Thomas Carroll Blauvelt

How DWIs affect truck drivers

For truck drivers, a DWI isn’t just a traffic offense. It can also jeopardize your livelihood.

Truckers and other commercial drivers are held to higher standards than the general public when it comes to driving sober. The blood alcohol limit for non-commercial drivers is .08%. For CDL holders, however, that limit is cut in half – to .04%.

What are the consequences?

The penalties for DWI are much harsher for CDL drivers. Depending on your record, you could lose your CDL for a year, three years or life. Likewise, you can face stiff penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test.

On top of the suspension (as well as potential jail time, hefty fines and other consequences), you may have trouble finding employment with a DWI on your record.

What if you get arrested on suspicion of drunk driving while you’re not behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle? Unfortunately, you can still lose your CDL even while driving a personal vehicle.

When else might you have to submit to drug and alcohol testing?

As a CDL driver, you’re subject to more frequent drug and alcohol testing. Federal regulations require testing under the following circumstances:

  • Before your employer hires you
  • After any accident involving fatalities, severe injuries or major property damage (if a citation is issued)
  • Whenever your employer has a reasonable suspicion that you’re driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • When you’re returning to duty after a substance violation

CDL drivers must also submit to random testing throughout the year.

What to do if your CDL is on the line

All CDL holders have a duty to drive responsibly. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the potential penalties for drunk driving (and other traffic offenses) in New Jersey.

If you do find yourself facing DWI charges, the best way to protect your future is to enlist the help of an experienced defense attorney who understands what’s at stake.

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