DWI Penalties for Commercial Drivers in New York: Stricter BAC Standards

Whether they operate a semi-truck or a bus, commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders earn a living driving large vehicles that transport either cargo or passengers. When a commercial driver faces a DWI charge in New York, they face even harsher penalties because CDL holders are held to a higher standard compared to non-commercial drivers.

First, a commercial driver can be charged with a DWI if he/she operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .04 percent. For non-commercial drivers, the BAC threshold is a minimum of .08 percent.

If convicted of a DWI, a first offense carries a CDL revocation period of one year – along with other penalties such as fines and even jail time. However, if a commercial driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time of the DWI arrest, CDL revocation for a first-time conviction is three years.

A second DWI conviction is punishable by permanent CDL revocation. There is no look-back period for CDL holders, which means it doesn’t matter if a prior conviction occurred a year ago or ten years ago, the subsequent conviction can still result in harsher penalties.

Since 2005, if a commercial driver was operating his/her personal vehicle at the time of the DWI arrest, a conviction will still result in CDL revocation, rather than only the person’s personal driver’s license.

Unfortunately, a DWI conviction often leads to the end of a commercial driver’s career. In order to protect your right to drive and your freedom, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you avoid conviction.

If you are a CDL holder who has been arrested for a DWI in Albany, contact O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC today at 518-391-2369 for a free initial consultation. Get more than two decades of combined experience on your side.

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