How Long After a DUI Can You Get a CDL in California?

How Long After a DUI Can You Get a CDL in California?

A DUI conviction can come with more consequences than just the potential for jail time or fines. It can also mean the loss of driving privileges. This is particularly impactful for those who rely on driving as a part of their job, such as heavy machine operators and truck drivers. These circumstances can raise many questions, the first of which is likely how long after a DUI can you get a CDL in California? The answer to that and other DUI questions can be complicated.

A West Covina CDL DUI defense lawyer from The Law Office of Daniel P. Flores can help provide you with the information you may need on how to get back on the road with your Commercial Driver’s License after a DUI.

How a DUI Impacts a CDL

California is one of the strictest states for DUI convictions. In a place with a high population, California lawmakers seek to keep tourists and locals safe. Because of this, the resulting impact of a DUI on a driver carrying or seeking to carry a CDL can be quite severe. There are three detrimental impacts on the CDL process when you have a DUI on your driving record.

  1. Period of Suspension. When you receive a DUI, your driving privileges will be suspended for both regular driving and commercial driving. The length of time you will face a suspension is dependent on any previous convictions you may have encountered and the circumstances that are specific to your case. Even if the circumstances of the DUI are specific to your regular driver’s license, you can expect it to impact your CDL or your CDL application.
  2. Driving Record Implications. DUI convictions will stick with you for quite some time as a part of your driving record. For employers who seek to hire you for a position that requires driving, they will no doubt see this on your record. Unfortunately, this could impact your ability to be hired as there is a risk of harm to potential cargo, insurance, and if something should happen, their reputation with their customers.
  3. Disqualifying a CDL. While subjected to a suspension of your regular license, a DUI could cause an extended suspension of qualifying for a CDL license. Unfortunately, the disqualification period can last for some time.

With these impacts on obtaining a CDL from the result of a DUI, the waiting period becomes dependent on the circumstances of the conviction.

The Waiting Period for a CDL After a DUI Conviction

While you may be able to apply for a CDL after a DUI, how long you have to wait could depend on a combination of how many DUIs you have received as well as legislation. Impacts to the timeline of receiving your DUI include:

  • Initial DUI Conviction. If you receive your first DUI conviction, you will likely be required to wait one year before you become eligible to apply for your CDL license. While this suspension is in place, you will be required to complete all court-ordered requirements, which could include fines, DUI classes, and meeting any probation obligations.
  • Any DUI After the First. If you receive a second or greater DUI conviction, the waiting period could be much longer and is a matter of circumstances. For any DUI after the first, you should consult with your attorney, who will be able to better inform you of how your conviction could impact you.
  • Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012. Under this Federal act, a person seeking a CDL driver’s license, or who already holds one, could face a suspension from obtaining a CDL for a year or indefinitely. The period to which they face a suspension is based on the circumstances of the charge and total number of convictions a person has faced.

The only way to avoid a suspension from a CDL application or from holding a CDL is to avoid receiving a DUI altogether.


Q: Can You Get a CDL in California with a DUI?

A: You are able to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License in California even with a DUI on your driving record. If you face your first DUI conviction, you will likely face a one-year suspension period, which bars you from applying for or holding a CDL license. After that year, if you have met all the requirements to fulfill the penalty that was issued by the court, you will then be able to apply for your CDL.

Q: How Do I Get My CDL Back After a DUI in California?

A: Getting your CDL back after a DUI in California is not impossible, but does take a few critical steps to do so. The first step is to wait the mandatory suspension time out while completing all court ordered requirements. At the end of the suspension, you can apply for a CDL at the DMV. In order to obtain the CDL, you must pass all driver tests and skills tests in order to do so.

Q: What Felonies Disqualify You from Getting a CDL in California?

A: While not all criminal convictions will prevent you from obtaining your CDL, there are certain felonies that will disqualify you from getting a CDL in California. Such charges include arson, treason, kidnapping, violent crimes, crimes involving a motor vehicle, or any felony obtained while operating a commercial vehicle.

These represent a small number of charges that could prevent you from obtaining a CDL. An attorney can help you understand if any felony charges you face could present challenges.

Q: What Is the BAC Limit for CDL Drivers in Personal Vehicles in California?

A: A CDL holder who is operating their personal vehicle and is stopped by police and found to have a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher could be arrested for DUI. Holding a CDL does not change the threshold for operating a personal vehicle under the influence of alcohol. If you are operating a commercial vehicle, the threshold, however, is only .04%.

West Covina CDL DUI Defense Lawyer

Holding a CDL and receiving a DUI can be a difficult reality to face. However, with the help of a defense lawyer from The Law Office of Daniel P. Flores, you can more easily navigate the confusing and complicated legal process ahead of you. Contact our offices today for all your DUI questions.

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