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Hardship Licenses for CDL Holders in Boston: Understanding the Eligibility Criteria


Commercial truck drivers are the backbone of the American economy. They drive our country’s roadways daily to ensure we have all the products and necessities we’d ever require. However, an impaired driving conviction and other charges can result in a license suspension for commercial drivers. So, can CDL drivers get a hardship license in Boston?

The answer to this question is fairly straightforward. However, there are many nuances that could affect your ability to drive commercially.

Can You Get a CDL Hardship License in Massachusetts?

CDL drivers are held to a higher standard than most others on the road. For instance, they cannot have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.04% when driving their rig. For motorists, the BAC threshold is 0.08%. To make matters even worse for commercial drivers, Massachusetts does not grant hardship licenses for CDL drivers.

You can get a Class D hardship license in Boston, but if your CDL gets suspended, the suspension is likely going to stand. The federal government doesn’t allow any state to offer commercial hardship licenses. This is especially difficult since you don’t even have to be driving a tractor-trailer to lose your license.

This makes it extremely important to understand the violations that can result in a suspension.

What Violations Result in a CDL License Suspension?

Clearly, the last thing that a commercial truck driver wants on their record is an impaired driving conviction. However, it’s crucial to recognize that this isn’t the only violation that can result in a CDL suspension in Boston. If you accept a plea deal or are found guilty for the following crimes, your license will be suspended:

  • Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OUI)
  • Operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.04% or higher
  • Refusing a breathalyzer or other alcohol test
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Using a vehicle in the commission of a felony
  • Negligently causing a death while operating a commercial vehicle
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a suspended, canceled, or revoked CDL

You really only get one chance in Massachusetts. A first-time conviction for any of these crimes results in at least a one-year suspension. If you were transporting hazardous materials, this jumps to three years. However, a second conviction will earn a lifetime suspension. Clearly, you don’t want any convictions on your record. The consequences are too severe.

What Should CDL Drivers Do if Charged With OUI?

A CDL driver charged with driving under the influence in Boston has a lot to lose. However, don’t make the mistake of forgetting that other convictions can lead to a suspension as well. And as we’ve already discussed, there are no CDL hardship licenses in Massachusetts. This means your best chance to stay on the road is avoiding a conviction in the first place.

So, how can you go about this? First and foremost, do not speak with police or prosecutors. They do not have your best interest in mind. You want them to have as little evidence as possible. However, don’t fall into the trap of believing that refusing a breathalyzer will help in this endeavor. Remember, this is one of the violations that can result in a suspension.

Your best bet to keep your CDL license is to speak with an attorney. Even if the prosecutor tells you a conviction is a certainty, this isn’t always the case. An experienced Boston criminal defense attorney can review your case and identify any potential issues. And if a conviction is unavoidable, they may be able to plead your case to lesser charges.

Getting Your CDL License Back in Boston

If you found this blog prior to a conviction, it may still be possible to avoid a CDL suspension. If you’ve already lost your commercial license, though, your goal is obviously to get back on the road. You can start by seeking a Class D hardship license. Even CDL drivers may be granted the opportunity to operate passenger vehicles.

To have your CDL reinstated, though, you must apply for the license to be re-issued. You’ll have to wait out the suspension. This could be as little as 60 days for certain traffic violations, and even lifetime CDL suspensions aren’t necessarily for life. You might be able to re-apply after 10 years and an approved rehabilitation program.

Clearly, this issue can get complex. While there are no CDL hardship licenses in Boston, you may have options. Contact us today at The Law Office of Brian Simoneau by calling (508)-625-5776. We may be able to assist.

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