Can You Get a CDL License with a DWI?
If you are a truck driver and you are charged with a DWI in New Jersey, can you still maintain your CDL license? Or if you are planning to seek a CDL license in the future, can you obtain a CDL license if you have a DWI on your record? Under New Jersey law, there are serious penalties for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction.
While any driver can face a suspended or revoked license for a DWI, the consequences can be more severe for a person who currently holds or plans to seek a commercial driver’s license (CDL). CDLs are required to operate large trucks as well as other large or heavy vehicles that transport liquid materials and hazardous materials. As such, losing your CDL license can have serious consequences for your job and your ability to earn money.
The New Jersey DWI defense attorney at the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella can help you to fight the DWI charges you are facing. In the meantime, it is important to learn more about how a DWI can affect your commercial driver’s license.
CDL Suspensions and Revocations for DWIs in New Jersey
If you are convicted of a DWI in New Jersey, you face the following penalties connected to a commercial driver’s license:
- First offense for a DWI will result in a one-year CDL suspension as well as a three to 12-month basic driver license suspension;
- A second offense for a DWI will result in a permanent revocation of a CDL in addition to a 1 to 2-year driver’s license suspension.
It is critical to understand that these penalties can apply regardless of whether you get a DWI while driving a personal vehicle or while operating a commercial vehicle. To be clear, your CDL can be suspended or revoked if you get a DWI, even if you are stopped for the DWI while you are off from work and driving a personal vehicle.
DWI’s When Operating a Commercial Vehicle
New Jersey law can be harsher when determining a DWI for a driver who is operating a commercial vehicle. While a driver operating a personal automobile can face DWI charges with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more — and can have a CDL suspended or revoked if that driver also holds a CDL — the law is different for a person who is actually driving a commercial vehicle at the time of a DWI-related stop.
The law states that “a person shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle in this State with an alcohol concentration of 0.04% or more, or while under the influence of a controlled substance.” To be clear, if you are stopped for a DWI while operating a commercial vehicle, you can face DWI charges and a CDL suspension or revocation if you have a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey DWI Defense Lawyer
Anyone who relies on having a CDL for a living may be unable to work for a period of time with a DWI conviction. Depending upon whether the DWI is a first offense or a subsequent offense, a conviction can also result in a permanent revocation of a commercial driver’s license.
Given the severity of the penalties associated with a DWI for anyone in New Jersey who has or needs to have a CDL, it is critical to seek help with a defense strategy from an experienced and aggressive New Jersey DWI defense attorney. Contact our New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella for assistance with your DWI defense.