Because of the nature of the vehicles being operated by a person with a CDL, certain charges are more serious than if it had been received while driving a non-commercial vehicle.

This is true of the consequences of refusing to give a breath sample if you are pulled over for a DWI while driving a commercial vehicle in New Jersey. Since you do not have the right to refuse to take the breathalyzer in New Jersey, there are some serious penalties.

First Offense: Suspension of CDL

For a first offense, you would be subject to the following:

  • Loss of basic driving privileges for 6 months
  • Loss of basic driving privileges for 2 years, if
    • You have a previous conviction for drunk driving in your personal vehicle
    • You have a previous conviction for drunk driving in a commercial vehicle
    • You have a previous conviction for refusal
  • Loss of your CDL for one to three years (mandatory three if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time or the vehicle was placarded for same).
  • You could be treated as a second offender if the refusal is in connection with
    • a second or subsequent DWI
    • leaving the scene of an accident in a commercial vehicle
    • use of a commercial vehicle in the commission of a crime
    • operating a commercial vehicle while the CDL is suspended

Second Offense: Permanent Loss of CDL!

For a second offense, you would be subject to the following:

  • Loss of basic driving privileges for two years
  • Lifetime loss of your CDL. However, the law allows the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission to issue rules and regulations establishing guidelines and conditions under which it could be reduced to a period of not less than ten (10) years, so you should consult with an attorney on this.

The only good news is that the law is unclear as to whether the suspensions of the CDL and regular driver's license must be served separately or together.

So What Do I Do?

Your commercial driver's license is your livelihood! Conviction could result in not only losing your current job, but the ability to get any other job that requires one! Don't take that risk! If you have a CDL and are pulled over for drunk driving in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County, give my office a call immediately at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site, to schedule a free consultation.

If you are looking for more information on New Jersey's drunk driving law, then download my free book, How Much Trouble Am I In? A Guide to New Jersey Drunk Driving Law.

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.