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What penalties will a commercial driver face for DWI offenses?

Being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in New York State carries with it serious potential consequences should there be a conviction. Anyone who is confronted with allegations of DWI offenses must be cognizant of what they can face, but it is even more important for those who are commercial drivers and need their Commercial Driver License to make a living. Losing a CDL is problematic enough, but when seeking jobs even after the license has been reinstated can be made more difficult when there are DWI offenses on the record.

Understanding how commercial drivers are treated with a DWI and how it can impact their life is crucial. It is also imperative when planning a defense. A CDL — whether it is A, B or C — gives the driver greater responsibility to adhere to the law when it comes to blood-alcohol content (BAC) if there is a test to see if the he or she is under the influence. A driver with a CDL who is convicted with a BAC of .04 percent or more will have the CDL revoked for one year. If the driver is operating a vehicle that must have placards denoting hazardous materials are being carried, it is three years.

After that conviction, the driver will face massive penalties should they get a second conviction for the rest of their life will lead to the CDL being revoked permanently. It is possible that there can be a waiver after 10 years. Should there be a third conviction, the CDL will be revoked permanently with no chance of it being reinstated.

Law enforcement is vigilant about pursuing drivers who might be under the influence. That is especially true with CDL drivers as they are often operating large vehicles, travel great distances and move at significant speeds. In some cases, they are carting dangerous materials. However, just because law enforcement makes a traffic stop and an arrest for DWI, it does not mean that the driver is automatically guilty. There could have been an issue with the stop itself, the testing device could have been faulty or the officer administering the test might not have been certified to give it. To avoid the harshest penalties, it is critical to have a law firm that has experience in all areas of drunk driving.

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James L. Riotto
Criminal Defense Lawyer

James L. Riotto is an accomplished criminal defense attorney serving clients in New York. With an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, his approach to each case is unique and informed by years of experience with the New York criminal justice system. As a graduate from Albany Law School and before going on to start his own practice, James worked at the Albany County District Attorney's Office, where he helped prosecute many DWI offenses. His inside knowledge of the tactics used to gain convictions provides him with a particular advantage when defending against DUI and other criminal charges.

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