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Can a DUI Affect Your Ability to Get a Commercial Driver’s License

June 29, 2022

Although driving under influence is illegal in all states, those driving commercial motor vehicles will face stricter standards than drivers operating personal vehicles. You are considered to drive under influence if you are mentally impaired to drive or your blood alcohol content is 0.08% or more. For drivers of commercial vehicles, however, your blood alcohol level should be less than 0.04%. Some states have even stricter laws and have the BAC below the federal 0.04%. 

Refusing a Test 

All states require that all CDL holders comply with a lawful request for a drugs and substance test. The driver should consent to the test to determine the drugs in their system. Typically, this test involves breath, blood, and urine test. Although states may have other laws on tests, this is a federal requirement that all drivers must meet. Refusal to take a test will disqualify the CDL for a year. 

CDL Revocation and DUIs 

According to federal rules, a CDL holder who refuses to give consent to a legal test, who drives under influence, or drives with a BAC of .04% will lose their CDL for a year. If the DUI occurs in a hazmat CMV, the CDL will be disqualified for at least three years. If you get a second DUI conviction, you will lose your CDL for life. 

Besides the disqualification of the CDL, a driver that is caught with alcohol and other substances in their system will be prohibited from driving for about 24 hours. In some states, there is a “Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse” where the driver is disqualified after a positive drug test, and they are only reinstated if they complete a full evaluation and undergo the necessary treatment. 

Applying for a CDL With a DUI Conviction 

In most states, you will get a CDL even with a DUI conviction. However, the DUI needs to be at least three years old before you apply for the CDL. As such, wait these three years and then apply or check the licensing laws in your state. 

After your CDL is confiscated, you will not get a temporary driving permit as is the case with non-commercial vehicles. As such, you will not be able to drive a commercial vehicle for a year until your license is reinstated. If this is your second conviction, you will never drive a commercial vehicle again.