Who Needs A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
Have you ever thought about being a truck driver? If you have, you have probably wondered what is required to obtain your commercial driver’s license. In North Dakota, an individual may not drive a commercial motor vehicle on the highways of this state unless the individual holds and is in immediate possession of a commercial driver’s license with applicable endorsements valid for the vehicle the individual is driving. However, a CDL is not required in some situations such as when the vehicle being driven is a house car, the vehicle is towing a travel trailer, the vehicle is being driven for military purposes, or the vehicle being driven is a covered farm vehicle. There are several requirements for an individual to obtain their CDL in North Dakota. You must be: 1) Of legal age and a resident of the state; 2) capable of reading, writing, and speaking English; 3) Meet the Federal Medical Requirements; 4) apply in person, pass the knowledge test(s) for the CDL Class, and purchase a Commercial Learner’s Permit; and 5) pass a road test in a commercial vehicle.
What Is The Legal Limit For Someone With Their CDL’s?
I am often asked what the legal blood alcohol concentration is for an individual with their CDL. The answer to that question is, it depends. It is a fairly common misconception that individuals with their CDL must have a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or less to operate ANY motor vehicle. Although that may be correct if the operator is driving a commercial vehicle, it is not the case if the operator is driving a non-commercial vehicle but holds a CDL. Under N.D.C.C. § 39-06.2-01, any person who drives or is in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle may not have a blood alcohol concentration above a .04. However, if the operator has a CDL but is driving a noncommercial vehicle, the driver’s blood alcohol concentration cannot exceed a .08. Therefore, an operator who has a CDL is subject to different blood alcohol levels based on the type of vehicle they are driving.
What Happens If I Am Charged With A DUI And I Have My CDL?
In North Dakota, if you are charged with a DUI you have ten days from the date of your temporary operator’s permit to request an administrative hearing to determine if your license will be suspended. At this hearing, a hearing officer will determine whether to suspend your driver’s license and your commercial driver’s license. The hearing officer will first determine whether to suspend your non-commercial driver’s license. If the hearing officer concludes that you were driving under the influence, they may suspend your non-commercial driver’s license for a specified period. For example, if this is your first DUI offense and your BAC was below a .18, the hearing officer can suspend your license for 91 days. Another example is if this is your first DUI offense and your BAC was above a .18, the hearing officer can suspend your license for 180 days. Ultimately, your non-commercial driver’s license suspension is governed by N.D.C.C. § 39-20-04 and § 39-20-04.1 and depends upon the number of DUI’s you have, your BAC, and/or whether you refused a chemical test.
After determining whether to suspend your non-commercial driver’s license, the hearing officer will determine whether to disqualify your CDL. The hearing officer’s decision to disqualify your CDL is governed by N.D.C.C. § 39-06.2-10. If the hearing officer finds that you were driving under the influence of alcohol, or that you refused to submit to a test to determine your BAC, your CDL will be disqualified. If this is your first DUI offense, your CDL will be disqualified for a period of not less than one year. However, it is important to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney when dealing with a CDL disqualification because there are certain situations where your CDL may be suspended for longer than one year. An example is if you are carrying hazardous waste when you get your DUI, which will result in a disqualification of not less than three years. Although your first offense may result in a one to three-year disqualification, if you are charged with a second or subsequent offense, your CDL will be disqualified for life.
Determining Whether You Have A Subsequent Offense
So, what happens if you get a second DUI but your first DUI conviction was from many years prior? Under N.D.C.C. § 39-06.2-10(3) only offenses committed while operating a commercial motor vehicle after July 1, 1989, maybe considered in applying a lifetime CDL disqualification. Further, only offenses committed while operating a noncommercial motor vehicle after August 1, 2003, maybe considered when determining if a lifetime disqualification is warranted. For example, if you got a DUI in a commercial vehicle in 1985 and got a second subsequent DUI charge in 2018, your CDL would be revoked for one year instead of for life. Many people make their living through their CDL’s so it is imperative to contact a criminal defense attorney when dealing with these allegations.
Can I Get My CDL Back If I Am Convicted Of A DUI?
The answer is likely yes if this is your first DUI. If this is your first offense, you will be eligible to have your CDL reinstated after you have served the appropriate disqualification period. If this is a second or subsequent offense, you will not be eligible to get your CDL reinstated. The reinstatement process for your CDL varies depending on many different factors. Generally, if you are convicted of DUI and your CDL is disqualified for one year after the year disqualification has expired, you can reinstate your CDL by paying a $100 reinstatement fee, getting a chemical dependency evaluation, and completing an SR-22. On the other hand, if you are convicted of DUI refusal, the process is more strenuous and may include repassing your CDL test, a $100 reinstatement fee, a chemical dependency evaluation, and completing an SR-22. Because each situation is different, it is important to contact a reputable criminal defense attorney to help guide you in getting your CDL reinstated.
Charges that can potentially disqualify your CDL are complex, and seeking legal representation may be in your best interest. If you have a criminal issue in North Dakota, please do not hesitate to call our Criminal Defense Team at SW&L Attorneys in Fargo at 701-297-2890. This article is only meant to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice.