Holders of Commercial Driver’s Licenses can face serious penalties for refusing a breath test or being convicted of DUI in Massachusetts and elsewhere. For example, a first offense DUI or chemical test refusal will result in an automatic 1 year CDL suspension. A second offense DUI or breathalyzer refusal will result in a lifetime CDL revocation. Pursuant to 49 CFR 383.51, it does not matter whether you were driving a CDL vehicle at the time of the incident or not. This means that the Registry is required to count drunk driving offenses committed in private passenger vehicles against your CDL.
Unfortunately for truck drivers and other CDL holders, 49 CFR §384.210 prevents states from issuing commercial special licenses or permits, which include hardship, limited, work, restricted, or conditional driver’s licenses or permits, which allow a person to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) when the person’s Class D passenger car license has been suspended, revoked, or cancelled. This means that the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will not issue you a “hardship CDL” under any circumstances and it is highly unlikely that the Board of Appeal will grant such a license.
In some select cases, I have been able to convince the Board of Appeal to grant some CDL drivers full reinstatements of their driving privileges, instead of the traditional 12 hour hardship licenses, so that they can get back on the road and support their families.
Finally, when a CDL holder gets his or her license reinstated after serving a suspension, the Registry often requires the driver to re-test and rebuild his or her commercial driver’s license. This can be time consuming and hugely expensive. The cost for a CDL sometimes exceeds $10,000.00. Fortunately, in some cases, I have been able to obtain full CDL license reinstatements without the driver having to re-test. This saves the client thousands of dollars.
If you are dealing with a CDL suspension or disqualification, feel free to contact me for a free consultation and review of your situation.