CDL DWI Penalties



Commercial Drivers Driving While Impaired Charge with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over .04%

1st Offense 2nd Offense
Minimum Jail Up to 1 year jail Up to 4 years jail
Fines $500 to $1,000 $1,000 to $5,000
Driver’s License 1 yr revocation, min 1 yr revocation, min
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) 1 yr revocation,
3 yr revocation – If transporting hazardous chemicals
Permanent revocation
Ignition Interlock Device Required Yes Yes

In the state of New York, the penalties for CDL drivers are more severe than for regular license holders. For example, the legal BAC limit for drivers over 21 is .08%, but for commercial drivers it is .04%. Additionally, CDL license holders can be charged with a DWI even if arrested in a non-commercial vehicle, such as being off duty and in their personal car. If convicted, the commercial driver will lose the CDL for a minimum of 1 year, in addition to hefty fines and possible jail time. Now if the commercial driver was found to have a BAC of .04% or higher while transporting hazardous materials, then the CDL will be revoked for 3 years. And a second DWI offense results in revocation of the CDL — for life.
For a bus, truck and commercial van drivers, their commercial license is their means of livelihood. Even if the convicted driver is granted a hardship or conditional driving privilege in regards to the regular driver’s license, this privilege is not applied to the CDL which wil remain suspended regardless.

A CDL will be revoked for a minimum of one year if the driver commits a major traffic offense such as :

  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test
  • Conviction of driving while impaired because of alcohol or drugs
  • Felony conviction involving the use of an auto or truck

A DWI/DUI charge is very serious. When you are the holder of a CDL, the seriousness of the charges is multiplied. Don’t put your freedom and livelihood into further jeopardy. Hire an expert DWI attorney. Trust Travis. You’ll be glad you did.