drinking under the influence. However, it is not a stretch to think that the former can lead to the latter. A person who drives while intoxicated can cause a lot of pain and suffering in many different ways. The financial ramifications are stiff for anyone, but especially a truck driver.

You may wish to search online for information about “drunk truck drivers” to read this information for yourself.

Please give your future career a great deal of thought. We wish you well.

Best regards,
Vicki Simons