DWI Charges are More Serious for CDL Drivers

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Most people rely on their automobile to get to work everyday. However, if you are a holder of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and drive a truck for work, your livelihood depends on your CDL.

Since CDL drivers are usually driving large, heavy trucks, New York traffic law holds them to a much stricter standard than regular drivers when facing DUI or DWI traffic violations.

In New York, when you have a driver’s license, you automatically give consent to be tested by a law enforcement officer for drugs or alcohol through a breathalyzer or blood test. Refusal to do the BAC test results in revocation of your driver’s license for one year and a substantial fine.

Difference in Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Levels:

According to New York law, the BAC limit for drivers over 21 is .08. However, for commercial drivers, the BAC limit is .04%.

A truck training on a CDL range

A truck training on a CDL range. DWI charges for CDL Drivers can be more significant than for other drivers. (Photo Source: Wikipedia)

Difference in Penalties Between Regular and CDL Drivers for DUI/DWI:

If you are the holder of a regular NY driver’s license, your first offense of a BAC of .08% or more is a misdemeanor. It may result in jail time of up to one year and a fine of $500 – $1,000. In addition to points on your driver’s license, your driving privileges will be revoked for six months. Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to drive using the Restricted Use or Conditional License.

If you are a holder of a CDL and you are convicted for DWI and having a BAC higher than .04% for the first offense, you may have your driving privileges revoked for one year in addition to the criminal penalties faced by other drivers. If your BAC is lower than .04%, you will be issued an “out-of-service order” for 24 hours. If you are a CDL driver transporting hazardous materials and your BAC is higher than .04%, then your license will be revoked for three years.

A motorist with a regular New York driver’s license that is convicted of a second offense of BAC .08% or more faces a Class E Felony which carries a prison sentence of up to four years and/or a $1,000-$5,000 fine. In addition, points will be added to the driving record, and your driving privileges will be revoked for one year. You may be eligible to apply for a restricted use license and you may have to do community service for 30 days.

A third offense of BAC .08% or more for a holder of a regular license is a Class D Felony that carries a prison term of up to seven years and a $2,000-$10,000 fine. In addition, the driver faces license revocation for one year.

For a holder of a CDL, a second DWI offense results in permanent revocation of his driving privileges in addition to fines and possible imprisonment.

Generally, the penalties for CDL drivers are more severe than for regular license holders. If you are convicted of two “serious traffic violations” involving a commercial vehicle within three years, you will lose your CDL for 60 days. If you are convicted of three “serious traffic violations” in three years, then you lose your CDL for 120 days. The convictions of the “serious traffic offenses must not arise from the same incident.

Your CDL will be revoked for a minimum of one year if the driver commits a major traffic offense (MTO).  Here is a list of possible MTOs:

  • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test.
  • Conviction of driving while impaired because of alcohol or drugs.
  • Felony conviction involving the use of an auto or truck.

A DWI/DUI charge is very serious. When you are the holder of a CDL, the seriousness of the charges is multiplied. If you drive a truck and you have been charged with DUI or DWI, you should call Rosenblum Law immediately. Handling DWI cases is one of our specialties. Email or call 888-883-5529 to speak to a New York CDL traffic attorney.

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This post was written by Adam H. Rosenblum Esq.

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