Can you get a commercial driver’s license with a DUI in California?

Posted on February 8, 2022 by John

California is one of the strictest states when it comes to the consequences of DUI’s, including getting a commercial driver’s license. Two DUI’s results in a lifetime ban on applying for a CDL. There is no way around it. One DUI on your record will not necessarily prevent you from getting a CDL.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates the licensing requirements for professional truck drivers. Once you get your CDL, getting a job that requires a CDL license can depend largely on your past driving record. If you have a DUI on your driving record, it will not prevent you from getting a CDL, but may prevent you from getting the job you want. Many companies comb DMV records for infractions.

Take a Driving Course

While you may be able to apply for a CDL, the charge on your record may give some employers pause when it comes to hiring you. Most attorneys advise attendance at driving school to reduce the consequences of a DUI. It will also signal to employers that your DUI was a one-time mistake and that you are serious about not letting it happen again.

Felony or Misdemeanor — Does it Matter?

  • Most DUI arrests in California result in misdemeanor charges.
  • Felony DUI is a serious crime that normally involves personal injury. It comes with heavy fines and jail time.  
  • In California, 3 misdemeanor DUI charges in ten years translates into a felony.
  • If you do have a felony or more serious criminal conviction on your license, depending on the severity, you may be prohibited from holding a CDL.
  • If you have a misdemeanor conviction and your license is on hold, you can apply for a CDL 30 days after your Order of Suspension has been lifted, provided you submit to a BAC (breathalyzer) test.

It should be obvious by now that there is no simple yes or no to the question, “Can I apply for a CDL with a DUI?” A lot depends on the details of the charge, the seriousness, and how many DUI’s you have on your record. With a good attorney, charges can be dropped or reduced. That can make a world of difference to potential employers. While your DUI may not technically prevent you from applying for a CDL, it does come with other consequences that undoubtedly make getting a CDL more complicated.

Charged with a DUI?

Don’t take it lying down. Let The Law Offices of David Leicht fight for you. If you live in Barstow, San Bernardino County, or Mojave, call us now @ 760-256-3104 for a free case evaluation.

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