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Getting Your CDL Back After a Suspension in California

By San Diego Attorney on February 7, 2022

To get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in California, in addition to meeting federal requirements, drivers must successfully complete an Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) program conducted by a registered provider, with a minimum of 15 hours of behind-the-wheel training. CDL holders are subject to California state laws, as well as federal regulations. This includes the potential to have a commercial driver’s license suspended.

When May a CDL Be Suspended in California?

A CDL can be suspended for several reasons. You could lose your commercial driving privileges for:

  • Leaving the scene of an accident in which your commercial motor vehicle (CMV) was involved
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving a CMV with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04% or higher
  • Refusing to take a BAC test
  • Negligently operating a CMV
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a suspended or revoked CDL
  • Committing serious traffic violations such as improper lane changing or excessive speeding
  • Accumulating too many points on your driving record within a certain period

What Additional Legal Consequences Can You Face With a Suspended CDL?

In addition to suspension of your CDL, you could face legal consequences for acts that lead to suspension. For example, if your commercial driver’s license was suspended for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may also face a criminal trial and penalties upon conviction. A first conviction of DUI in California is punishable by up to one year in county jail, informal probation, $390 to $1,000 in fines, and/or California DUI school. Leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run) carries up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

What Is the Process for Reinstatement of a CDL?

If your CDL has been suspended, you may be able to apply to have it reinstated. In California, drivers must follow these steps to have a suspended driver’s license reinstated:

  • Wait until the 30-day mandatory suspension period is over.
  • In the meantime, request a DMV hearing within 10 days of receipt of the Order of Probation/Suspension. The purpose of the hearing is to convince the DMV to reverse your license suspension for the time being.
  • Apply for a restricted license at the local DMV office. A restricted license can be used for only limited purposes, such as driving to and from work or school. If convicted of DUI, you must first enroll in a DUI First Offender Program and file a Proof of Enrollment Certificate. You must also show proof of financial responsibility and pay any fees for reissuance.
  • Complete the stipulations of the suspension (fine, community service, drivers education course, etc.).
  • Make sure your auto insurance coverage is up to date.
  • Submit reinstatement paperwork to the DMV.
  • Pay required fees for reinstatement.

Why Do You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney by Your Side?

Our experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney can defend you against charges that can lead to suspension of your CDL and help protect your financial livelihood. We can represent you in DMV hearings and assist you in the process of reinstatement if your commercial driver’s license has been suspended.

Attorney James N. Dicks at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys is a former LAPD investigator and a certified criminal law specialist. He is also a drug recognition expert who keeps current with the latest developments in the field. We have extensive experience successfully defending clients against DUI and other charges that can lead to license suspension, and in representing clients in DMV hearings.

We offer a free initial consultation and have Spanish-speaking attorneys and staff. If your CDL has been suspended, call us at (760) 630-2000.

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