Commercial Driver’s Licenses

Commercial Driver’s Licenses

Florida DUI and Commercial Driver’s License Holders

What is a Florida Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)?
In Florida, a Commercial Driver License (CDL) is a Class A, Class B, or Class C driver license.

What Is A Considered A Commercial Vehicle In Florida?
In Florida, a commercial motor vehicle is any motor vehicle used on the streets or highways, which has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more; or, is designed to transport more than 15 persons, including the driver; or is transporting hazardous materials and is required to be placarded.

What Happens If A Florida CDL Holder Drives A Commercial Motor Vehicle With A Breath Or Blood Alcohol Level Greater Than 0 But Less Than .04?
A Florida CDL holder who has any alcohol in his or her body may not drive or be in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle. A CDL holder who has a breath or blood alcohol level greater than 0 but less than .04 is guilty of a civil traffic infraction.

What Happens If A Florida CDL Holder Drives A Commercial Motor Vehicle With A Blood Alcohol Level Greater Than .04?
If the DHSMV finds that a Florida CDL holder drove a commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol level greater than .04, the DHSMV will disqualify the person from holding a Florida CDL for one year. If the CDL holder was transporting hazardous materials, the disqualification is at least three years. The person is not eligible for a hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.  If the DHSMV finds that a Florida CDL holder has driven a commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .04 on more than one occasion, the DHSMV will disqualify the person from holding a Florida CDL for life.

What Happens If A Florida CDL Holder Driving A Commercial Vehicle Or A Non-Commercial Vehicle Is Arrested For DUI Or Refuses A Breath, Blood, Or Urine Test?
When a CDL holder is arrested for DUI, or when a CDL holder refuses a breath, blood, or urine test, Florida law allows a law enforcement officer to confiscate the person’s CDL and disqualify the person’s from re-obtaining a Florida CDL.  It does not matter if the CDL holder was driving a commercial vehicle or some other motor vehicle at the time of the arrest or refusal – the same disqualification applies.

After confiscating the person’s CDL, the law enforcement officer will issue the person a 10-day temporary permit so the person can drive a non-commercial vehicle for 10 days.  Within those 10 days, the driver may request a formal or informal review of the CDL disqualification.

If the person disqualified requests an Informal Review Hearing, a DHSMV Hearing Officer will examine the materials submitted by the law enforcement officer and any materials submitted by the person disqualified.  The presence of the law enforcement officer or other witness is not required.  After the Informal Review, within 21 days after the expiration of the person’s 10-day temporary permit, the DHSMV must notify the person whether the officer’s disqualification of the CDL has been sustained, amended, or invalidated.

If the person disqualified requests a Formal Review Hearing, a DHSMV Hearing Officer will schedule a hearing in which witnesses may testify and a defense attorney may appear on behalf of the person disqualified.  The defense attorney can subpoena witnesses and question them under oath at the hearing.  Within 7 working days after a Formal Review Hearing, the DHSMV must notify the person whether the officer’s disqualification of the CDL has been sustained, amended, or invalidated.

In a Formal Review Hearing or an Informal Review Hearing, the scope of the review is limited to the following issues:

If the person was disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level:

  1. Whether the law enforcement officer had probable cause to believe that the person was driving or in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle, or any motor vehicle if the driver holds a commercial driver license, while he or she had any alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances in his or her body.
  1. Whether the person had an unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.

If the person was disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test:

  1. Whether the law enforcement officer had probable cause to believe that the person was driving or in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle, or any motor vehicle if the driver holds a commercial driver license, in this state while he or she had any alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances in his or her body.
  1. Whether the person refused to submit to the test after being requested to do so by a law enforcement officer or correctional officer.
  1. Whether the person was told that if he or she refused to submit to such test he or she would be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of 1 year or, if previously disqualified under this section, permanently.

With respect to both the informal hearings and formal hearings, if the DHSMV Officer finds by the preponderance of the evidence that the law enforcement officer’s suspension of the CDL should be sustained, the person’s CDL will be disqualified as follows:

For A First Time Unlawful Blood-Alcohol Level Or Breath-Alcohol Level of 0.08 Or Higher: One-year disqualification for a CDL. If the CDL holder was transporting hazardous materials in a commercial vehicle, the disqualification is at least three years.  The person is not eligible for a hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

For A First Time Refusal To Submit To A Breath, Blood, Or Urine Test: One-year disqualification for a CDL. If the CDL holder was transporting hazardous materials in a commercial vehicle, the disqualification is at least three years.  The person is not eligible for a hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

For A Second Time Unlawful Blood-Alcohol Level Or Breath-Alcohol Level of .08 Or Higher: Permanent lifetime disqualification.

For A Second Time Refusal To Submit To A Breath, Blood, or Urine Test: Permanent lifetime disqualification.

What Happens If A Florida CDL Holder Is Convicted In Court Of A First Time DUI: Regardless of whether the CDL holder was driving a commercial vehicle or a non-commercial vehicle, there is a one-year disqualification for a CDL.  If the CDL holder was transporting hazardous materials in a commercial vehicle, the disqualification is at least three years.  The person is not eligible for a hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

What Happens If A Florida CDL Holder Is Convicted In Court Of a Second Refusal to Submit to Testing: Regardless of whether the CDL holder was driving a commercial vehicle or a non-commercial vehicle, there is a lifetime disqualification of a CDL.  The person is not eligible for a hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Are you looking for the best DUI lawyer in Tampa Florida? Contact Attorney David C. Hardy.

Tampa Attorney David C. Hardy is a former DUI prosecutor that now represents persons accused of DUI.  He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, he has extensive experience handling all types of DUI cases.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI in Hillsborough County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, or Pasco County Florida, Attorney David C. Hardy has the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through this process and obtain the best possible results.