Understand the Penalties of a DWI Conviction
Any conviction for driving while impaired is a very serious matter for a New Hampshire driver holding a commercial driver's license.
New Hampshire DWI laws for CDL holders are very strict: a first time conviction carries a mandatory suspension of one year, with discretion vested in the judge to impose a longer suspension if circumstances warrant.
The driver does need to have been driving a commercial vehicle for this penalty to apply; so long as the license holder is convicted of driving while impaired, the type of vehicle involved is irrelevant.
CDL holders cannot avoid this penalty by refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. Under New Hampshire law, refusal to submit to a properly ordered blood alcohol test results in the same one-year suspension.
Even for CDL holders who have served their suspension, a DWI conviction can make it very difficult to find employment. Most companies and individuals hiring commercial drivers are reluctant to expose themselves to liability by hiring a driver with a history of impaired driving.
CDL and DUI in New Hampshire
If a CDL holder has a prior conviction for DWI, aggravated DWI, or refusal to submit to testing, the penalties are even harsher. Second-time offenders will have their CDL license permanently revoked. Like the one-year suspension for first-time offenders, this suspension is mandatory and cannot be avoided by appeals for mercy to the sentencing judge.
Unlike drivers with standard licenses, CDL DUI convictions are not forgiven after ten years. Once a CDL holder has been convicted of any DWI offense, the conviction cannot be removed from the driver's record, and any subsequent conviction, no matter how far removed chronologically, will result in permanent revocation of the driver's CDL.
Even if the conviction is processed through an alternative dispute resolution program culminating in the removal of the conviction from the driver's criminal record, CDL holders will still be considered to have a prior DWI offense.
If you are a New Hampshire driver with a CDL and are accused of driving under the influence, it is highly advisable that you consult NH drunk-driving lawyer Ryan Russman immediately — a commercial drivers license DUI suspension or revocation cannot be easily removed once imposed.
Attorney Russman may help you avoid an unnecessary conviction by questioning the sufficiency of the prosecution's evidence, attacking the validity of the breathalyzer or blood testing process, or attacking the constitutionality of the stop that lead to your arrest.
Even if you are ultimately convicted, Attorney Russman can help present your case in a favorable light, making it less likely that you will be subjected to additional suspensions beyond those required by law.