CDL Suspensions & Hardship Licenses

In 1990, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted G.L. c. 90F § 9 which implemented CDL suspensions and penalties set forth in 49 C.F.R. § 383, which contains standards established by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Under these standards a 1st offense DUI or breathalzyer refusal will result in a 1 year a commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspension and disqualification. A 2nd offense DUI or chemical test refusal will result in a lifetime CDL loss of license. Operating a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .04 or above will result in a 1 year a commercial driver’s license suspension, even if there is no corresponding OUI charge or conviction.

Because of federal anti-masking provisions, a continuance without a finding (CWOF) counts just like a conviction, when it comes to a commercial driver’s license suspensions, disqualifications, and reinstatements.

Unfortunately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration prohibits states from grating hardship licenses to override CDL suspensions. Therefore, if you have a CDL, you may be able to receive a Class D Hardship License which would allow you operate a passenger car. However, neither the Registry nor the Board of Appeal can issue you a hardship license that would allow you to operate a Commercial Motor Vehicle.

There is some question over whether operating under the influence incidents which occurred prior to June 14, 1994 should be counted against a driver. This is because the federal regulations regarding CDL suspensions for DUI events became effective on June 14, 1994. Contact a lawyer for more information.

If you have an ignition interlock device “Z” restriction, the Massachusetts Registry will not allow you to hold a CDL. This is because you cannot have an ignition interlock device (IID) in a commercial motor vehicle. The same rule and restriction pertains to Massachusetts motorcycle licenses.