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Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) in Washington

You worked hard to obtain your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), don’t let a DUI cause you to lose it. Your CDL can be affected by a DUI arrest that occurs in any type of vehicle. The law imposes stricter test limits of .04 BAC or any measurable amount of THC if the DUI occurs while you are driving a commercial vehicle.  A first DUI arrest or conviction will cause your CDL to be disqualified for one year (or 3 years if you were transporting hazardous materials). Refusing to take a breathalyzer test while driving any type of motor vehicle will also result in the loss of your CDL license for at least one year. A second DUI conviction will cause you to lose your Commercial Drivers License for life. 

CDL Consequences After Arrest

Your license can be suspended by the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) or a court. The DOL will suspend your license after a suspected DUI arrest unless you request a hearing within 7 days to contest the suspension. These hearings are generally conducted via telephone. This will be the first time witnesses, such as the arresting officer, will testify under oath. You will be able to get a copy of the arrest report and other supporting documents. This will also be your chance to present evidence or give testimony and to present arguments to challenge the validity of the arrest. Because your CDL is at stake, seriously consider having an experienced DUI attorney represent you during this hearing. 

CDL Consequences After a DUI Conviction

Your DUI case may still proceed in criminal court. If you are found guilty or plead guilty, the criminal court will notify the DOL. Your license will then be suspended because of the criminal conviction.

There are many ways to defend against DUI charges. A lawyer who is knowledgeable about DUI cases can offer your best chance at avoiding conviction and loss of your license.

Deferred Prosecution Effect on CDL

In Washington it is possible to get a one-time Deferred Prosecution in a DUI case. This allows a person suffering from the disease of alcoholism or drug addiction treatment access through a court mandated 2-year program. Once the program has been successfully completed, the DUI charge can be dismissed. This no longer applies to a CDL. For CDLs, entrance into a Deferred Prosecution program will be treated as a DUI conviction by the Department of Licensing who will disqualify your CDL license. They may still stay the suspension of your personal non-commercial driving privileges.

A DUI charge is always stressful and can be confusing because of the involvement of both the Department of Licensing and the criminal court. If you make your living with your CDL the stakes become much higher. Give yourself the best chance at avoiding the loss of your license and income by consulting an experienced attorney. If you have questions about your case please contact us at or (253) 236-4079.

What happens if I have a Commercial Drivers License and I get a DUI?

If you have questions about your case, please contact us at or (253) 236-4079.

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