DUI and Commercial Driver’s Licenses

Leading Chicago DUI Attorney to Protect Your Commercial Driver’s License

If you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in the State of Illinois, a DUI can cause you to lose your CDL. A DUI can have a serious impact on your livelihood and ability to find a new job, if you drive a commercial motor vehicle for a living.

Any person driving a vehicle over 26,000 pounds, or a vehicle that transports hazardous materials must have a Commercial Driver’s License. In order to obtain a CDL in Illinois, a person must pass a test outlining the skills and knowledge required to operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he or he wishes to drive. Commercial motor vehicles include semi-trucks and busses. All states are connected to one computerized system to share information about CDL holders.

CDL DUI Violations

Traffic violations for CDL holders are characterized as petty, major or serious. DUI offenses fall under the category of major violations. These can include driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Having a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.04% or greater while operating your commercial motor vehicle is a violation. Suspensions can also result by refusing to take an alcohol test as required by Illinois implied consent laws, regardless of what type of vehicle is driven, and causing a fatality while driving your commercial motor vehicle.

It is important to note that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration limit for CDL holders at 0.04% rather than the 0.08% limit set for noncommercial vehicle drivers.


Whether you will lose your CDL temporarily or permanently will depend on the number and type of your infractions. A first offense will result in a one-year disqualification of your CDL, three years if you transport hazardous materials. A second violation will result in lifetime disqualification of your CDL. In addition to the loss of your CDL, you will also be facing the criminal penalties of a DUI if you are convicted.

The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 states that drivers who have a CDL will also have that license disqualified if they are convicted of certain moving violations in their own personal vehicles. If the personal vehicle license of a CDL holder is suspended, canceled or revoked due to an alcohol violation, the CDL will be suspended for one year. If the driver receives a second alcohol violation in his or her own personal vehicle, the CDL will be disqualified for life.

If a CDL holder is convicted of any traffic infraction other than a parking violation, no matter which type of vehicle was being driven, the CDL holder must inform his or her employer within 30 days. Additionally, if you lose your license, you must notify your employer within two business days.

Chicago DUI Attorney

For more information regarding the penalties associated with DUI and commercial driver’s licenses in Illinois, contact experienced Chicago DUI attorney Fred Dry.

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