In the state of New Jersey, motorists who drive commercial vehicles are required to get a commercial driver's license (CDL). With the obtainment of this license is a higher expectation from the state for commercial drivers to commute safely and responsibly.
Because the bar has been raised for commercial drivers, there is much more at stake for them when charged with a DWI than for the non-commercial driver. One mistake can result in them losing their CDL, which in turn could jeopardize their career. Many trucking companies especially will refuse to hire or subcontract out work to a truck driver who has a DWI on their record - ruining a motorist's chances of finding employment in the commercial driving industry thereafter.
Everything you thought you knew about New Jersey DWI law changes when it comes to commercial vehicles. If you're in this predicament, it's critical you understand the gravity of a DWI charge on your life. The Lento Law Firm will provide an overview of what it means to be charged with a commercial DWI in New Jersey.
New Jersey DWI Law Concerning Commercial Drivers
Ordinarily, the legal blood alcohol concentration limit for driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is 0.08%. This means that if the average driver meets or exceeds this limit, they may be convicted of driving while impaired.
But for commercial drivers, the legal limit is lower. According to New Jersey statutes, the legal limit for motorists with a CDL is 0.04%.
It's also important to note that the state amended the penalties for CDL holders who get DWIs even in a non-commercial vehicle to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Improvement Act. This means that if you are a commercial driver who has been charged with a DWI in your own car, the lower legal limit still applies.
The National Driver Registry
Maintaining a DWI-free driving record is essential to remaining employed in the commercial driving industry. When traffic infractions like a DWI are added to one's record, it could hinder potential job prospects or cause a person to lose their current job. Some people are under the impression that getting an infraction within one state won't matter if a driver relocates, but this couldn't be further from the truth.
The National Driver Registry (NDR) is a countrywide organization under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It's a computerized database that documents all traffic infractions and shares this information with commercial driver employers in other states across the nation. Think of it as a specialized driving record specifically for the commercial driving industry.
Penalties for a Commercial DWI in New Jersey
The penalties for a commercial DWI depend on the nature of the offense and the number of prior convictions one has acquired.
First Offense Commercial DWI
- Up to 30 days in jail
- 3-month license suspension
- 1 year CDL license suspension
- Up to $400 in fines
First Offense Commercial DUI (BAC of 0.10% or higher)
- Up to 30 days in jail
- 1-year license suspension
- 1-year CDL license suspension
- Up to $500 in fines
Second Offense CDL DWI
- Up to 90 days in jail
- 2-year license suspension
- Lifetime CDL license revocation
- Up to $1,000 in fines
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
Being a commercial driver who is accused of driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol puts your entire livelihood at stake. But if it's proven that your arrest was unlawful or an officer's actions strayed from protocol, there's a good chance your charges could be dismissed.
With so much on the line, the best thing you can do is contact a seasoned criminal defense attorney. The sooner a legal representative can get on your case, the more time they have to build a solid defense. In New Jersey, a DWI is an offense that requires skilled and aggressive representation.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the experience and credentials to defend and counsel people who've acquired DWI charges. He will explain your pending charges, build a solid defense and work towards getting your charges reduced or dropped. For more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm either online or by phone at 888-535-3686.