Will My CDL Be Suspended Due to a DUI Charge?

When it comes to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) claims, those who possess a CDL are subject to tougher rules. You may be curious if your commercial driver’s license (CDL) may get suspended if you get caught drinking and driving. 

However, your CDL will instantly get suspended in some areas if you are guilty of DUI. Also, in other states, the court can suspend your CDL.

If you’re facing a suspended CDL, you cannot operate a commercial vehicle. As a result, making a living for yourself will be tough.

Also, at such a moment, it is vital to speak with DUI lawyers to learn about your rights and possible defenses if you ever get accused of DUI. You also want to familiarize yourself with CDL suspension rules. 

So in this article, you’ll learn further about what a DUI can do to your CDL. Keep reading.

What Is CDL?

A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a type of driver’s license needed to drive large, heavy, or unwanted toxic waste trucks in commercial use in the U.S. Examples of such vehicles include;

  • Livestock carriers.
  • Tank vehicles.
  • Truck and trailer combined carriers. 
  • Tractor-trailers.
  • Flatbeds.

There are various types of CDLs, and the kind of CDL you’ll need varies depending on the load, type of vehicle, number of passengers, and gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).

How Much Does CDL Cost?

You can get a CDL for a variety of prices. It all depends on the kind of program you choose for your CDL classes, its location, and its laws.

Generally speaking, the price range for getting a CDL ranges from 1,000 to 8,000 U.S. dollars. That amount may seem a bit hefty, but driving a commercial vehicle is no easy undertaking. Moreover, they don’t just hand out licenses to anyone. As a result, getting a CDL is more of a process than an activity.

However, some trucking firms pay for CDL training for their drivers, which is beautiful because it reduces expenses. Some of the fees you pay are; 

  • Fee for applications.
  • Cost of vehicle upkeep.
  • Knowledge exam.
  • Driving test.
  • Cost of the CDL license itself

DUI Laws for CDL Bearers

Many states in the U.S. have dozens of views of driving under the influence. Yet compared to those that apply to drivers of private cars, most states have tighter rules for drivers of commercial vehicles.

The DUI laws concerning the blood alcohol content (BAC) for private vehicles differ from commercial ones. For private drivers, one gets seen as driving under the influence with a BAC level of 0.08%.

But for commercial drivers, the legal BAC level is lower. Driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or above is illegal in all states. 

The Impact of a DUI Charge on Your CDL

If you are a CDL driver, your license will get suspended for a year after your first DUI charge. You can also get a one-year CDL suspension for some other major traffic crimes.

For example, hit-and-run, using a vehicle to commit a crime, and so on. After that suspension, getting your CDL back may be a complex process. First, you must repeat the CDL certification processes and pay a reinstatement fee.

Also, you will lose your CDL forever if you commit a second DUI or another huge traffic crime.

Note that these are only the CDL DUI-related legal repercussions. In the real world, you’ll still have issues.

With a DUI record, it will be harder for you to land a job as a commercial driver. The reason is that most trucking firms are usually wary of recruiting drivers with an impaired drinking history.

Even if you are aware of your duty and safety behind the wheel, why would a firm that doesn’t know you take that chance? For this reason, once you get charged with DUI, ensure you don’t let it get out of hand.

To do that, you must avail the skills of an expert DUI attorney to fight for you.

Some of the Ways DUI Lawyers will Defend Your Case

The prospect of even briefly losing your CDL will urge you to hire a DUI lawyer to fight against the charges. However, it’s possible that there were errors when they stopped you for a traffic violation or handled you while in their custody.

To defend you against DUI charges, a skilled DUI attorney will consider all of the following options:

  • The sample of blood you provided was not handled properly.
  • Poorly performed field sobriety tests.
  • Lack of sufficient grounds to warrant your arrest.
  • Mistakes in the breathalyzer’s calibration.
  • Existence of medical problems that could result in false-positive test results.

Only an expert DUI lawyer can defend you using these options. By doing so, your DUI changes’ severity will get reduced or even dismissed.

How to Requalify After a CDL Suspension Due to DUI Charges?

After a suspension due to a DUI charge, re-eligibility for a CDL is not always easy. Once the suspension has done its job, you can’t just start driving again.

The requalification process can only get started after the suspension has ended. For instance, if your CDL suspension was for three years, you can’t retake the test if you only did a year. As such, you must follow through with CDL tracking to know when it ends. 

Once the suspension is over, you will need to redo the CDL test’s knowledge and driving sections to get your license back.

However, If the reason for your CDL suspension is moving hazardous materials, then you must pass the hazmat skills test.

When you get that done, it’s time to pay a CDL requalification fee of $35. But if your CDL gets suspended twice, you will never again be eligible for one. This means you will be forever banned from holding one. 

Also, if you try to drive a commercial vehicle while ineligible for a CDL, you may get charged with a crime.

You may, however, appeal this judgment by requesting an administrative review.

Bottom Line

With everything discussed in this article, the answer to whether your CDL will get suspended due to a DUI charge is yes. 

The laws regarding DUI and CDL suspensions sometimes vary from state to state. So it is vital to consult with a DUI lawyer to determine what you can expect. In most cases, a DUI will suspend your CDL for at least a year.

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