What Happens to My Commercial License After a DUI?


If you have a commercial drivers license (CDL) in Pennsylvania, a DUI conviction can jeopardize not only your career, but your livelihood. While the penalties for a driving under the influence conviction are harsh for any driver, they are enhanced for anyone holding a CDL, specifically when the DUI occurs while driving a commercial vehicle.

It is a common misconception that nothing can happen to a CDL if a DUI occurs in a personal vehicle on personal time. This is quite simply untrue. Understanding what can happen to your CDL license if you are convicted of a DUI can help you make the best choices. Here is what can happen to you and your license.

Lower BAC

In the state of Pennsylvania, the legal limit for BAC is .08. If you have a CDL and are driving a commercial vehicle when you are pulled over, the legal limit drops to .04. If you register any percentage between .04 and .159, you are considered to be in the second tier. This means that you will face mandatory incarceration, even if it is your first DUI.


The first time you are convicted of DUI, your CDL will be suspended for one year. If you are convicted a second time, you will lose your CDL for life. This means the effective end of your career as a commercial vehicle driver.

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)

This program is meant to reduce the length of a suspension for those convicted of DUI. It does not, however, reduce the suspension of a CDL. The only way that you can avoid a suspension of a CDL is to plead not guilty and be acquitted, have the charges amended, or have the charges dropped.

Future Employment

Competition for truck driving jobs is tough. Because company owners have multiple people to choose from, they typically avoid offering jobs to people who have been convicted of DUI. Drivers may think that the issue will clear up in a couple of years when the DUI drops from their record, but it won’t drop. Any potential employer in the foreseeable future will learn of the conviction.

Anyone holding a CDL who has been arrested and charged with DUI in Pennsylvania should seek the assistance of the most experienced DUI attorney they can find. Call Steven E. Kellis today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We have defended people in your same situation and we will offer you the best representation possible.