Legal Professional?
Build Your Business

Commercial Truck Drivers and DUI in New Jersey



If you think the penalties for DUI are stiff for drivers of private passenger vehicles, think again.  Take a look at the penalties for commercial truck drivers. In New Jersey, a first-time DUI conviction for a commercial truck driver requires a one-year suspension of the commercial driver's license (CDL). What happens if a tractor-trailer driver gets a DUI conviction while driving a personal car? It makes no difference. He or she can still expect a one-year suspension of the CDL. The penalties are more severe if the driver happens to be transporting hazardous materials. Operate a tractor-trailer hauling hazardous material while under the influence of alcohol and you can say good-bye to your CDL for three years. Thinking about refusing to take a breathalyzer exam? The penalties are the same.

License Suspension For Different Blood Alcohol Content Than Normal

Interestingly, commercial truck drivers can face license suspension even though they could not be subject to prosecution for driving under the influence. In New Jersey, a blood alcohol content of .04 percent results in the same license suspensions as DUI, which requires a .08 percent BAC for the automatic DUI conviction. So the idea of having "just one for the road" is not a particularly good idea if you are driving a commercial motor vehicle.

Repeat Offenders Have Harsher DUI Law in New Jersey

New Jersey law is even less lenient on repeat offenders. For a second conviction of operating a commercial motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, the driver is disqualified from holding a commercial driver's license in New Jersey for life. The lifetime disqualification also applies if the driver was found to have repeatedly operated the vehicle with a blood alcohol content reading higher than .04 percent even though this is not technically DUI in New Jersey. What happens if a driver has repeated DUI convictions while driving his or her personal vehicle? It makes no difference. New Jersey law still requires a lifetime disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle in the Garden State.

New Jersey DUI laws have been strengthened over the past decade to make drivers think twice before drinking and getting behind the wheel of their personal vehicle. Commercial truck drivers should think more than twice.