How Will a DWI Affect my CDL?



Do you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or are considering obtaining one? Are you asking yourself, “How will a DWI affect my CDL?” Receiving a charge of driving while impaired is extremely serious for both commercial and personal drivers. But the consequences are even more extreme for those with a commercial driver’s license.

Moreover, the violation does not have to occur while driving a commercial vehicle. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety states, “Offenses that occur in a [non-commercial] vehicle (car, pickup, motorcycle, etc) may lead to the disqualification of a commercial driver’s license (CDL).” Under Minnesota Statute 171.165, you may also lose the privilege of operating commercial motor vehicles under the terms and penalties of federal regulations.

Whether you have a Class A, Class B or Class C, your Commercial Driver’s License will be impacted by a DWI conviction. At a minimum, the impact will be to the same degree as a Class D (non-CDL) license. However, Commercial Driver’s Licenses carry a greater revocation length.

Depending on your history, refusing a test for alcohol or controlled substances includes penalties of a one-year or three-year suspension, but may also cause the lifetime disqualification from driving commercial vehicles. It all depends on the severity and frequency of offenses. If you receive a disqualification notice, you may not drive a commercial vehicle until your CDL is reinstated.

As a commercial driver, you may not drink alcoholic beverages while on duty or within four hours of starting your shift. If while operating a non-commercial vehicle, you test at a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more, you will lose your privilege to drive commercial motor vehicles for at least a year.

The loss of your CDL occurs for at least a year with a first offense if:

  • You are discovered driving s commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance,
  • You refuse to take an alcohol or drug test,
  • Your blood alcohol level is .04 percent while driving a commercial vehicle,
  • Your blood alcohol concentration is less than the 0.04 percent but a detectable amount has put you out of service for 24 hours, or
  • You have a violation in another state that is grounds for disqualification on Minnesota.

Both Minnesota and federal law have minimum requirements for a CDL disqualification. There are sometimes delays in notifications. Regardless, drivers are responsible for following state and federal regulations on disqualification periods.

The loss of your commercial driving privileges does not automatically mean the loss of your Class D privileges. You may not be allowed to drive a commercial vehicle but, unless applicable, you may still drive non-commercial vehicles.

It is your right to challenge the loss of your commercial driver’s license or privileges. Meaney & Patrin, P.A. are the DWI Guys and will help you file a civil suit against the Commissioner of Public Safety. Minnesota’s laws are complicated, and you can not expect the same results from a general practice attorney. You need a law firm that specializes.

Our DWI attorneys are able to identify the legal issues that may result in a reduction of charges or their dismissal. We know the cities and counties in which you acquired the offense, and we know how these jurisdictions handle their DWI cases. Moreover, as specialists, we stay on top of changes to both legislation and case-law.

We take the time to learn about your situation and your personal needs. Our attorneys dedicate the necessary amount of time and resources to defending you. We take the time to explain every aspect of your case. Our attorneys are passionate about their clients and what they do.

If you would like to talk more about how a DWI will affect your CDL, or would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact us.

Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case.