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Commercial Driver’s License Suspensions in California
In California, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administers commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspensions. In addition to any DMV fines and penalties you may receive for traffic violations, you are subject to court penalties as well if you are convicted of a crime.
If you’re looking for driver’s license suspension information that is not related to a CDL, please refer to our Suspended License in California page.
There are many reasons why your CDL can be suspended in California. The following infractions will result in your CDL being suspended for 1 year for your 1st offense:
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs/alcohol.
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) 0.04% or higher.
- Refusing to take a BAC test.
- Leaving the scene of a collision involving your CMV.
- Committing a felony with your CMV.
- Driving a commercial vehicle while your CDL is revoked/suspended.
- Negligent operation of a CMV, resulting in a fatality.
You can also receive suspensions for:
- 3 years or longer, if the offense occurs while you are operating a CMV carrying hazardous materials.
- Life, for subsequent offenses of anything mentioned above.
- Life, if you use a CMV to commit a felony involving any controlled substances.
For a complete list of reasons why your CDL can be disqualified, visit the California DMV website.
In addition to any California state laws, commercial drivers are also subject to federal regulations that are controlled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), including:
- CDL disqualifications and fines for violating out-of-service orders.
- Suspensions and disqualifications ranging from 60 days to life for violations and convictions, such as:
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol/drugs.
- Leaving the scene of an accident you are involved in.
- Excessive speeding and reckless driving.
- Violating railroad-highway grade crossing rules.
NOTE: You must notify your employer within 30 days of receiving a traffic conviction.
For more information on federal regulations and penalties, please visit the FMCSA website.
Check Your License Status
The California DMV keeps record of your driving history. Depending on your violation, you will receive a certain number of points on your driving record, which will remain for 36 months or longer.
If you accumulate too many points on your driving record, your commercial driver’s license can be suspended. For this reason, it’s important to keep track of your driving history and make sure all information is correct.
If your BAC level is 0.04% or higher while driving a commercial vehicle, or you refuse to submit to a BAC test in California, your CDL will be suspended for:
- 4 months for your 1st offense.
- 1 year for subsequent offenses within 10 years.
You will need to surrender your CA CDL, and you will receive an Order of Suspension/Revocation from your arresting officer. This will include a temporary driver’s license you can use for 30 days after your arrest.
NOTE: You may also receive additional penalties from the court, including suspensions and fines.
If you wish to contest your CDL suspension, you may be able to request a hearing with the CA DMV. See “Suspended CDL Hearings in California” below.
For more information regarding DUI-related offenses, check out our DUI & DWI in California page.
NOTE: Please refer to your Order of Suspension/Revocation to check whether you can request a hearing.
If your CDL was suspended by the CA DMV for driving under the influence (DUI), you can contest it within 10 days of receiving your Order of Suspension.
You will be charged with a DUI if you:
- Are caught driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher.
- You refuse to submit to a BAC test.
Contact your local California DMV office for more information or to request a hearing.
NOTE: CA DMV hearings do not affect suspensions and other penalties you receive from the court.
The requirements to reinstate your CA commercial driver license will differ depending on the reason for your suspension. Please refer to your Order of Suspension/Revocation for specific requirements.
You will generally need to wait out the entire suspension period and pay reissue fees to the California DMV to have your CDL reinstated. See “Fees to Reinstate Your California CDL” below.
You may be eligible for a restricted non-commercial driver’s license to use while your CDL is suspended. See “Restricted Commercial Driver’s License” below.
For more information on reinstating your suspended CDL, contact your local California DMV office.
If your CDL was suspended, you may be eligible for a restricted commercial license if:
- Your CDL has not previously been suspended.
- You driving a non-commercial vehicle when you received your CDL suspension.
Your restricted commercial driver’s license will allow you to drive to and from work. You can receive a restricted CDL 30 days after you receive your Order of Suspension and it will be valid for 6 months.
To apply for a restricted driver’s license or to determine your eligibility, contact the California DMV.
If your suspension was due to a DUI offense under the Admin Per Se (APS) program, you can apply for a restricted non-commercial driver’s license if:
- This is your only violation in the last 10 years.
- You submitted a BAC test.
- You were at least 21 years old when you received your suspension.
- Your CDL is not suspended for any other reason.
A restricted non-commercial driver’s license will allow you to drive to and from a DUI treatment program only. It will not allow you to drive a commercial vehicle.
To apply for a restricted non-commercial driver’s license, you must:
- Enroll in a DUI First Offender program.
- Have the program provider to file a Proof of Enrollment Certificate (DL 107) with the CA DMV.
- Submit proof of your financial responsibility to the CA DMV, such as:
- An SR22 from your insurance company.
- $35,000 cash deposit.
- Surety bond.
- Pay the $125 fee.
NOTE: You can only apply for a restricted license 30 days after receiving your suspension.
If the CA DMV approves your application for a restricted CA driver’s license, the restriction will only apply for 5 months, after which you will need to wait out the remainder of your suspension.
The fees to reinstate your California commercial driver’s license will differ, depending on your offense. The following are reissue fees that may apply to your CDL reinstatement:
- Reissue fee: $55.
- Remove a restriction: $20.
- Add a court restriction: $15.
- APS suspensions: $100.
- Drug-related suspensions: $24.
For specific reinstatement fees related to your suspension, contact the CA DMV.
In addition to any DMV fees, you will also be responsible for any court-sanctioned fines and penalties. If this situation applies to you, you may wish to seek proper legal representation.