Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) & DUI

The United States government enacted the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act in 1999. Subsequently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was created as another administration within the United States Department of Transportation. The FMCSA’s mission is to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities involving trucks and buses. The aggressive Federal approach encouraged state adoption of the new law by reducing highway funding for non-compliant states. One provision takes aim at the CDL DUI or the DUI committed by a CDL holder while driving their personal vehicle.

The State of Washington revised their Commercial Driver’s License laws aligning them with the strict Federal statutes.

CDL Grounds for Disqualification

Disqualification of the CDL endorsement is regulated by RCW 46.25.090. A mandatory one year revocation will be imposed when the Department of Licensing receives notice that a CDL holder has committed one of the following violations, regardless of jurisdiction:

Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs
Hit and Run
Refusing to submit to a breath or blood test to determine the presence of drugs or an alcohol concentration

There are many other events listed that will trigger a suspension of the CDL endorsement. If there is evidence of more than one violation the Department of Licensing is directed to follow sub-section 2 of the statute:

(2) A person is disqualified for life if it has been determined that the person has committed or has been convicted of two or more violations of any of the offenses specified in subsection (1) of this section, or any combination of those offenses, arising from two or more separate incidents.

Some people INCORRECTLY believe these violations must occur while the CDL holder is actually operating a commercial vehicle. These violations will trigger a disqualification even when a CDL holder is operating their personal vehicle on their personal time. If you have a CDL do not drink and drive. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing the CDL privilege. Further, a CDL holder must seek the assistance of experienced legal counsel if they commit any of the violations listed in RCW 46.25.090. Especially, if you are arrest for a CDL DUI. Contact us to be represented by aggressive and experienced Washington DUI Attorneys. We provide a free initial consultation.