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What does a DWI mean for commercial drivers license holders?
Getting arrested for drinking and driving in New York State while holding a Commercial Drivers License (CDL, Class A, B, or C licenses) presents special problems for CDL holders. The legal limit for CDL holders is .04%. That means that if you hold a CDL, and you are driving while you have a blood alcohol content of .04% or greater, you can be charged with DWI – not DWAI. A person with a CDL license is treated much more harshly than a person with a regular Class D license.
Not only is the legal blood alcohol limit (BAC) lower for CDL holders, the penalties for driving with a BAC of .04% or greater are much more severe than for regular drivers who blow a .08%! The first CDL DWI offense carries a minimum license revocation period of one year (instead of six months for regular drivers). If the commercial vehicle you are driving has hazardous chemical tags, you can expect a revocation of three years. A second conviction carries a revocation of at least 10 years. The third DWI conviction for a CDL-holder will result in a truly permanent license revocation. If the CDL-holder operates a commercial vehicle while their BAC is .18% or greater, they can be charged with a Class E felony, fined between $1,000 and $5,000, or sentenced up to 1 1/3 – 4 years in a state prison.
Furthermore, CDL holders are not eligible to drive commercial vehicles if issued a hardship privilege to drive pending prosecution of their case. Neither pre-conviction nor post-conviction conditional licenses allow for the operation of commercial vehicles. In other words, if you hold a CDL, under no circumstance should you ever drink alcohol before operating a vehicle. You will very quickly find yourself without a license, and without a way to earn a living.
If you are charged with a DWI, whether you hold a Commercial Drivers License or not, you should get immediate legal advice. The DWI attorneys at The Militello Law Firm have handled DWI cases in numerous CDL situations, including representing a foreign citizen on a felony DWI charge arising from his arrest for driving a commercial vehicle (a tractor trailer) while having a BAC of .24%. We were able to get the tractor out of impound, and negotiate a settlement that included no jail time for our client. Although past success is not an indicator of future results, we will give your case the same careful attention that we gave to this client. We will talk to you about your case at no charge, and we will work to make sure that you can get back to work.
If you are facing a DWI charge in Rochester or one of the surrounding counties, contact us at The Militello Law Firm for a free telephone consultation and case evaluation. Our phone number is (585) 485-0025.