Holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Arizona is a big responsibility. CDL holders must obey stricter laws compared to other drivers, as they are in control of larger, heavier and more dangerous vehicles. A commercial driver could have his or her license disqualified in Arizona for violating any of these laws or regulations.
When and Why Could a CDL Be Suspended?
Commercial driver’s license disqualification means the person no longer has a valid CDL and may not drive a commercial motor vehicle. Disqualification may be temporary (license suspension) or permanent (license revocation) depending on the specific case and the law violated.
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-3312 states that the department will disqualify a commercial driver’s license or permit for many infractions, each with different disqualification periods:
- Two serious traffic violations committed within three years (60 days)
- Three or more serious traffic infractions within three years (120 days)
- Falsifying information (60 days) or committing fraud (1 year) on a CDL application
- Violating a railroad crossing law once (60 days), twice (120 days) or three times (1 year)
- Receiving an out-of-service order once (6 months), twice (2 years) or three times (3 years) in a 10-year period
- Driving in a manner that constitutes an imminent hazard (up to 1 year)
- Refusing a blood or Breathalyzer test during a drunk driving investigation (1 year)
- Being convicted of driving under the influence once (1 year) or twice (lifetime)
- Leaving the scene of an accident (1 year)
- Committing a felony crime in a motor vehicle or causing a fatality through negligent operation (1 year)
- Driving on a revoked CDL license (1 year)
- Any of the above infractions while transporting hazardous materials (3 years)
- Two or more of these violations committed separately after December 31, 1989 (lifetime)
- Using a vehicle to commit a felony drug crime (permanent disqualification)
According to state law, a serious traffic violation is a conviction for excessive speeding or racing, reckless or aggressive driving, dangerous lane change, tailgating, driving a commercial vehicle without a valid CDL, or violating one of these laws if it causes a fatal accident.
DUI Penalties for CDL License Holders
Driving under the influence is a more serious crime for CDL holders than standard license holders. A DUI for a commercial driver can lead to the loss of a career, future earning opportunities and professional reputation. A different area of DUI law applies to CDL holders. Rather than a maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08%, it is 0.04% for commercial drivers in Arizona.
If a commercial driver is suspected (even if not convicted) of DUI – while driving a commercial or normal vehicle – he or she will face CDL suspension for one year. If convicted of a second DUI, the CDL will be revoked permanently. This is in addition to fines and possible jail time for a criminal driving under the influence conviction.
Can You Appeal a CDL Suspension?
Having your commercial driver’s license disqualified, suspended or revoked can change your life. You may be unable to continue the job you have had for many years. It may be possible to appeal a driver’s license suspension, depending on the circumstances. A successful appeal could protect you from the repercussions of a CDL suspension.
If your license suspension is classified as mandatory, you cannot appeal the decision. Otherwise, you can file an appeal by requesting an administrative hearing with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). You can file an appeal with an email through the MVD’s online system, completing a paper form and mailing it in, or visiting the office in person. Note that the appeals process does not affect a criminal case for DUI.
The MVD will schedule your hearing within 30 to 35 days of receiving your request. For assistance with a CDL suspension appeal, including representation during your hearing, contact an attorney.