What Should You Do as a Commercial Driver Facing a DWI Charge in New Jersey?

  • DWI

As long as you’re a driver, you are required to obey traffic rules and laws. For a person licensed to operate a large vehicle, you are also expected not to drive while drunk. In New Jersey, a driver with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) will undergo stricter rules and penalties when operating commercial vehicles.

Since commercial drivers operate massive vehicles carrying people or dangerous material, they are expected to be alert and shouldn’t get their attention impeded by alcohol. However, it is still common to get arrested for drunk driving and get charged with a DWI in New Jersey. If this is your case, you need to get in touch with a New Jersey DWI attorney who can help you understand your rights and fight the charges if necessary.

What Is the Alcohol Limit for Commercial Drivers in New Jersey?

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holder is half of an ordinary New Jersey driver. While a regular driver is required to maintain below .08% BAC, a CDL holder will get a DWI at .04% BAC. Even if you are arrested while driving a personal vehicle but you hold a CDL, this law applies to you.

Many CDL drivers don’t realize that they can only drink half as much as other regular drivers drink. Even in low quantities, you may be surprised to receive a DWI which unfortunately carries huge consequences.

Commercial Motor Vehicle

Driving commercially means that you drive a transportation bus or truck, which requires you to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in addition to your regular license. Although RVs are large to be categorized as “commercial,” they are sometimes exempted if privately owned and used for recreational purposes.

Other vehicles that may fall in the commercial vehicles category include school buses, passenger busses trucks that display hazardous material placards, and vehicles with a gross weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.

What Are Consequences of A DWI for A Commercial Driver’s License Holder?

The penalties are severe if you are arrested and convicted of a DWI in NJ. First, the driver will lose their commercial driver’s license for a year. Because many of these drivers are employed to drive, it greatly affects their ability to earn a living. In addition, you may also have your basic driver’s license suspended. And if you were driving your own personal car, your CDL will remain suspended for one year.

If a CDL driver is charged for a second time with a DWI violation or refusal while operating the commercial vehicle, they may get a one-year suspension on their normal license. They may also get a permanent revocation of their CDL. There are also fines of up to $1,000, jail time of up to 90 days, and community service. These are costly consequences that can cripple your life in an instant. But you can take control by seeking the legal advice and help of a New Jersey CDL DWI lawyer.

What Defenses Should I Use Against A CDL DWI in NJ?

A good defense strategy will begin with a thorough assessment of your situation, including your stop and arrest. There may be circumstances that may invalidate the stop, and any evidence collected from it rendered illegal. Once you retain the services of an experienced commercial driver’s license DWI lawyer in New Jersey, you will learn more strategies for defending yourself against these charges.

What Should I Do If It Is My First DWI/ DUI Charge?

A first-time offense often carries between $25 and $500 in fines, without other court fees. You also could be jailed for up to 30 days. If you have certain crimes on your record, you may get a lifetime suspension of your CDL as a first-time offender. That’s why you need a knowledgeable DWI attorney who has experience with commercial driver’s license DWI defense.

What Happens If I Have Been Convicted Previously Out of State?

If you have a conviction record from another state, it will also be considered when your case is heard. So if you were arrested elsewhere in your personal car or commercial vehicle, your New Jersey CDL will still be suspended for a year because those out-of-state convictions will be considered prior offenses.

When Do I Need to Contact A DWI Attorney?

You need to get in touch with a New Jersey DWI attorney immediately. Since your livelihood depends on your CDL, speak to a New Jersey CDL DWI lawyer as soon as you are arrested.

If you drink only three beers, your BAC may be at .04%, which is high enough to land you into trouble with New Jersey authorities. Don’t risk your job. Talk to a skilled DUI lawyer in New Jersey immediately.

Can I Restore My Commercial Driver’s License After A DWI Conviction?

If you have completed your suspension period and paid all outstanding fines, you will get a notification from the Department of Motor Vehicles to restore your CDL. If it was permanently revoked, you might reapply through the chief administrator after ten years. You need to make sure your application is well prepared with the help of a DWI lawyer because these applications are accepted at the discretion of the chief administrator.

A Defense Attorney Helping You Fight Your Commercial Driver’s License DWI

A DWI on a commercial driver’s license holder is scary. A conviction may destroy your sole source of livelihood and make it difficult to get employed. Don’t lose your family’s income and ruin your career when you can defend yourself with a defense attorney experienced in DWI charges against commercial vehicle drivers.

At The Hernandez Law Firm, P.C., we know how to look for flaws in the prosecutor’s case, and understand what can push a case into a dismissal. New Jersey DWI attorney Steven W. Hernandez continues to defend commercial driver’s license holders against DWI and even refusal upon arrest. Improve your chances of avoiding a conviction by talking to him. Call us today or visit our office at Toms River, NJ.

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Steven W. Hernandez, Board-Certified DUI Attorney