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Feldman & Royle, Attorneys at Law


For most people getting a DUI or DWI can be devastating. But for those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a DUI is even more destructive. Because a CDL is how commercial drivers earn a living, a CDL DUI can mean losing your livelihood. However, before you think all is lost, see what an experienced DCL DUI attorney can do for you.

CDL DUI Laws Explained

Under Arizona law, DUIs are harshly penalized, even for those that do not have a CDL. However, when you have a CDL the DUI laws that pertain to ordinary people apply to you, plus additional penalties. Furthermore, the implications that a DUI has on a CDL are on top of the restrictions that a DUI has on a tradition driving privilege.

1. CDL DUI in Commercial Vehicle

In Arizona, the law differentiates between being cited while driving a commercial vehicle and driving a personal vehicle. The legal limit for those driving a non-commercial vehicle is .08. However, when someone is operating a commercial vehicle as defined by ARS 28-1381A4 the legal limit becomes .04. Nevertheless, both DUI variations can impact a driver’s CDL.

2. CDL DUI in Personal Vehicle

If a CDL holder is driving a personal or then the CDL DUI limit in personal vehicle is the same as someone who doesn’t have a CDL (.08). However, it’s important to remember that just because a CDL holder is in a personal vehicle does not mean that a DUI conviction won’t subject them to a CDL revocation. If convicted, the driver will be subject to the consequences of a regular DUI and extreme DUI. In addition to punishments for the underlying DUI, a CDL holder can expect CDL implications even if the CDL DUI is in a personal vehicle.

DUI Penalties for CDL Holder

The penalties of a first time DUI for a CDL holder are similar to those who have a traditional driver’s license. If convicted of a DUI, you can expect:

CDL Disqualification

In addition to other penalties a CDL holder or instructor will have their CDL

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CDL DUI Employer Reporting Requirements

Pursuant to mandates set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a CDL holder is required to notify their employer within 30 days of a convicted for a DUI. This requirement pertains to driver’s regardless of whether they were cited for DUI while they were in a personal or commercial vehicle. Therefore, a CDL holder must report a DUI conviction, even if the motor vehicle hearing is still pending.

Furthermore, a CDL holder must notify their employer if they receive notification that their CDL has been revoked, suspended, withdrawn or disqualified. Notification to the employer must be made before the end of the business day following the day the driver received it. Therefore, a CDL holder must the notice of suspension, even if the CDL DUI is still pending in the criminal courts.

To summarize the reporting requirements of a CDL DUI to an employer, the CDL holder must report:

A notice of withdrawal, revocation, suspension or disqualification must be reported before the end of the business on the day after receiving the notice.

A conviction within 30 days

For clarification of these rules or before notifying your employer it is advisable to discuss the particulars of your case with a knowledgeable CDL DUI lawyer. Revealing too much or too little to your employer may have disastrous results as you are required to maintain and deliver employment records for a 10-year period. Consulting with an attorney before disclosing information to your employer, the court or a prosecutor will ensure that nothing more than is absolutely necessary is recorded in your employment and motor vehicle history.

CDL DUI Defenses

A CDL DUI or CDL DWI has the same defenses available as those who have been charges with regular or extreme DUI in Arizona. The difference is simply that a conviction for CDL DUI has an additional consequence of CDL revocation which will normally have employment consequences. In order to avoid these ramifications, it is important that a cdl dui lawyer evaluate and develop the strongest defenses possible. Examples of the ways in which an attorney might challenge the State’s case include:

Attacking the accuracy and administration of roadside tests

Determining if the person was lawfully pulled over

Reviewing the probable cause used to effectuate arrest

Evaluating whether vehicle meets the statutory requirements for a commercial vehicle

Assessing the reliability of the testing device used to obtain a BAC

Examining whether the State can prove the person actually drove

Challenging the accuracy of the breath or blood result

Reviewing Constitutional challenges such as Miranda Violations, to Right to Counsel Violations and Abuses of Due Process.

CDL DUI Lawyers

When the way you earn a living and provide for a family is at stake, ensuring that a skilled cdl dui attorney develops a winning defense strategy is of the upmost importance. At Feldman & Royle, we have devised carefully thought-out defenses after years of evaluating cases and defending CDL holders charged with various types of DUIs throughout Arizona. For a free and confidential consultation, call us day or night.

CDL DUI lawyers

CDL DUI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Does DUI Affect my CDL License?

Absolutely. In fact, even simply being charged (not convicted) of a DUI can result in the revocation of a person’s CDL.

How long do you have to wait to get a CDL after a DUI?

The answer depends on if the individual had a CDL at the time of the DUI. If you are convicted of a DUI and then apply for a CDL there is no mandatory waiting period. If, however, you had a CDL at the time of your DUI, you must wait a minimum of one year before applying.

The Arizona CDL DUI laws mandate the BAC limit to operate a commercial vehicle after drinking is .04. However, if the CDL holder is operating a personal vehicle (non-commercial), the limit remains .08.

The legal limit is .08 provided the operator is driving a personal vehicle and not a commercial vehicle as defined by ARS

How long will I lose my CDL for a DUI?

If you are convicted of a DUI, a CDL holder will have their CDL revoked for a period of no less than one year. However, after the one-year period has lapsed, you can reapply for a CDL provided certain requirements have been met.

Can you get a cdl with a DUI?

Yes. As long as you have completed your required driving restrictions, you may apply for a CDL. That said, finding an employer willing to hire a driver after a DUI conviction can be difficult as insurance costs are typically higher. Certainly, the further in time you are applying from the conviction, the better. To increase your chances of being hired after a DUI conviction, we suggest having you conviction set aside.

Can you get a CDL after 2 DUIs?

A second DUI conviction will result a lifetime disqualification of the person’s CDL. However, lifetime means that technically the person can reapply after 10 years.

Do you still have to notify your employer if your CDL DUI is under appeal?

Yes. Appealing your conviction does not alleviate you from your requirement to report the conviction to an employer within 30 days of the conviction.

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