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Can I Get My CDL with a DUI?

How does getting a DUI affect my CDL?

Getting a ticket for driving under the influence is a serious violation, both for personal and commercial drivers. However, it may have even more serious consequences if you have a commercial driver’s license. This is even true if you are operating a personal vehicle when you get a DUI, since those who earn commercial drivers’ licenses are expected to uphold high standards for road safety, no matter which vehicle they are using. If you are worried about how a ticket for driving under the influence may affect the standing of your license, keep reading to learn more.

Convictions and Violations

First, it is important to know what you have been ticketed for, as there are different convictions in different states. Every state has laws against driving under the influence of alcohol. You may also get ticketed for operating a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance, which may include prescription meds that can make driving unsafe.

Another way you may threaten your CDL is refusing a drug and alcohol test. Even if you were not drinking prior to the request for a blood draw, refusing an alcohol screening is as good as admitting guilt in most states. In most states, this can lead to the immediate revocation of your commercial driver’s license.

Blood Alcohol Level

When you complete your alcohol screening and blood test after getting a DUI, your blood alcohol level will be measured. Your blood alcohol level at the time of screening may have a big impact on what happens to your license. In most states, testing at or above a level of .08 may lead to a DUI conviction. However, this level is for personal drivers.

The FMCSA standard, which is used in most states, allows for a blood alcohol level of up to .04 for commercial drivers. Testing above this level may lead to your license being suspended or completely revoked, depending on which state you live in. A blood alcohol level that is much higher than the legal limit may lead to your license being permanently taken away.

Other Factors

Though you are held to high expectations no matter which vehicle you are driving, the vehicle used in a DUI may change what happens to your license. For example, some states have stricter penalties or longer license suspension periods for drivers who earn a DUI in a commercial vehicle. Keep in mind that a DUI in a personal vehicle may still lead to suspension; however, you may get your license back more quickly in this case.

You must also remember that all alcohol use is highly discouraged prior to driving a commercial vehicle. Currently, the FMCSA does not allow commercial drivers to drink any alcohol in the four-hour period leading up to the use of a commercial vehicle. This means that you may still get ticketed or have your license suspended, even if you test below the legal limit.

Driving under the influence puts you and others on the road at serious risk for bodily harm. Staying sober on the road protects your license and your life.