New Hampshire CDL DUI Attorney

Commercial Driver’s Licenses, DWI and Other Motor Vehicle Violations

Our New Hampshire DWI lawyers apply their experience and skill to defend every DWI case before them.

Some of our cases, however, have a far reaching impact on our client’s professional and personal obligations. These concerns are particularly acute where a Commercial Driver License (CDL) holder also stands charge with Driving While Intoxicated. There are enhanced penalties and additional administrative concerns when a CDL holder is charged with impaired driving in either a commercial vehicle or a non-commercial vehicle. The expectation for CDL holders is simply higher, the penalties more serious and the impact, in turn, on employment issues far greater. Our NH DWI attorneys make it their business to advise clients on the unique issues facing CDL holders when charged with driving under the influence and to craft a strategy to account for these concerns.

CDL Holders and the Reduced Standard for Alcohol Concentration

CDL holders and non-CDL holders alike face the same basic court-imposed penalties following a DWI conviction. However, there is a reduced alcohol concentration for CDL holders while operating a commercial vehicle. Typically, the prima facie standard to establish impairment is an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater. CDL holders driving commercial vehicles have a much lower standard —an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more may result in a DWI conviction for impaired operation of a commercial vehicle.

Administrative Concerns for CDL Holders in Impaired Driving Cases

Additional administrative penalties issued through the Department of Safety also face CDL holders, often resulting in long-term disqualification of commercial driving privileges. Aside from the standard court imposed penalties for a DWI conviction itself, a conviction for impaired driving in a commercial vehicle carries a one year disqualification to operate a commercial vehicle. Any DWI conviction—even one occurring in a non-commercial vehicle—also disqualifies a person from driving a commercial motor vehicle for a period of one year. This penalty turns an average DWI charge into a life changing event for a CDL holder. Our DWI attorneys understand that loss of CDL privilege for a year may also mean the loss of a job, and we blend that knowledge into the negotiation of cases and appreciate that consequences so severe often require the aggressive trial of such cases.

Convictions of subsequent DWI charges have a devastating impact on maintenance of a Commercial Driver’s License. A second DWI conviction of any type results in a lifetime disqualification for driving a commercial vehicle. Consequences so grave require an aggressive defense strategy, one which addresses administrative concerns as well as courtroom results.

Commercial driving disqualifications may also occur even where there is no actual DWI conviction. For instance, a decision to refuse a law enforcement request for a breath or blood test, even if no conviction follows, results in a one year loss of commercial driving privileges. In our experience, the Department of Safety interprets the CDL statute in an aggressive manner. It treats two refusals, even without a court conviction, as an event calling for a lifetime CDL disqualification of commercial driving privileges. Where a CDL holder agrees to take a test which results in an alcohol concentration of greater than a 0.04 and less than a 0.08, he or she will also be disqualified from commercial driving for one year. A prepared lawyer in such circumstances understands that the most harmful impact of a case may have nothing to do with an actual courtroom conviction. Our lawyers appear week in and week out at the Hearings Bureau at Department of Safety, they understand the process, appreciate the risks and incorporate those concerns into the overall case strategy.

Other CDL Concerns

Separate from DWI cases, multiple motor vehicle driving violations may also result in disqualification of commercial driving privileges. Two serious traffic violations in a three year period while driving a commercial vehicle results in a 60-day commercial driving disqualification. Three such convictions in a three-year period results in a 120-day disqualification.

This concern exists even when driving a non-commercial vehicle. Even in a non-commercial vehicle, two convictions for serious motor vehicle offenses in a three-year period where the conviction also results in suspension of a driving privilege, will also result in a 60-day disqualification of commercial driving privileges. Three convictions to serious motor vehicle offenses in a three year period in a non-commercial vehicle where conviction also results in suspension of driving privileges will call for a 120-day suspension of commercial driving privileges.

Contacting a DWI Defense Attorney in NH

In these situations, it is critically important to understand the definition of a “serious traffic violation.” Serious traffic violations include speeding in excess of 15 miles per hour above the speed limit, reckless driving, certain violations arising out of car accidents as well as a myriad of other seemingly minor offenses which are considered far more serious for CDL holders. This can make the defense of a simple speeding ticket critically important to a CDL holder.

Our New Hampshire DWI attorneys know full well that CDL holders operate on thin ice and risk job loss for any commercial driving disqualification. They bear these concerns in mind when confronting any case, advising our clients and preparing our cases for trial.

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