How a DUI impacts CDL holders


Receiving a citation for DUI is a serious legal matter for all motorists in California, but it can be even more detrimental for some classifications of drivers. In particular, commercial truck drivers are held to the strictest standards and receive the most penalties when convicted. For commercial drivers, a DUI conviction can have an impact far beyond the financial penalties that may result. The blood alcohol concentration limit for CDL holders is .04 for conviction if driving a big rig when being stopped, which is half of the level required for conviction of standard adult drivers. And even receiving a citation when off duty can be problematic as well.


The first on the list of DUI consequences is the subsequent driver’s license suspension. Not only do convicted defendants lose their standard driving privileges, but the CDL is suspended also for a period of time. This could mean employment termination unless the employer allows for transfer to a non-driving position until the suspension is served.

Fines and service fees

In addition to any driving privilege suspension, CDL holders are fined between $600 and $1000 for the conviction. And even though commercial truck drivers are considered the most professional drivers on the road, they can still be ordered to complete an alcoholic drivers education program as directed by the court. Those convicted twice of DUI will be barred from further employment as a commercial driver as a subsequent DUI penalty along with other measures.

Of course, even the first DUI conviction brings additional problems such as increased insurance rates and potential probation in certain cases of high BAC or aggravated DUI charges. DUI charges stemming from accidents also could result in the driver being sued for negligence in a civil proceeding if others were harmed.

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