Beer and Big Rigs: Effects of a DUI on Your CDL

January 14, 2017

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

A driver’s license is important to everyone that holds one. But when you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), that importance rises significantly. It not only gives you the ability to get to and from work, but it is also gives you the ability to work. There are various classifications of commercial vehicles for which a CDL must be possessed; and additional testing must be completed before a CDL will be issued by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This post does not address the requirements for obtaining a CDL, but additional information on doing so can be found at

Because of the special nature of CDL licenses and commercial vehicles themselves, CDL drivers are held to higher standards than non-CDL drivers and may face additional penalties due to their status as a CDL driver. Specifically, if a CDL driver operates a commercial vehicle while intoxicated, his penalty will differ from that of a non-CDL driver. In addition to standard penalties for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OVWI), Indiana Code provides that a CDL holder may be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle for a period of one year if they operate a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .04 or greater or if they refuse to submit to a chemical test. This period of disqualification rises to three (3) years if these things occur while driving a commercial vehicle that is hauling hazardous materials. Additionally, while a standard license holder may seek Specialized Driving Privileges (commonly known as a hardship license) during a period of suspension for OVWI, a CDL driver is prohibited from doing so. Because of this, it is imperative that you understand the consequences of driving while intoxicated with a CDL and speak with a skilled Indiana traffic law attorney.

Contact us today if you have questions or believe your constitutional or criminal rights have been violated. We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to their individualized case. Act now and contact us today at 1-800-NOT-GUILTY or (317) 857-0160.