Commercial Driver's License Laws

Locate a Local Criminal Lawyer

Find Lawyers in Other Categories
Most Common Defense and Criminal Law Issues

What Is a Commercial Driver's License?

Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) are required to operate certain motor vehicles. These typically include commercial vehicles that have a gross weight of over 26,000 pounds, such as:

Obtaining a commercial driver’s license is much like obtaining a non-commercial license from a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The candidate will be required to take a series of examinations, and is also required to furnish proof of training with a certified organization. Commercial driver’s licenses are further subdivided into different categories based on the weight and purpose of the vehicle.

Are Commercial Drivers Held to Different Standards than Other Drivers?

Yes, holders of CDL’s are held to a higher standard of responsibility and will be subjected to greater penalties if they violate the rules of the road. This is because operating a commercial vehicle usually requires a greater amount of skill and care than standard automobiles. CDL holders who break the law may be subjected to consequences such as:

How Do Drunk Driving Charges Affect a Commercial License?

Most states hold commercial drivers to higher standards in terms of drunk driving (DUI) and blood alcohol content limits. For instance, commercial drivers are usually limited to maximum of .04% blood alcohol when operating a commercial vehicle.    

Being convicted of driving under the influence or DUI is a serious offense, and can have severe consequences for a commercially licensed driver. Penalties, in addition to DUI fines and costs, can include having the commercial license suspended for a year. Subsequent convictions may lead to extended periods of suspension or a complete revocation of driving privileges. If the holder of a CDL refuses to submit to a chemical test during a DUI arrest, they may be subject to even greater penalties. Multiple or repeat convictions are treated most severely and can even lead to criminal felony charges.

Can a Suspended Commercial Driver's License Be Reinstated?

Usually if a person is convicted for operating a commercial vehicle while drunk, they will have their license immediately suspended for the duration of the trial. If they are not found to be guilty, they can usually have their license reinstated. Some states do not immediately restore the person’s license, and they must submit a formal request for reinstatement. If the commercial driver has been found guilty of DUI charges, they will likely have to wait until they complete their period of suspension before they can reapply for another commercial driver’s license. This will usually involve paying a fee and retaking all the required exams with the DMV.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Violations of commercial driving privileges are quite serious and can lead to criminal charges on one’s record. If you are involved in any type of dispute over your commercial driving privileges, it is important that you contact a DUI attorney immediately. They will be able to help you prepare any necessary documents and evidence in your defense. Sometimes a criminal defense lawyer will be able to secure reduced or dropped charges, depending on the nature of the offense. 

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 07-18-2014 12:42 PM PDT

Find the Right Lawyer Now

Link to this page

Law Library Disclaimer

LegalMatch Service Mark