Commercial Drivers License (CDL) Information
The following is a general outline regarding Commercial Drivers Licenses in Colorado. The laws pertaining to CDL privileges change often and are not necessarily uniform from state to state. You should call me or your local DMV office to verify that this information reflects the current state of the law before you rely on it.
A commercial vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce with a gross weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more. 49 CFR 383.5 / 42-4-402(4)(a)(1); 402(6)
There are 6 ways to be disqualified from having a CDL:
Conviction is defined as "An unvacated adjudication of guilt; finding by a court or an authorized administrative body of a violation; forfeiture of bail; plea of guilty or nolo contendere; payment of fine or court cost; or violation of a condition of release without bail. 49 CFR 383.5. (Note that a DMV revocation hearing counts as a conviction) If a CDL is revoked, or it is suspended for more than 1 year, the driver must be retested. Suspensions under 1 year are automatic reinstatements.
1. Major disqualifying offenses. (1 year loss for driving a regular CV. 3 years for a hazmat vehicle. Lifetime CDL ban for a second offense ) Unlike many other states, Colorado does not allow for reinstatement after 10 years under the federal law.
- DUI / DWAI / DUID / refusal or EC revocation in either a "CMV" commercial or 'NCMV" non-commercial motor vehicle. 49 CFR 383.51(b)(1) / 42-2-405(3)
- A second DUI in a lifetime = no CDL for life. Does not have to be the same disqualifying offense. A DUI in a personal vehicle prior to September 2005 does not count toward 2 in a lifetime. 49 CFR 383.51(b)
- Driving a CMV with a BAC of .04 49 CFR 383.51
- Leaving the scene of an accident in any vehicle. 49 CFR 383.51(b)(5)
- Any felony involving a motor vehicle. 49 CFR 383.51(b)(6)
- "If the felony involves the manufacture, distribution or dispensing of controlled substances, you are out for life on the first conviction." (Mobile meth labs) 49 CFR 383.51(b)(9)
- Conviction for negligently causing the death of another person while driving a CMV. 49 CFR 383.51(b)(8).
- Driving a CMV with a revoked or cancelled CDL or while otherwise disqualified from driving a CMV. 49 CFR 383.51(b)(7)
2. Serious traffic violations in any vehicle. But if driving a non-CMV, the action is taken only if the triggering conviction also results in a restraint of regular driving privileges. (i.e., a points suspension) 49 CFR 383.51(c)
- "2nd conviction for violations occurring within 3 years requires 60 day CDL loss if and only if the conviction triggers loss of regular driving privilege."
- "3rd or subsequent conviction for violations occurring within 3 years requires 120 day loss of CDL if the conviction triggers loss of regular driving privilege."
"Length of disqualification for serious traffic violations in a CMV." No effect on regular driving privilege is required. 49 CFR 383.51(c)
- "2nd conviction in 3 years requires 60 day loss of CDL."
- "3rd or subsequent conviction in 3 years requires 120 loss of CDL."
*** Under federal law, Judges are not allowed to "mask" convictions. 49 CFR 384.226. "The state must not mask, defer imposition of judgment, or allow an individual to enter into a diversion program that would prevent a CDL driver's conviction for any violation, in any type of motor vehicle, of a state or local traffic control law (except a parking violation) from appearing on a driver's record, whether the driver was convicted of an offense committed in the state where the driver license is licensed or another state." -- NO DEFERREDS.
- 15 MPH over the limit. 49 CFR 383.51(c)(1)
- Reckless. 49 CFR 353.51(c)(2) NOTE: Careless is not a serious violation due to vagueness.
- Improper or erratic lane changes. 49 CFR 383.51(c)(3)
- Following too closely. 49 CFR 383.51(c)(4)
- Driving a CMV without having obtained a CDL. 49 CFR 383.51(c)(6)
- No CDL in possession 49 CFR 383.51 (c)(7)
- Having a CDL with the incorrect class or endorsement.
- Being convicted of any motor vehicle violation (non-parking), no matter how minor (e.g., burned out light bulb), when involved in a fatal accident. 49 CFR 383.51 (c)(5)
3. Railroad grade crossing violations 49 CFR 383.51(d)
- Apply only if driving a CMV. 60 days for 1st conviction. 120 days for 2nd conviction in 3 years. 1 year for 3 or more convictions in 3 years.
4. Violations of out-of-service orders. Driver, vehicle 49 CFR 396.7(c)(1), or motor carrier is out-of-service. No conviction required. Must be driving a CMV. Driver is placed out of service for 24 hours. 49 CFR 383.51(c) / 42-2-405.5
- Consumed alcohol within the preceding 4 hours. 49 CFR 392.5(a)(1)
- Any detectable alcohol in system. 49 CFR 392.5(a)(2)
- Driver "on duty" has personal possession of alcohol. "On duty" constitutes more than just driving. 49 CFR 392.5(a)(3)
- Driver on duty refuses chemical test. This does not require PC to test. (e.g., Every driver at a weigh station could be asked to submit to a test) 42-2-405(1)(a)
- Out of service for time violations. 49 CFR 395.3; 395.5; 395.13 (Time is extended for adverse weather conditions. 49 CFR 395(1)(b)
Driver of property-carrying vs. passenger-carrying CMV out of service requirements are different. More serious for property-carrying due to weight of vehicles.
Violating an out-of-service order - Federal
- 1st conviction: 90 days to 1 year if non-hazmat. 180 days to 2 years if hazmat. Plus $1,100 to $2,750. 49 CFR 383.51(c)(1)
- 2nd conviction: 1 to 5 years if non-hazmat. 3 to 5 years if hazmat.
- 3 or more in 10 years: CDL disqualified for 3 - 5 years no matter what type of CMV you are driving.
Violating an out-of-service order - Colorado
- 1st conviction: 1 year if non-hazmat. 2 years if hazmat. 42-2-405.5
- 2 or more in 10 years: CDL disqualified for 5 years no matter what type of CMV you are driving.
In Colorado, you are entitled to a hearing. The issue at the hearing is "Did the driver receive a conviction or deferred sentence for violating an OSO?" The HO can reduce the period of disqualification after considering;
- The circumstances of the violation.
- The driving record.
- Aggravating and mitigating factors.
- Other factors the HO finds relevant. 42-2-405.5(5)(b)
- Under no circumstances shall the period be less than the minimum length.
5. Cancel / Deny based on false statement. 49 CFR 383.73(g) The only issues at the hearing are:
- Whether the driver falsified information.
- Whether the driver was under restraint at the time of the application for the CDL.
- If either issue is found, no CDL for 60 days. Any driving restraint whatsoever means no CDL
6. Driver an imminent hazard (By federal authorities) 42 CFR 383.5; 383.52; 386.72(b)(1); 392.3
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