CDL License Impact

Commercial driver's license (CLD) holders are held to a higher standard than the average driver. Because of this, the penalties for driving infractions and driving-related crimes such as DUI are more severe for CDL holders. On this page, learn what to do if you get a Waterbury DUI and you operate commercial vehicles for a living.


A Waterbury DUI can have a very negative impact on a person that holds a commercial driver’s license. Commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) are required to drive buses, large trucks, and transport hazardous materials in Connecticut. Because of the risk of driving much larger vehicles and transporting dangerous materials, CDL drivers are held to a higher standard than an average driver. There is an automatic one-year commercial driver’s license disqualification upon a driver’s DUI conviction, refusal to take a BAC test, or a failed BAC test. For DUIs that occurred during the transportation of hazardous materials that require a special placard under federal law, the disqualification period is three years.

CDL Disqualification

There are three events that lead to automatic disqualification, which are:

  1. BAC test refusal under any circumstances, regardless of what motor vehicle was being driven at the time of the stop.
  2. A BAC test result of .04% or more while driving a commercial vehicle or a .08% or more while driving any motor vehicle.
  3. Any DUI conviction resulting from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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The license disqualification is automatic, meaning that the happening of one of these events will trigger the disqualification, regardless of the offender’s legal defenses. A commercial driver’s license holder will have a second chance after this disqualification to continue driving with their CDL license. However, any subsequent DUI will result in a disqualification for life from having a CDL. The driver will be able to apply for reinstatement only after 10 years and following the completion of voluntary addiction treatment. The commissioner has the authority to disqualify CDL licenses and reinstate them as well. Disqualification can result from a DUI conviction, BAC refusal, or failure that occurs in a different state other than Connecticut.


In addition to adhering to Connecticut law, commercial driver’s license truck drivers also must adhere to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations in regards to drug and alcohol use while driving. These regulations restrict CDL drivers to a BAC limit of only .04%, which is less than the .08% BAC for non-CDL drivers under Connecticut law. The reasoning is based on the safety risks involved with transporting large and potentially dangerous loads of hazardous material and cargo. The FMCSA regulations also hold that a refusal to submit to a BAC test will result in an automatic finding of driving under the influence.

CDL drivers often make their living off the use of their commercial driver’s license and driving cargo and vehicles that the average license holder cannot handle. A disqualification of this license can result in a loss of employment, stability, and employment. If you have a CDL license and were arrested for a DUI, you will need a lawyer that understands the seriousness of the consequences and can advocate for you.

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