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CDL Disqualification for Major Offenses

When a criminal defense attorney represents a client who holds a CDL, the attorney must be aware of both state and federal laws that apply to the case. Many of the criminal laws in Florida impact CDL holders differently than non-CDL holders.

Courts often find this disparate treatment is warranted because commercal motor vehicles (CMVs) can potentially cause greater damage than non-commercial and smaller vehicles on the roadway.

This disparate treatment is particularly apparent after a conviction for a crime classified as a "major offense." In many of these cases, a skilled criminal defense attorney can fight for a reduction in the charge to a less serious offense or for a diversion program that will result in a dismissal of the charges so that no impact on the CDL occurs.


Attorney for CDL Holders Charged with a Major Offense in Florida

The criminal defense attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, represent the holders of a Commercial Driver's License charged with a variety of violations and crimes classified a "major offenses" including:

  • driving under the influence (DUI);
  • refusing to submit to DUI chemical testing;
  • leaving the scene of a crime (hit and run);
  • negligently causing a fatal accident; and
  • committing a felony using a vehicle.

If you were charged with a major offense in Florida as a CDL holder, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. In the vast majority of cases we take, the driver of the commercial motor vehicle is charged with a first offense and has no prior record.

We also represent clients who wish to protest a commercial vehicle citation before the Commercial Motor Vehicle Review Board.

Our attorneys understand the impact that this accusation can have on your criminal record. We also understand the best ways to fight the criminal case to avoid the potential consequences for your commercial driver's license and career as a commercial driver.

Call 813-250-0500.


DUI in a CMV or a Personal Vehicle

If a CDL holder operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of being under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by State law, then the following CDL disqualifications are required under state and federal law:

  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV:
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating non-CMV:
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F):
    • three years;
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a CMV:
    • lifetime.
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating anon- CMV:
    • lifetime.

Read more about the penalties that apply to a CDL holder convicted of DUI and the best ways to avoid those penalties.


DUI of a Controlled Substance

If a CDL holder operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of driving while being under the influence of a controlled substance in either a CMV or a personal vehicle, then the following CDL disqualifications are required under state and federal law:

  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV:
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a non-CMV: 
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F):
    • three years;
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a CMV:
    • lifetime.
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a non-CMV:
    • lifetime.

Operating a CMV with a BAC of .04 or Above

If a CDL holder operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of operating a CMV while having an alcohol concentration of .04 or greater, then the following CDL disqualifications are required under state and federal law:

  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV:
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F):
    • three years;
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a CMV:
    • lifetime.

Refusing the Take a DUI Chemical Test

If a CDL holder operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of refusing to take a lawfully requested alcohol test as required by Florida law under its implied consent laws (or regulations as defined in §383.72 of this part), then the following CDL disqualifications are required under state and federal law:

  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV:
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a non-CMV: 
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F):
    • three years;
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a CMV:
    • lifetime.
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a non-CMV:
    • lifetime.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident

If a CDL holder operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of leaving the scene of an accident (often called "hit and run"), then the following CDL disqualifications are required under state and federal law:

  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV:
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a non-CMV:
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F):
    • three years;
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a CMV:
    • lifetime.
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating anon- CMV:
    • lifetime.

Using a Vehicle to Commit a Felony

If a CDL holder operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of using the vehicle to commit a felony, then the following CDL disqualifications are required under state and federal law:

  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV:
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a non-CMV: 
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F):
    • three years;
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a CMV:
    • lifetime.
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating anon- CMV:
    • lifetime.

Driving a CMV after the CDL Privilege is Revoked, Suspended, Canceled or Disqualified

If a CDL holder operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of driving a CMV when, as a result of prior violations committed operating a CMV, the driver's CDL is revoked, suspended, or canceled, or the driver is disqualified from operating a CMV, then the following CDL disqualifications are required under state and federal law:

  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV:
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F):
    • three years;
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a CMV:
    • lifetime.

Causing a Fatality through the Negligent Operation of a CMV

If a CDL holder operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV, including but not limited to the crimes of motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle and negligent homicide, then the following CDL disqualifications are required under state and federal law:

  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV:
    • one year;
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F):
    • three years:
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a CMV:
    • lifetime.

Using a Vehicle in the Commission of a Felony Involving Controlled Substances

If a CDL holder operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of using the vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance, then the following CDL disqualifications are required under state and federal law:

  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV:
    • Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a non-CMV:
    • Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.
  • For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F):
    • Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating a CMV:
    • Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.
  • For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this article while operating anon- CMV:
    • Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, Setpember 4, 2018.

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