FMCSA Level II Inspections for Alcohol and Drugs

The drug crime attorneys at GRL have seen our fair share of searches involving commercial motor vehicles.  Whether its a random stop on the highway or the weight station, DOT officers will seize the opportunity to search closed containers in the truck cab under the authority for inspecting closely regulating industries.

They will tell the driver the search is for receipts and permits and the like.  But you should know it is for alcohol and drugs instead.

The DOT claims it has the authority to search your mini-fridge, Igloo coolers, personal belongings, etc., based on the reference to “alcohol and drugs” in the North American Standard Inspection Program.

Do the Level II inspection criteria include an examination of “alcohol and drugs?”

No question! For both Level I and II inspections.

But does that provide authority to search closed containers without a warrant? 

Not so fast.  This is where it gets interesting.

The reference to “alcohol and drugs” is understood to mean an evaluation of the driver’s alcohol and drug usage.  In other words, is the driver impaired? 

It does not mean you can search personal belongings in the truck cab for impairing substances.  That requires much more like probable cause or another exception to the warrant requirement.

Which is why you should NEVER consent to a search of the cab.  That gives the DOT officer authority to search that the inspection criteria fail to provide.

If you hold a CDL and are charged with the possession of alcohol or drugs, drug paraphernalia or synthetic urine arising from a search of your truck, the call the drug crime attorneys at GRL Law for a consultation.