Commercial Driver's Licenses
Q. Can a CDL holder convicted of DUI obtain a limited-use license with commercial privileges?
A. Not after September 30, 2005. CDL holders will no longer be eligible for a conditional license with commercial privileges, even if a court issues a certificate of relief from civil disabilities - regardless of whether the traffic violation that resulted in the suspension or revocation of the license occurred in a personal (non-commercial) motor vehicle.
Q. If the CDL holder is found not guilty of misdemeanor Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and is convicted of non-criminal Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), a traffic infraction, does that avoid loss of commercial driving privileges?
A. No. The CDL disqualification and revocation penalties are the same whether convicted of DWI or DWAI, even though DWAI is a non-criminal traffic infraction.
Q. Is a hardship privilege available to allow restricted driving by CDL drivers waiting for a DUI trial?
A. A court may in some cases issue a so-called "hardship privilege" to a CDL holder pending prosecution; however, such hardship privilege may not be used to operate any motor vehicle that requires CDL privileges. A pre-conviction conditional license (PCCL), which is issued by DMV in some cases thirty days after suspension pending prosecution, will not allow commercial privileges.
Q. Can a CDL holder convicted of a DUI offense obtain a limited-use license with non-commercial privileges?
A. Yes, for most first offenders - but only if eligible for a pre-conviction conditional license (pre-trial) or a conditional license (post-trial) which require eligibility for enrollment in the drinking driver program.
Q. Have the revocation minimum periods for CDL holders been increased?
A. Commercial driving privileges shall be revoked for a minimum one-year if the CDL holder commits a major traffic offense (MTO), including any of the following violations:
Refusal to submit to a chemical test while operating any motor vehicle, personal or commercial;
Conviction for leaving the scene of either a property damage or personal injury accident without reporting, while operating any motor vehicle, personal or commercial;
Conviction for an alcohol or a driving while impaired by drugs (DWAID) offense while operating any motor vehicle, personal or commercial;
Conviction for a felony committed within or outside of NYS involving the use of any motor vehicle, personal or commercial; or
Conviction for operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle while his or her CDL was revoked, suspended, or canceled for prior violations, or if disqualified from operating a CMV, or conviction for causing a fatality through negligent operation of a CMV, including but not limited to, crimes of vehicular manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide.
Q. Are repeat offenders facing lifetime revocation?
A. Commercial driving privileges will be permanently revoked if the CDL holder commits one of the MTOs listed above and the CDL holder has previously:
Refused a chemical test while operating any motor vehicle, personal or commercial, or;
Was convicted for an MTO while operating any motor vehicle, personal or commercial; or,
Was convicted of leaving the scene of either a property damage or personal injury accident without reporting;
Been convicted of an alcohol related operating offense;
Been convicted of committing a felony involving the use of any motor vehicle; or
Operated a CMV while CDL was revoked, suspended, or canceled for prior violations, or if disqualified from operating a CMV or if convicted for causing a fatality through negligent operation of a CMV, including but not limited to, crimes of vehicular manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide.
Q. Do the penalties apply to offenses committed before September 30, 2005?
A. Such pre-September 30, 2005 adjudications will generally have the effect under the prior law. Thus, any major traffic offense defined violation (in a non-commercial vehicle) prior to September 30, 2005 will not be deemed to be an MTO as a predicate for the purposes of second-offender MCSIA lifetime revocation. But if a CDL holder is convicted after September 30, 2005 of a MTO (including DWI or DWAI) committed before September 30, 2005, NYDMV will not issue a Conditional or Restricted Use license with commercial privileges, no matter how many times the CDL motorist says "ex post facto!"
Q. Can out-of-state offenses result in CDL privilege disqualification?
A. Yes! Major traffic offense disqualifications and revocations may be based on out-of-state offenses. When applying for a CDL or CDL renewal, the motorist must disclose all states where the CDL holder was licensed within the past 10 years. Interstate reporting of most traffic offenses is mandated by MCSIA. Anyone authorized by law can obtain a copy of a CDL holder's driving record, including most employers and insurance companies. This will result in many CDL holders' loss of employment - even for a first offense, even if not convicted of a crime and despite proof of rehabilitation.
Q. If a CDL holder is suspended for failure to pay child support, is a limited-use license with commercial privileges available?
A. No. A CDL holder who is suspended for failure to pay child support will not be issued a Restricted Use License (RUL) with commercial privileges. This shows that the law is not purely an effort to keep the highways safe; but in part, a way of enforcing a Federal agenda to enforce support enforcement and increase federal revenue. Denial of a RUL is a way of furthering a Federal agenda of revenue enforcement for child support.
Unless a state enacts legislation enabling MCSIA, it risks loss of federal highway funds. If New York had not enacted MCSIA by September 30, 2005, it would have risked the loss of millions of dollars in federal highway funds. As you can imagine, there wasn't much debate in the legislature about the salutary merits of enacting legislation to enable MCSIA.
Q. Where can I obtain additional information about MCSIA?
A. For further information, I suggest an informative web site, which includes forms for downloading, at: www.nysdmv.com. These forms include a request for an interstate driving record "file search" for submission to the interstate National Driver Registry (NDR).