Can You Get a CDL in Illinois with a Prior DUI?

When you have a prior DUI conviction, can you apply for a commercial driver’s license in Illinois? Although Illinois does not expressly prohibit a person with prior DUIs from applying for a CDL, the application process has additional requirements when a person has a prior DUI.

CDL Requirements in Illinois

To obtain a CDL in Illinois, you must:

  • Be at least 18 to operate intrastate or 21 to operate in interstate commerce or transport passengers
  • Self-certify your medical driving status and, if declaring as a non-excepted interstate driver, provide a valid medical certificate
  • Pass the general (core) knowledge written test, the combination knowledge written test, the air brake knowledge written test, any applicable endorsement knowledge tests, and the driving skills test (unless you already possess a CDL from another state)

Illinois CDL holders must renew their license every four years before expiration. Drivers wishing to upgrade their classification or add endorsements to their license must pass the relevant written and driving skills tests.

Illinois requires CDLs for the operation of various classes of vehicles, including:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating of the towed vehicle exceeds 10,000 pounds
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, or any such vehicle towing another weighing 10,000 pounds or less
  • Any vehicle designed to transport 16 or more people, including the driver
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, required by federal law to display placards while transporting hazardous materials

DUI Laws for Commercial Drivers

In Illinois, drivers may not operate motor vehicles with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. Drivers who operate vehicles with a BAC over the legal limit may face a conviction for DUI. However, CDL holders driving commercial vehicles have a lower legal limit of 0.04 percent.

Commercial drivers convicted of DUI may face harsher penalties than other motorists. A first DUI conviction may subject a CDL holder to a one-year suspension of their license. However, the suspension may increase to three years if the DUI conviction arose from operating a vehicle transporting hazardous materials. A second DUI conviction may result in the revocation of a CDL, although drivers may apply for reinstatement after 10 years following the completion of an alcohol awareness program.

Furthermore, a commercial driver who refuses to submit to a breath test following a DUI arrest may have their CDL automatically suspended under Illinois’ implied consent law.

Impact of a DUI Conviction on CDL Eligibility

Although you can apply for a CDL with a DUI conviction on your record, the application process becomes more complicated. First, you must meet all the requirements of your sentence from your DUI conviction. You must also reinstate your current driver’s license, which may require reinstatement fees.

Even if you obtain a CDL, a prior DUI conviction may make obtaining employment as a commercial driver challenging, as employers will see your conviction in background checks.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

After an arrest and conviction for DUI, you need dedicated legal representation. Contact Madelyn Daley & Associates today for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your rights and options with an experienced traffic offenses attorney in Belleville, IL.