Can I get a CDL license if I have a DUI?

Can I get a CDL if I have a DUI?

Being convicted of Driving Under the Influence, or better known as a DUI, is a major disruption for every area of your life. Primarliy, due to the fact that you may be unable to drive as your license has been suspended. Sometimes, this means you can get a Commercial Driver's License, or a CDL, which could enable you to continue working and sustain your financial responsibilities. In this article we will unpack what it looks like to apply for a Commercial Driver's License with a DUI, and how that process may (or may not) impact your daily routine.

Can I apply right away for a CDL?

Once you have been charged with a DUI, you will find that there are many negative consequences to unpack in your life as you try and find a new normal. Some of these consequences are:

  • suspended license
  • limited employment options
  • extreme court costs and fines
  • secured living accomodations
  • financial security
  • medical coverage

Many of these challenges can be avoided if you are able to retain your ability to drive, or successfully get to work. Your employer will also have their own criteria for you to meet in order to retain your employment, so it will be wise for you to seek out their policy on DUI and whether you will need to have a CDL to ensure your continued employment. If your job requires you to drive to maintain your employment then there are certain to be specific guidelines and requirements, as welll as a time frame of notification. Be sure to know and understand what that looks like. As for your CDL, you will be able to immediately apply for one, as long as your licenses is not suspended. However, if you do have a suspended license you will be required by law to wait until such time as it is no longer under suspension. This delay is what could send the above mentioned into a downward spiral.

Is there anything else I need to be aware of?

Not only is getting a CDL after a DUI important, but you will need to also see if you can secure employment with a job that requires a CDL after you have been convicted of Driving Under the Influence. One of the primary reasons is because these employers who require CDL's also are required to carry specific insurance. If you have a DUI/DWI then chances are they are going to be taking a greater risk of employing you, and all the additional financial costs of insuring you, for the job they are hiring you to do. Some may not be inclined to extend you their trust, even if you are successful at retaining a Commercial Driver's License. Insurance companies have rules that their commercial customers must follow when hiring CDL drivers, and many will not insure CDL drivers for a company if they have had a DUI/DWI within the past three years (or sometimes even longer). In addition, you would be wise to note that the legal limit for BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is lower than a regular driver's license. 


If you are seriously seeking to obtain a CDL, then it is in your best interest to do every single thing in your power to aviod being convicted of a DUI/DWI and hire an experienced and professional lawyer. One who is well versed in DUI law and is capable of not only helping you understand your specific circumstance, but equally your options within the State lines you reside in and are applying within. They will be your best asset in successfully navigating your particular and unique process, as well as having endless resources at their disposal in assisting you with the most favorable outcome possible.

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