What are the Commercial Driver’s License Penalties?

If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and use it to make your living, getting charged with an alcohol related driving offense is going to jeopardize your job.

There are additional penalties for bus drivers, semi-truck drivers, and others who operate commercial vehicles. Please understand that any and all of the ways we try to beat intoxication charges apply here. These are the same and do not change because you have a CDL. The only difference is that the rules are tougher for you if you got stopped and you were driving with your CDL.


Not only can drivers be charged with DUI for operating a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of .04 percent or more, these drivers can also lose their commercial driving licenses if they are charged with DUI while driving a regular vehicle. Commercial drivers face the following penalties:

An alcohol concentration of 0.04% or more when driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle will:

  • First Offense-disqualify you from driving a commercial motor vehicle for 1 year (3 years if the vehicle was required to be placarded for HAZMAT)
  • Second Offense-disqualify you for life

An alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more while operating on a commercial driver license, regardless of the vehicle type, will:

  • First Offense-disqualify you from driving a commercial motor vehicle for 1 year
  • Second Offense-disqualify you for life

A refusal to submit to take a test will:

  • First Offense- Disqualify you from driving a commercial motor vehicle for 1 year
  • Second Offense-Disqualify you for life

Options for Defense-Immediately Request an Administrative Hearing

The MVA has a zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol related offenses by commercial drivers.

You must therefore respond to any notice of CDL disqualification within 15 days and request an administrative hearing to fight the suspension. It is important to an attorney experienced in CDL laws as soon as possible for non serious and serious traffic violations, CDL specific charges or DUI charges. The attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed or reduced, and the penalties reduced based upon a review of the evidence. If your CDL is suspended, an experienced attorney might be able to help you obtain a hardship license so that you can continue working.

Call me now for your free consultation session at:
(410) 963-5244
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