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    Commercial Driver License (CDL) Suspensions in Wisconsin

    The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles uses federal guidelines to influence their own standards for commercial drivers.

    As well as offenses that might get your basic driver’s license suspended in Wisconsin, your CDL status can be disqualified for violating much more stringent laws.

    Read more to learn about CDL suspensions, reinstatement, and fees in WI.

    About Your Wisconsin Suspended CDL

    Violations leading to CDL suspensions are broken down into the following categories:

    • Major offenses.
    • Serious offenses.
    • Railroad crossing violations.
    • Out-of-service offenses.

    NOTE: You are legally required to give notification to your employer within 30 days of any conviction for a traffic violation (unless it is a parking violation). This applies whether you were in a CMV or non-CMV.

    Also, you must tell your employer within 2 business days if your license was suspended, revoked, or canceled, or your driving privileges have been disqualified.

    Major Offenses

    Unless otherwise noted, convictions of the following offenses will result in CDL disqualification, whether the offense took place while operating a commercial vehicle or non-CMV:

    • OWI (or DUI).
      • The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration in a CMV is .04%.
      • Refusal to test for BAC will result in disqualification.
      • You will be disqualified, regardless of a court conviction for the above.
    • Involvement in an accident resulting in death due to negligent operation.
    • Fleeing the scene of an accident.
    • Causing a fatality during the operation of a CMV.
    • Committing a felony using your CMV.
      • Using your CMV to transport controlled substances results in an automatic, lifetime disqualification.
    • Driving a CMV when your CDL is not valid (e.g. suspended, revoked, disqualified).
      • Driving without a valid CDL can lead to hefty fines and even jail time, for both drivers and employers who let their staff drive without valid CDLs.

    For most of these offenses your CDL will be disqualified for the following time periods:

    • 1 year upon your 1st violation.
      • 3 years if you are transporting hazardous materials.
    • Lifetime disqualification upon your 2nd violation.

    Serious Violations

    The following serious violations will lead to CDL disqualifications:

    • Excessive speeding (15 mph over the limit).
    • Reckless driving.
    • Illegal passing.
    • Improper or erratic lane changing.
    • Following too closely.
    • Violation of state or local traffic law that results in a fatal accident.
    • Driving a CMV without having obtained a CDL, or without one on you.
    • Driving a CMV that doesn’t have the appropriate endorsements.

    You face the following disqualification terms for serious offenses accumulated within 3 years:

    • 60 days upon your 2nd offense.
    • 120 days upon your 3rd offense.

    Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing

    Railroad crossing violations include failure to:

    • Slow and confirm the railroad tracks are clear.
    • Stop when the tracks aren’t clear.
    • Stop before driving onto a crossing.
    • Obey a traffic control device or officer.
    • Ensure undercarriage clearance before crossing.

    You face the following CDL disqualification penalties for RRHGC violations:

    • 1st violation: Minimum 60 days.
    • 2nd violation within 3 years: Minimum 120 days.
    • 3rd violation and any additional violations within 3 years: 1 year.

    Out-of-Service Order Offenses

    Violating an out-of-service order will disqualify your CDL. Note that if you were transporting a HAZ MAT (hazardous material) or you were carrying over 16 people, you’ll face increased penalties:

    • 90 days upon your 1st offense.
      • 180 days if transporting hazardous materials OR 16 passengers or more.
    • 2 years upon your 2nd offense in 10 years.
      • 3 years of transporting hazardous materials.
    • 3 years upon your 3rd offense in 10 years.

    The WI DOT provides a detailed list of CDL disqualifications and their related penalties.

    For more information on CDLs laws and standards, see the Wisconsin CDL manual.

    OWI and Alcohol-Related Suspensions

    Driving under the influence of alcohol will result in the suspension of ALL your driving privileges including your Wisconsin CDL, no matter what type of vehicle you are driving.

    Additionally, commercial drivers must adhere to stricter rules when if comes to driving a commercial vehicle. Your WI CDL will be disqualified if you:

    • Test for blood-alcohol concentration over the CDL legal limit, regardless of whether you were convicted in a criminal court.
    • Refuse to test for BAC.
    • Are criminally convicted for OWI.

    OWI Hearings

    OWI suspensions by the DMV that are not the result of a court conviction are subject to an administrative hearing.

    You will receive a notice in the mail with more information on your hearing rights.

    Reinstate Your WI Commercial License

    To reinstate your suspended WI CDL, you must meet requirements issued to you by the DMV and/or court.

    If you are unsure about your reinstatement requirements, the Wisconsin DMV offers an avenue for you to check your reinstatement eligibility and requirements online.

    CDL reinstatement may be subject to applying for a new Wisconsin CDL and taking any related driving tests.

    Fees for Suspended CDLs in WI

    When you reinstate your driver’s license, you will have to pay a reinstatement fee.

    Contact your local DMV for more information on fee costs.

    Accepted Payment Methods

    • In person: Cash or major credit card.
    • Online: Major credit card.
      • Expect to pay a convenience fee.

    Remember, reinstatement fees are in addition to any fines associated with your disqualifying offenses.

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