CDL License Impact

Obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL) can be a time-consuming and difficult process. Once you have a CDL, the work does not stop. You will be held to higher standards on the road than the average driver. For this reason, a DUI can have more serious consequences for you than for the average driver. Learn more on this page.


Drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) typically go through the process of obtaining one for employment purposes. A CDL suspension can be detrimental to a person’s career. Therefore an East Lyme DUI for this subsection of people is quite problematic. Not only do you need to worry about the court process, criminal penalties, and the involvement of the DMV, but you also need to worry about losing your livelihood due to a CDL suspension.

Due to the dangerous nature of commercial vehicles and the hazardous materials being transported, CDL drivers are held to an even standard of care than regular drivers are. I will outline these higher standards on this page to show you what you are up against if you get a DUI and you are a CDL holder.

Breaking the Law

Following a DUI conviction or blood alcohol content (BAC) refusal, a driver’s CDL will be disqualified for one year if the offense occurred while driving a regular motor vehicle, and three years if the offense occurred while operating a commercial vehicle and actively using a CDL. Further, when driving a commercial motor vehicle, the threshold for intoxication is .04%, compared to .08% for regular drivers.

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Irrespective of possible defenses, a refusal or failure of a BAC automatically results in disqualification. Once the period of license suspension is over, the CDL will be reinstated. However, this is a one-time deal, and a second DUI would result in a loss of the CDL for life. This can be challenged after 10 years, but good cause must be shown, and voluntary engagement in a substance abuse treatment program may also help you get your license back.

It is not only Connecticut that one with a CDL needs to worry about because there is federal oversight as well. This is by way of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that sets its own rules and guidelines. This administration makes the blood alcohol limit .04% no matter what type of vehicle is being driven and treats a failure or refusal as a finding of under the influence.

Preventing a CDL Suspension

Obtaining a CDL is a long process that costs money and is done almost always for specific reasons, those being financial. This means that on top of the penalties faced by all who drive, CDL drivers face additional penalties as well. These are complicated cases, and it behooves anyone in this type of predicament to obtain adequate legal representation. To speak with a East Lyme DUI defense lawyer who has worked with CDL holders in the past, contact us. We are happy to help with your situation and prevent a CDL suspension if we can.

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