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If you hold a New York commercial driver's license (CDL), a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DWAI (driving while ability impaired) arrest can have serious consequences. This is true even if you were driving you own personal vehicle and not a commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest.

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles website, a DWI applies to drivers whose blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher. If you are a commercial driver, however, a BAC of only .04 is necessary to qualify for a DWI. A DWAI would apply if you are under the legal limit but there is still evidence that your ability to drive is impaired.

In addition to any criminal charges that you may be faced with, a DWI or DWAI arrest can result in the suspension or revocation of your CDL. Also, if certain circumstances exist, you may be facing an extended or even lifetime CDL revocation. These include your refusal to submit to a chemical test, a previous DWI conviction or being involved in a fatal accident.

While regular New York driver's license holders may be eligible for a conditional license that allows them to drive to and from work during restricted day time hours, as a CDL holder you enjoy no such privilege. You may, however, be eligible for a conditional license for personal use but such a license would prohibit your ability to drive for a living. This means that your inability to drive can put your livelihood at risk and leave you without a source of income. Therefore, DWI charges are much more serious and have harsher consequences if you hold a New York CDL.

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