What Disqualifies You From Getting a CDL in California?

What Disqualifies You From Getting a CDL in California?

A Commercial Driver’s License, more commonly known as a CDL, is a valuable asset for many in their search for employment. This specialized license affords the holder the opportunity to drive commercial vehicles, such as semi-trucks, on behalf of a company. Unfortunately, those privileges can easily be revoked. With the importance of these specialized employees, you may be wondering what disqualifies you from getting a CDL in California.

With the help of a West Covina CDL DUI defense lawyer from The Law Office of Daniel P. Flores, we hope to keep you out of the legal trouble that could prevent you from earning your CDL.

Suspension Versus Disqualification of CDL

There are a variety of circumstances that could result in your inability to operate a commercial motor vehicle because of a lack of qualification or loss of privilege with a CDL. Your CDL can be revoked, suspended, or you could be deemed ineligible to receive one. A suspension is a temporary loss of privilege while disqualification means you lose your right to hold a CDL and may be unable to apply for the issuance of one.

If your CDL is suspended, you likely have lost your driving privileges for any type of vehicle whether commercially or personally for a defined period of time. If your CDL is disqualified, you are not allowed to operate any commercial vehicles that require that license.

The Laws for Disqualifying a CDL

In California, there are specific laws that govern CDL holders and their operation of commercial vehicles. To hold this license, the driver must meet a specific set of requirements. There are two laws that pertain to the qualifications of a CDL:

  • FMCSR 383.31. This states that a driver must report any convictions to the state and their employer.
  • FMCSR 391.25. This law states that an annual review of the driving record will take place. An employee must acknowledge any violations, and the review will ensure violations are not cause for disqualification.

It is the responsibility of the driver to report any violations and take responsibility for the implications of them.

Incidents that Can Disqualify a CDL

Not every violation will disqualify a driver from holding a CDL. There are, however, several serious violations that could immediately impact CDL qualifications. These include:

  • Traveling 15 mph or more above the speed limit
  • Driving recklessly
  • Changes lanes improperly or erratically
  • The involvement in a fatal car accident stemming from a traffic violation
  • Operating a commercial vehicle without a valid CDL, without a CDL in the driver’s possession, or without the proper CDL classification or certifications
  • Refusing a breathalyzer test or operating any vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Fleeing the scene of an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle
  • Committing a felony while operating a motor vehicle, including any crime involving controlled substances

These are just a few of the types of disqualifying circumstances that could prevent you from obtaining your CDL. In addition to these motor vehicle-related instances, you could also be disqualified if you are found in commission of certain felonies. These include:

  • Arson
  • Acts of treason
  • Kidnapping
  • The intent to murder while committing assault
  • Engaging in bribery or extortion
  • The commission of first or second-degree manslaughter involving a motor vehicle
  • Having an open warrant for arrest related to a felony charge

These disqualifications are just a few of the many that could prevent you from obtaining your CDL. It is always recommended to stay away from activities that could put you at risk of losing your chance to hold a CDL. For employers, hiring someone with a criminal background or extensive motor vehicle violation history could be costly, as well as the risks associated with such behaviors and possible insurance premiums.


Q: What Prevents You From Getting a CDL in California?

A: There are a number of circumstances that could prevent you from getting a CDL in California. For criminal convictions that involve a motor vehicle and are considered felonies, you may find difficulty in obtaining your CDL. If you receive multiple DUI convictions, you will likely be disqualified from getting your CDL. Other felony convictions could also limit your ability to operate commercial vehicles.

Q: How Do I Regain a CDL After Suspension in California?

A: In order to regain your CDL after a suspension, you must first ensure that you have met all of the court-ordered obligations. This could include any fees, classes, or other penalties. This will be completed while waiting for the suspension period to pass. You will then need to pay the reinstatement fees to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Q: Can a Felon Get a CDL License in California?

A: Yes, a felon can still obtain a CDL in California. The circumstances of the criminal conviction will play a role in whether you qualify or not. If the felony involves the use of a motor vehicle while in the commission of the felony, you will likely be disqualified. However, other felonies may still afford you the opportunity to gain a CDL for employment. The employer seeking to hire you will evaluate your criminal background once you obtain your CDL.

Q: Can I Get My CDL if I Have a DUI in California?

A: You can still get your CDL if you have a DUI in California. However, the circumstances of your DUI, as well as the number of previous DUIs you have been convicted of, play a role in how long your CDL may be suspended or when you could qualify to regain your CDL. For most DUI convictions, the period of suspension is one year. For subsequent DUI convictions, that term could last indefinitely.

West Covina CDL DUI Defense Lawyer

If you are convicted of a crime, you may worry about the limitations placed on you for employment once you have met the terms of your penalty. Obtaining a CDL can be a great step in the right direction. Unfortunately, you may not qualify. Before you rule out the possibility, you should speak to a lawyer who can help evaluate your circumstances. Contact The Law Ofice of Daniel P. Flores today and let us help get you the answers you need.

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