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Mass. DUI Commercial Drivers License (CDL) Penalties

Both Massachusetts and Federal Laws impose severe penalties on the holders of Commercial Driver’s Licenses who are arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol or who commit certain traffic violations. CDL suspensions and disqualifications are imposed in addition to any other suspensions or revocations that may be imposed for Class D license holders. The intent of these enhanced CDL penalties is to hold individuals with Commercial Driver’s Licenses to a zero tolerance standard as far as alcohol/drug use and driving, even applying that standard to a noncommercial vehicle driven by a CDL driver.

G.L. c. 90F, § 1 defines what constitutes a conviction for CDL license suspension purposes, and this broad definition encompasses Massachusetts DUI cases that were resolved pursuant to G.L c. 90 Sec. 24D, including those OUI cases, which were continued without a finding (CWOF’ed) and dismissed.  The RMV is required to count CWOFs and program assignments because federal law prohibits states from “masking” drunk driving convictions.

A breathalyzer refusal or first offense operating under the influence (OUI) conviction will trigger an automatic 1 year CDL license suspension, regardless of whether the offense occurs in a CDL vehicle or not.

If the vehicle is transporting hazardous materials, and the driver refuses to submit to a breath or blood test, the Registry will revoke his CDL For 3 years for a first offense.

Registering a .04 BAC or higher in a Commercial Motor Vehicle will generate a 1-year CDL suspension and a 3-year CDL suspension if the vehicle is transporting hazardous materials.

For a second offense of any of the above-listed OUI convictions or chemical test refusals, the CDL driver will be disqualified for life from operating CDL vehicles or holding a CDL license in any state in the country.  Also, federal regulations prohibit the issuance of a CDL hardship license.

In Massachusetts, CDL suspensions are imposed pursuant to G.L. c. 90F § 9. The Federal counterpart to the Massachusetts CDL Law is C.F.R. § 383.51, which is administered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). In addition to DUI and chemical test refusal suspensions listed above, there are other types of CDL suspensions and disqualifications. Examples of some other offenses that lead to disqualification are serious traffic violations, railroad crossing violations, using a commercial or noncommercial vehicle for the commission of a felony involving drugs, and using any motor vehicle in the commission of more than one felony arising out of different crime episodes. Contact Attorney Brian E. Simoneau if you need more information or legal representation regarding a Massachusetts CDL suspension, revocation, or disqualification.