If your family relies on your New Jersey commercial driver’s license (CDL) for income, the consequences of a DUI conviction can be devastating. Even if you are not on the job and just driving your own personal vehicle, a DUI conviction or refusal offense will result in a one-year mandatory CDL suspension (three years if the violation occurred in a HAZMAT truck). You will also lose your basic license for three to 12 months. Commercial truckers convicted of a DUI are unlikely to ever find work driving a truck again. And if you are convicted of drunk driving a second time, your CDL will be permanently revoked and you will lose your basic drivers license for two years. At the Law Office of Edward M. Janzekovich, our goal is always to avoid a conviction for our clients.
Driving a Commercial Truck Under the Influence
As you can see, New Jersey law is harsh when it comes to truckers who drive while intoxicated in their own cars. So you can imagine how the law treats drivers who drink before getting behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle. In 1990, the New Jersey Legislature cracked down on trucking safety and enacted the New Jersey Commercial Driver License Act. Pursuant to the Act, it is illegal to operate a commercial motor vehicle in New Jersey with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or more. The legal limit for driving a passenger car in New Jersey is 0.08 percent. This law aims to discourage truckers from consuming even small amounts of alcohol in an effort to reduce accidents and fatalities.
What is a “Commercial Motor Vehicle?”
So, it is illegal operate a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.04 percent. What if you are pulled over your RV while on vacation with a BAC of 0.05 percent, will you be charged with drunk driving? Although RVs are large enough to constitute a “commercial motor vehicle,” the law makes an exception for certain privately owned recreational vehicles. The following vehicles, however, will all trigger the lower 0.04 percent BAC threshold:
- School buses
- Passenger buses (If used to transport passengers to and from places of employment on a daily basis, even a bus with seven passenger seats will qualify as a commercial vehicle. If used less frequently, any bus designed to transport 16 or more passengers will trigger the lower BAC threshold).
- Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more
- Trucks displaying hazardous material placards
“Operation” of a Commercial Motor Vehicle
Trucking is a more a lifestyle than a job. In covering long distances, drivers often sleep in their cabs at truck stops. In New Jersey, “operation” of a motor vehicle does not require that the truck actually be moving. The prosecutor only needs to prove that a driver intended to put the vehicle in motion, and that it was possible that the truck could be moved. Therefore, it is possible to be charged with a DUI in a truck stop parking lot even if you never leave your cab.
Out of State Convictions
If you have been convicted of driving while intoxicated in another state, either in a truck or your personal vehicle, your New Jersey CDL will be suspended for one year. If you are convicted a second time, your CDL will be permanently revoked.
New Jersey Commercial DWI Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Fights for Truck Drivers
If you are a commercial driver and you have been charged with a DUI, we understand the fear and anxiety you may be feeling. Getting a DUI is a frightening experience for anyone, but for truckers, the stakes are even higher. At the Law Office of Edward M. Janzekovich, we make it a priority to communicate with our clients. We will explain what you can expect throughout the legal process and what your options are. To speak to an experienced New Jersey DUI lawyer, call the Law Office of Edward M. Janzekovich at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.