Colorado DUI: Will I Lose My Commercial License?

Colorado DUI law & commercial drivers licenses

Drivers of commercial vehicles are subject to Colorado's regular rules pertaining to DUI, DUI per se, and DWAI. But they are also subject to a “legal limit” of .04% blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”).

Driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04% or higher is known as “Excess BAC CDL.” It is prohibited by both federal and Colorado law -- 49 CFR 383.51 and 42-2-126(2)(c) C.R.S., respectively.

To help you better understand the laws regarding Colorado Excess BAC CDL, our Colorado DUI defense lawyers discuss the following, below:

1. What offenses lead to revocation of my Colorado commercial drivers license?

Offenses leading to the revocation of your Colorado CDL include (but are not limited to):

  • DUI
  • DUI per se
  • DUI of drugs
  • Excess BAC CDL (.04% or higher)
  • Refusing a DUI chemical test
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Driving without a current valid CDL.1

2. How long will my Colorado commercial drivers license be suspended?

2.1. First offense

A first offense carries a minimum revocation of your Colorado CDL for one year.

This increases to 3 years, however, if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time of the violation.2

You have just seven days from being cited for a drunk or drugged driving offense to request a CDL revocation hearing from the Colorado DMV. In addition, you may be charged with applicable criminal penalties for an underlying DUI, chemical test refusal, or other violation.

2.2. Second offense – lifetime revocation

A second or subsequent DUI and/or chemical test refusal will result in the lifetime loss of your Colorado CDL. You can, however, apply for reinstatement after 10 years (see below).

3. Can I still drive a non-commercial vehicle?

If you are over 21, you may apply for a driver's license of another class or type if you are otherwise eligible. Such license may be probationary or subject to restrictions (such as completion of an alcohol or drug treatment program or installation of an ignition interlock device).

However, you cannot be granted a probationary or restricted commercial license while your Colorado CDL is revoked or suspended.

4. Can my Colorado CDL be reinstated?

If your Colorado CDL is revoked for life, it may nevertheless be reinstated after 10 years if you have voluntarily entered and successfully completed a state-approved alcohol or drug rehabilitation program.

However, if you subsequently commit another disqualifying offense, your CDL may not be reinstated a second time.

5. Excess BAC underage CDL

Colorado allows drivers under the age of 21 to hold a commercial driver's license. Federal law does not. This means that underage Colorado drivers may drive commercially solely within the state.

Underage commercial drivers are subject to the same laws regarding commercial driver's licenses as adult drivers. In addition, however, they are subject to Colorado's Excess BAC underage CDL law, 42-2-126(2)(e), C.R.S.

Colorado's Excess BAC underage CDL law is the commercial counterpart to Colorado UDD (underage drinking and driving). It is Colorado's “zero tolerance” law for underage commercial drivers.

You violate Colorado's Excess BAC underage CDL law when:

  • you are under 21, and 
  • you drive a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC in excess of .02% (but less than .04%).

5.1. Penalties for Colorado Excess BAC underage CDL

Consequences of Colorado Excess BAC underage CDL include revocation of your commercial driving privilege for:

  • 3 months for a first violation, 
  • 6 months for a second violation, and 
  • 1 year for a third or subsequent violation.

6. Call us for help...

If you are a commercial driver and you are facing criminal charges or loss of your CDL we invite you to call us for a free consultation. One of our caring Colorado DUI lawyers will get back to you promptly to discuss your case.

You have just 7 days from citation to request a hearing to save your commercial license. Don't wait for the Colorado DMV to rob you of your livelihood. Contact us today to find out why our Colorado DUI defense attorneys are among the best DUI lawyers in Colorado.

We represent commercial drivers throughout the state of Colorado. Our Denver home office is located at:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 222-0330

Legal references

  1. 42-2-126(2)(c), C.R.S. and 49 CFR 383.51.
  2. 42-2-126 (3)(c), C.R.S.

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