Commercial Driver's License Law In New Jersey

Commercial Driver's License Law In New Jersey

New Jersey has particularly tough penalties for CDL (commercial driver's license) holders who are charged with DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence). The state boasts low tolerance and hands out severe punishments. CDL holders are afforded half the legal BAC limit that typical drivers are given (.04% BAC), and face an automatic one year suspension of their CDL when convicted of DWI.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) And Commerical Driver's License

For a CDL driver operating a commercial vehicle, the legal BAC limit is half of what it is for the average New Jersey driver. Normally, the legal limit is .08% BAC, but a CDL driver who is actively driving a commercial vehicle will receive a DWI at .04% BAC. Many people do not realize that this means CDL holders can drink approximately half as much as normal New Jersey drivers, even when dealing with low quantities of alcohol, and still receive a DWI. This is a huge difference and it carries some very costly consequences with it.

Penalties For A DWI And Commercial Drivers License

The penalties for a CDL driver being charged with DWI are very stiff. First of all, the CDL driver will lose their commercial driver's license for one year following the charge. This is an enormous penalty for the majority of drivers who possess a commercial driver's license, as their ability to do their job is completely upended. Moreover, and perhaps more crushing, is the reality that a CDL driver who receives a DWI while operating a commercial vehicle (even at the lower .04 threshold) will also have their normal driver's license suspended. The suspension is equal in duration to that of a normal DWI charge, which is dependent upon the driver's BAC. Furthermore, any CDL holder who receives a DWI in his personal vehicle will face a one year suspension of his CDL. It does not matter that the driver was not working, or even doing anything work related; a DWI in a personal vehicle results in a one year suspension of the CDL. A second DWI charge for a CDL holder results in the mandatory forfeiture of the driver's commercial driver's license. In addition to a lifetime ban on the driver's CDL, the driver will also receive a two year suspension on his regular driver's license, in accordance with the standard DWI laws.

Other Heightened Penalty Violations

CDL drivers also face more severe penalties for other traffic violations that include:

  • Exceeding the speed limit by 15 or more miles per hour
  • Reckless driving
  • Improper or erratic lane changes
  • Following too closely;
  • Any moving violation committed in connection with a fatal accident;
  • Any other violation determined by the federal Department of Transportation to be “serious”
  • Driving a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver's license in possession
  • Driving a commercial vehicle while not having the proper CDL endorsement for the type of vehicle being driven (

Any of these violations can result in the driver's commercial driver's license being suspended for various amounts of time.

At Villani & DeLuca, P.C., we know the intricacies of these complex laws. There are numerous ways a DWI can be defended, and finding respectable legal representation is the first step to helping yourself. Call us today for a free consultation at 732-372-0820.