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Commercial Driver License (CDL) Suspension in Minnesota
The Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) of the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) can disqualify (or suspend) your commercial driver’s license (CDL) for reasons such a:
- Leaving the scene of an accident.
- Committing a felony with a commercial vehicle.
- Committing serious traffic violations.
You cannot operate a commercial vehicle with a suspended commercial driver’s license.
Read on for more information on CDL suspension, disqualification, CDL reinstatement, and how to drive in the meantime.
The following offenses can lead to CDL disqualification. See below for the types of offenses and related penalties.
NOTE: You are required to notify your employer within 30 days of any traffic conviction.
According to state and federal laws, major offenses that warrant CDL suspension include:
- Alcohol- and drug-related offenses, such as:
- Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04%.
- Refusing a breath or blood test (violating implied consent laws).
- Leaving an accident scene.
- Using a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) to commit a felony.
- Includes the manufacturing and distributing of a controlled substance.
- Negligent CMV operation causing a death.
- Operating a commercial vehicle while you have a disqualified, suspended, or revoked commercial driver’s license.*
Whether operating a CMV or non-CMV, major offenses bring the following penalties:
- 1st violation: CDL disqualification for 1 year.
- 3 years if transporting hazardous materials.
- 2nd violation: CDL disqualification for life.
- Might be eligible for CDL reinstatement after 10 years.
* If you drive without a valid CDL, you may be subject to a $5,000 fine and even jail time imposed by the court. Employers who allow or require drivers to drive a CMV without a valid CDL may also face these same consequences.
Serious Traffic Violations
Serious traffic violations include:
- Reckless driving or excessive speeding.
- Improper lane changes.
- Driving too closely behind other vehicles.
- Violating any motor vehicle traffic control law that results in a fatal accident.
- Operating a commercial vehicle without a CDL or the proper endorsements.
You will serve the following disqualifications consecutively:
- 1st violation: No disqualification.
- 2nd violation within 3 years: CDL disqualification for 60 days.
- 3rd violation or any subsequent violations within 3 years: CDL disqualification for 120 days.
Serious violations committed while driving in a non-commercial vehicle are not included UNLESS the violation leads to the suspension, revocation, or cancellation of your MN driver’s license or regular non-commercial driving privileges.
Railroad Highway Grade Crossing violations, or RRHGC, refer to offenses that involve the improper crossing of a railroad in a commercial motor vehicle.
Examples of such violations include:
- Failing to slow and ensure the tracks are clear.
- Failing to stop when required.
- Driving across the tracks when not enough space is available for the vehicle.
RRHGC violations will result in CDL disqualification for varying lengths of time, depending on how many offenses you’ve had:
- 1st violation: Minimum of 60 days.
- 2nd violation within 3 years: Minimum of 120 days.
- 3rd violation or subsequent violations within 3 years: At least 1 year.
OOSO violations are Out-of-Service Orders violations, and they are broken down by category: Category 1 and Category 2 offenses.
Category 1 includes violations related to hazardous materials and vehicles designed to transport at least 16 passengers. The length of time your CDL is disqualified will be based on the number of offense:
- 1st violation: Between 180 days and 2 years.
- 2nd violation or any subsequent violations within 10 years: Between 3 years and 5 years.
Category 2 includes violations by drivers NOT in Category 1. The amount of time your MN commercial driver’s license will be disqualified is determined by the number of offense:
- 1st violation: Between 180 days and 1 year.
- 2nd violation within 10 years: 2-5 years.
- 3rd violation or any subsequent violations: 3-5 years.
OOSO violations can lead to civil financial penalties:
- 1st violation: $2,500 fine.
- 2nd violation: $5,000 fine.
For more detailed information on CDL penalties, you can refer to:
Check Your MN Driver License Status
Want to know more about your driver’s license and CDL status? Your MN driving record will tell you whether your CDL is valid, or if you have a suspended or revoked commercial driver’s license, which can help you whenever:
- You need to know how to reinstate your driving privileges.
- You need to apply for car insurance quotes.
- Someone else orders a copy of your driving record, such as a potential employer or background investigator.
Your Minnesota commercial driver’s license can be suspended by the DPS for 1 year if you refuse an alcohol or drug test or are convicted of DWI while operating any type of motor vehicle. This means that your CDL can be suspended, even if you get a DUI while operating your personal vehicle.
If you’re transporting hazardous materials at the time of your DWI offense, your CDL will get disqualified for 3 years.
Subsequent violations result in CDL disqualification for life.
Operating Your Passenger Vehicle
If you’re arrested for DWI in a passenger vehicle, you’re not eligible for a CDL Class A, B, or C work permit during your disqualification period.
For more on DUI and DWI in Minnesota, please visit our MN DUI/DWI page.
For commercial driver license reinstatement in Minnesota:
- Your suspension/disqualification period must be complete.
- You must pay your reinstatement fee.
- Check your CDL disqualification or suspension paperwork for information about reinstatement fees. Your fees might vary depending on the number and type(s) of offenses.
- You must complete any other reinstatement requirements.
- You must return your Class D license to the DVS.
- The DVS requires you obtain a regular passenger license (Class D) for the duration of your CDL disqualification. See “Obtaining a Regular Class D License” below.
- You must receive your reinstatement notice from the commissioner.
Lifetime Disqualification Reduction
You might be eligible for a lifetime disqualification reduction to a minimum of 10 years if you demonstrated rehabilitated driving habits within 10 years following your disqualification effective date.
For these purposes, “rehabilitated” means you don’t get any more convictions or revocations while operating any type of vehicle.
You are not eligible for a lifetime disqualification reduction if you commit more disqualifying offenses.
Even if your CDL is suspended, you’re eligible for a Class D license, as long as it’s also not otherwise suspended, revoked, or cancelled.
The MN DVS will mail you a paper Class D license for free. If you want an actual license card, you can apply for a duplicated license at your local DMV office. When applying for a duplicate license, you must obtain a receipt and hang on to it until you receive your card in the mail.
You can only get a card IF you have at least 90 days remaining on your disqualification.