Many people in and around Rockland County, Orange County and Westchester County in the greater New York area drive for a living. In addition to long-haul truckers and mass transit drivers, many others must carry a commercial license in order to carry on their careers and earn a living.

Not surprisingly, those who hold a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, are subject to additional rules and regulations, some of which are, at least indirectly, established by the federal government. Along with these additional rules come extra penalties, including a system under which a person can lose his or her right to drive a vehicle for a living.

In this respect, a New Yorker’s conviction on drunk driving charges, even for a first-time offense in his or her personal vehicle, can have devastating consequences for a driver’s career.

This is because if a court finds that a CDL holder was driving any vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs as defined under the laws of New York, the CDL holder will lose the right to drive commercial vehicles for one year. The penalty is three years if the driver was hauling hazardous materials. It should be noted, in this respect, that a CDL holder can be found under the influence even if he or she does not test at .08 blood alcohol content.

A subsequent offense will mean that the driver will not be able to operate professionally for at least 10 years and may never be allowed to legally drive a commercial vehicle ever again.

While anyone charged in a New York court with drunk or drugged driving should consider seeking the assistance of legal counsel, doing so may be especially important for truckers and other commercial drivers.