Implications of a Commercial Driving DWI in NJ

CDL DWIIndividuals arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can guarantee that they will lose their driver’s license for a certain amount of time, depending on whether it is a first, second or subsequent offense. However, what most individuals are unaware of is that if you obtain a commercial driving DWI in NJ, you are also at risk of losing your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) as well as your regular driver’s license.

As you may already know, the standard blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for a DWI charge in New Jersey is 0.08% or higher. However, this limit changes for CDL licensed drivers who are charged with a DUI while operating a commercial vehicle. If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in a commercial vehicle, you will be charged with DWI with as little as a 0.04% BAC level. While the majority of the DWI penalties for a CDL licensed driver remain the same as a non-commercial driver, the loss of this second license is taken very seriously.

Penalties for a Commercial Driving DWI in NJ

For drivers who are first-time DUI offenders, the penalties faced depend on the percentage of alcohol in your system at the time the breath samples are taken by police after arrest.  You will lose your basic driver’s license for a minimum of three months, but for as long as one year.

CDL license carriers charged with a DWI not only face the loss of their regular driver’s license and other standard penalties, but they are also hit with the loss of their CDL license.  For a first offense DWI or refusal charge, an individual will lose their CDL license for one year.  After a second conviction for refusal or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a CDL licensed driver will lose their CDL license permanently, plus a two year suspension of the basic driver’s license.  This is a grave consequence for those who rely on their ability to operate commercial vehicles for employment purposes.

If your CDL license is suspended for a DWI or any other traffic offense, you will receive a Notice of Restoration once your suspension period has concluded.  At that time, you will be required to pay a $100 fee to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to reinstate your CDL license.

Other CDL-Specific Offenses and Penalties

There are other offenses and their corresponding penalties that a CDL licensed driver should be aware of when driving in New Jersey.  Below is a list of some violations and their corresponding loss of license period, if convicted, that apply to truck drivers in New Jersey.

  • Leaving the scene of an accident (1 year loss of license)
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked CDL (1 year loss of license for first offense; permanent loss of license for second offense)
  • DWI or refusal while operating a commercial vehicle that is transporting hazardous materials (3 years loss of license)
  • Driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL in your possession (60 to 120 days loss of license)
  • Speeding, driving recklessly or driving in complete disregard for safety (60 – 120 days loss of license)
  • Using a commercial vehicle in the commission of an indictable crime which involves distributing or manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance (permanent loss of license)


As a CDL licensed driver, if you are convicted of a traffic offense in New Jersey, you are required to notify your employer within 30 days of the conviction.

NJ DWI & Traffic Offense Law Firm

Losing your ability to operate a commercial vehicle can have serious effects on your life and career.  If you received a commercial driving DWI in NJ, get help defending your truck driver charge from the lawyers of Villani & DeLuca.  Call (732) 965-3350 today for a free consultation!