Can You Get a CDL with a DUI in Arizona?

can you get a cdl with a duiIn Arizona, you need a commercial driving license (CDL) to practice certain professions. The conditions for obtaining a CDL are more extensive than those for getting a regular license. Commercial drivers carry more responsibility and they often operate vehicles like trucks and buses that demand specific skills.

If you already have a DUI on record and you consider getting a CDL to start practicing a specific profession, you’ll need to understand the aggravating factors that will have to be overcome. Driving under the influence is a very serious offense in Arizona and it can have long-lasting effects on your professional development.

Can You Get a CDL if You Have Criminal Record?

You can get a commercial license with a past DUI. The first thing to keep in mind is that the period of license suspension connected to the DUI should be completed before you apply for a CDL.

A CDL application will be rejected immediately if your license is still suspended or revoked.

Even if you commit a DUI in another state, the limitations will still apply. Such information is shared across state borders. Hence, you have to be forthright when communicating with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) – the entity responsible for issuing commercial licenses.

Once you get your CDL, you should be prepared for potential additional difficulties stemming from your past DUI. Such information is readily available to employers. Commercial drivers who have been found guilty of driving under the influence in the past could find it more difficult to get a new job than those who have a clear criminal background.

Federal Laws

Federal laws have to be taken in consideration on top of the Arizona regulations when you plan to apply for a commercial license.

On a federal level, you will be disqualified from applying for a commercial license if you commit certain felonies. Some of these include:

  • Manslaughter in the first and second degree committed while operating a vehicle
  • Causing somebody’s death through the negligent or reckless operation of a vehicle
  • Driving with a BAC exceeding 0.8 percent
  • Arson
  • Extortion or bribery
  • Assault with the intent to murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Misconduct with a motor vehicle

Some of these felonies aren’t related to driving under the influence. In other instances, however, a DUI can contribute to additional charges that will make it impossible for you to get a commercial license. If you drink and drive, causing somebody’s death in a car crash, for example, you may find it nearly impossible to apply for a CDL and get approved.

Strict Terms and Conditions Apply to CDL Holders

Everyone can make a mistake once in their lifetime. This is why you can still apply for a commercial license, even if you’ve been found guilty of driving under the influence in the past.

Once you get your CDL, however, you have to be very strict and 100 percent committed to abiding by the rules.

A second DUI (the first one that you get after your CDL is issued) will lead to a lifetime suspension. You will no longer be capable of practicing your profession by getting your license reinstated after a certain period of time.

DUIs committed by the operators of commercial vehicles also carry bigger penalties than regular DUIs. In Arizona, the BAC that leads to a DUI for commercial drivers is 0.04 instead of the 0.08 percent. Thus, even one drink could lead to DUI charges and serious sanctions in the event of you being found guilty.

Employers also take commercial DUIs very seriously. A driver that’s found guilty of such a legal violation will most probably lose their job.

Find out what you need to know about Arizona breathalyzer laws.