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Can You Get A CDL After A DUI In Illinois?

Updated on March 15, 2023 → Under

A commercial driver's license (CDL) is required to operate a commercial motor vehicle in the United States. In the state of Illinois, a CDL is required to operate large vehicles such as a bus, a vehicle transporting hazardous material or valuable cargo, or a semi-trailer truck. CDLs are a necessary requirement for a professional driver and the loss of driving privileges due to a DUI can have a serious negative impact on a person's livelihood. 

Here are some of the most common questions regarding getting your CDL back after a DUI in Illinois. Contact a skilled DUI defense attorney at the law offices of the Dohman Law Group for your free consultation about your specific case.

Can You Get a CDL if You Have been Convicted of DUI?

If you have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or other illicit substances and were punished with the loss of your license, you are not completely out of luck. Being convicted of a DUI in the state of Illinois does not obstruct you from being eligible for a commercial license again.

Because a commercial motor vehicle license is harder to obtain than a regular driver's license, the rules of the road are more strict for commercial drivers. For example, the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) for a driver with a regular license is .08. For a CDL driver, the legal limit is just .04. A commercial driver may also be subject to heavier punishment for other common violations, like speeding or following too close. Illinois will also issue an automatic license suspension for the refusal of chemical testing. 

FAQ: How can an Illinois CDL violation affect you?

A DUI conviction will affect the period of time you are without a license, but it does not prevent you from ever receiving one again. In order to apply for a CDL after a DUI conviction, all court orders must be settled. This means you must meet the following requirements:

Your Period of License Suspension Must Be Expired

For first offenses and DUI convictions without other criminal charges, a one-year CDL license suspension is enacted. If you are a repeat offender or received multiple charges or convictions in addition to your DUI, you may be facing a potential three-year license suspension period.

You Must Pay All Fees

The reinstatement fee for a suspended license is $250. For multiple offenses or a revoked license, the fee is $500.  

Complete Any Classes

The court may order you to take an alcohol awareness program or a similar drug education program. You may also choose to enroll in one of these programs yourself, to show the courts that you have learned from your mistakes and are willing to prevent future driving violations.

Complete Any Driver's Exams 

After having your CDL suspended you may need to take your driving exam again. This may include a written exam, a driving exam, and application fees. Taking a driving class may help with your insurance and show good faith to the court.

18 wheeler driving down a highway, Can You Get A CDL After A DUI In Illinois

Attend Court Hearings

Depending on the severity of your traffic violation, you may either request a court hearing or be required to schedule one. A court hearing is an opportunity to show any evidence in your defense and an opportunity to demonstrate respect for public safety moving forward.

Though the loss of a CDL due to a DUI does not affect your ability to have one in the future, it may affect your ability to obtain a job. Meeting these requirements will help clear your driving record and improve your chances of getting back to work quickly and safely.

Can You Get a CDL Reinstated After a DUI?

A CDL can be reinstated after a DUI in Illinois. The legal procedures look different depending on your charges, your convictions, and the length of your suspension.

If you are penalized with a statutory summary suspension, you must pay the $250 reinstatement fee and wait out the provisional termination date, typically one year.

If you are penalized with a statutory summary revocation, you must undergo drug and alcohol evaluation, complete a drug and alcohol education program, appear before a Secretary of State hearing officer, demonstrate regard for public safety during the hearing, file proof of financial responsibility and pay the $500 reinstatement fine. The typical length of commercial license revocation is three years. 

Related Content: DUI Penalties for CDL Drivers

A DUI lawyer can plead your case to help you avoid a lengthy license suspension and obtain a clean driving record. A defense lawyer will take a look at all of the evidence and work to get you the best results. If you are a student you may be eligible for a hardship license, which will allow you to travel to work and to school. Another option is limited driving privileges with a restricted driver's permit. If you can prove extenuating circumstances, a DUI-defense lawyer can help you get a temporary license to allow you to travel exclusively for work.

What Prevents Someone From Getting a CDL?

Grounds for disqualification of a CDL are:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Refusing a chemical test
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • A felony involving a motor vehicle
  • Driving with a suspended/revoked license
  • Negligent driving resulting in a fatality
  • Serious traffic violations such as reckless driving, erratic lane change, excessive speeding, etc.

Any of these convictions are subject to the automatic license suspension of a CDL.

Can a Lawyer Help You Keep or Get a CDL After a DUI?

Yes! An experienced defense attorney can help you get your CDL reinstated after a DUI. The operation of commercial vehicles comes with more responsibility and stricter license restrictions than the operation of ordinary vehicles. Because commercial driver's DUI cases are more complex, you want to ensure you have a competent attorney working on your behalf. Contact the office of the Dohman Law Group today to get your free consultation and start the legal process of getting you back to work.

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