CDL Drivers and DUI Convictions

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Posted in On June 16, 2019

For anyone, a DUI conviction has complications that spread far and wide.  Whether you lose your license for a period, to your insurance rates rising steeply, to criminal penalties, DUI’s have lasting impacts. Yet, those pail in comparison to punishments CDL holders receive from DUI’s.

For CDL drivers, their licenses mean more than anything. After all, without a license, they can’t drive — if they can’t drive, they can’t work — if they can’t work, they can’t earn a living. So, it goes without saying that any license suspension is devastating. However, the ramifications from a DUI go even further.

So, what are the consequences of a DUI for a CDL driver in Indiana? Let’s look at the most common questions asked by CDL holders after a charge of DUI is levied against them.

Must I be over a .08 to get in trouble?

  • Simply, no. According to IC 9-24-6.1-6, if you, as a CDL holder, are over .04, in the state of Indiana you can be charged with a DUI. That’s right… .04. While most people need to blow over a .08 to get in trouble, CDL drivers are held to a higher standard.

What are the penalty differences between DUI’s in my personal vs. commercial vehicles?

  • While many CDL holders believe that a DUI in their personal vehicle won’t impact their CDL license, they are mistaken. It does not matter what type of a vehicle you are in, a DUI conviction will suspend both your personal and CDL license statuses.

What about Hazardous materials CDL holders?

  • The penalties for hazardous waste CDL holders can be much harsher. On a first offense or refusal you can get a license suspension up to 3 years!

What are the license suspension ramifications for first time and subsequent DUI convictions?

  • On a first-time offense, a CDL holder will lose their license for one year
  • On a second-time offense, a CDL holder will lose their license for life with a possibility to reinstate at 10 years
  • On a third DUI or more, it’s a forfeiture for life with no reinstatement

Can I get a hardship license?

  • Unfortunately, no. Indiana specifically precludes CDL holders from receiving specialized driving privileges or hardship license — regardless of whether or not it is for a personal vehicle or CDL license.
  • In limited circumstances you may be able to relinquish your CDL to get the hardship license.

Can I get my license back early?

  • Once again, CDL holders cannot get a hardship license unless they relinquish their CDL license willingly at a BMV branch.
  • If you have lost your license for life, you can petition to get your license back after ten years with no other subsequent convictions for drugs or alcohol.

As anyone can see, the penalties are harsh for CDL drivers. The Indiana Legislature has determined that CDL holders need to be held to a higher, rightfully or wrongfully, given how often they are on the road and the tonnage of the loads they carry.

Should you or a loved one be faced with a DUI related charge and you have a CDL, call the trusted Indianapolis CDL Attorneys at Banks & Brower today. We are available 24/7/365 at or at 317-870-0019.