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DWI: Stricter rules for commercial drivers

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Drunk Driving Defense

It’s tough work being a commercial driver. Whether hauling hazardous materials down the highway or carrying large and unusually shaped loads, it’s never as easy as driving a regular passenger vehicle. Being a commercial driver takes a certain level of professionalism and skill.

However, because commercial drivers are expected to operate their vehicles as safely as possible, New Hampshire’s rules on driving while intoxicated (DWI) are much harsher on them.

Lower BAC threshold

While the legal limit for non-commercial drivers is .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the threshold for a DWI conviction is much lower for commercial drivers. Under New Hampshire law, commercial drivers potentially face a DWI charge for having a BAC of at least .04%.

Additional penalties and sanctions

Commercial drivers face the same penalties as non-commercial drivers for a DWI conviction. These penalties include fines, jail time and a requirement to complete alcohol and drug screening and driver education programs.

But in addition to the punishments, a court may also disqualify a convicted commercial driver from operating a commercial vehicle for up to a year. If the commercial driver was carrying hazardous materials during the offense, the disqualification period extends to up to three years.

If the commercial driver has two or more DWI convictions or has refused chemical testing during a subsequent traffic stop, a court may disqualify the driver from operating commercial vehicles for life.

These disqualifications apply to offenses committed by the commercial driver in any motor vehicle, not just commercial vehicles.

The stakes are high for commercial drivers accused of DWI offenses. If you’re a commercial driver and you face charges, you should keep in mind that not only do you risk getting a criminal record, but your livelihood is also at stake. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to advise you of your rights and fight for a positive outcome in your case.

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