Commercial Driver’s Licenses and Connecticut Motor Vehicle Violations

Commercial Driver’s License

Truck drivers and other drivers with commercial driver’s licenses have higher standards on the road than the average driver. This is because commercial trucks can do a lot more damage on the road than the average car can. If you’ve ever seen an accident on the highway involving a commercial truck and a regular-sized vehicle, you know that a truck can crush other cars with ease. For this reason, accidents involving commercial trucks are oftentimes fatal. Driving while under the influence increases the likelihood of an accident. This action can make you a liability to your employer.

As a truck driver with a commercial driver’s license, you must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations. These regulations concern drugs and/or alcohol use while driving. These regulations are most restrictive in terms of their blood alcohol concentration limit. This BAC is set at 0.04%, a much lower limit than what a person without a CDL will face. Alcohol tolerance for a truck driver with a CDL is lower because of the safety risks involved with driving large trucks carrying potentially dangerous cargo and the sheer size of commercial trucks. Furthermore, the FMCSA rules state that if you refuse to submit to a blood alcohol test, you will automatically be found guilty of driving under the influence.

DUI Trial and CDL

The process of trial for a DUI if you have a CDL is similar to that of the average person’s. You will undergo the same process as a typical driver, however you must comply with a lower BAC limit. Also, your license could get suspended for a longer period of time than is normal for non-commercial drivers. If your license gets suspended, whether you received your DUI on or off duty, you can’t work because you can’t drive. Furthermore, a DUI could cause an employer to fire you, and having a DUI on your record will make it difficult for you to be hired by another company.

The consequences of receiving a DUI as a truck driver with a CDL are severe. You will be subjected to stricter regulations than a non-commercial driver and receiving a DUI will directly affect your ability to work. Refraining from driving under the influence is important if your livelihood depends on driving. If you have a CDL and you received a DUI charge, you need to build a strong defense to fight the charge and keep your job.

Many reasons exist as to why commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) or licenses with public passenger endorsement could face suspension or disqualification. One reason includes operating a motor vehicle under the influence. This can happen whether you drive a commercial vehicle or your personal vehicle. Once a driver gets disqualified they cannot operate a commercial motor vehicle. Tickets or convictions from out of state also hold reciprocity in Connecticut. They will get reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles. They will then transfer to your Connecticut Driver’s license.

Penalties and Disqualification

If one of these offenses occurs with driving a vehicle that is transporting hazardous materials, the minimum disqualification will be for three years. If convicted twice for either driving under the influence or refusal or failure of a BAC test, the result would be a lifetime disqualification of your commercial driver license. A first offense of using a commercial vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance will also result in a lifetime disqualification.

Disqualification will result from a conviction of any one (1) of the following:

  • Operation under the influence of alcohol.
  • Refusal to take a blood, breath or urine test.
  • Failure of a blood, breath or urine test (0.04 or greater).
  • Evading the police.
  • Use of a commercial vehicle in conjunction with a felony conviction.

If an additional violation occurs following the completion of a driver retraining class, you might have to repeat the class. These classes are under the discretion of the retraining associations and are not held at the DMV. If the class is not completed by the effective date of suspension, a restoration fee in the amount of $175 must be paid. You can pay by check or money order payable to DMV and mailed to:

State of Connecticut
Department of Motor Vehicles
Driver Services Division
60 State Street
Wethersfield, Connecticut 06161-2525
(Include the license number and name with payment.)

Alternatively, you can pay this fee online.


My name is Teresa, and I am a DUI lawyer, but that is only part of who I am. I have been practicing law in Connecticut since 2006.


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