Commercial Drivers Licenses

Driving a commercial vehicle is treated differently than driving a personal car, so Washington CDL -holders are held to a much stricter standard than normal drivers when it comes to driving offenses. Federal regulations impose constraints on Washington state law, and require severe penalties for driving offenses. For example, your Washington CDL can be suspended or revoked even for offenses occurring while in a personal vehicle. To discuss your individual situation, please call 206-849-0519.

Offense While Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle

  • A driver faces mandatory Washington CDL disqualification for certain offenses committed while driving a commercial motor vehicle.  See RCW 46.25.090.
  • The period of disqualification can range anywhere from 30 days all the way up to a lifetime disqualification depending on the nature and number of offenses.
  • Drivers can challenge a proposed Washington CDL suspension by requesting an administrative hearing, and if necessary, can appeal to the Superior Court.
    • Generally, your driving privileges remain intact until there is a final decision.
  • Drivers can also be subject to disqualification proceedings if they either refuse to comply with mandatory drug/alcohol testing, or fail a urinalysis test.
    • The legal limit while driving a commercial vehicle is .04, not .08.

Offenses While Operating A Personal Vehicle

If you have a Washington CDL and are arrested for DUI in your personal vehicle, it can impact your commercial driving privileges.

If the Dept. of Licensing suspends your license administratively and/or you are convicted of DUI, the CDL will be disqualified for one year on a first offense.  The second offense results in a lifetime disqualification of your Washington CDL.

Administrative Suspension or Criminal Conviction


CDL Suspension

  BAC above .08 or 
  Refusal of BAC

1st DUI

1 Year

2nd DUI


At this time, a conviction for being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence does not have the same impact on CDLs and will not result in a suspension of your Washington CDL (but it will suspend your regular license). However, an administrative suspension from a physical control arrest would result in disqualification.

Even worse news is that there is no occupational or ignition interlock license for purposes of commercial driving. The disqualification is complete and will require re-application and testing at the conclusion in order to regain commercial driving privileges.

The bottom line is that if you are a Washington CDL -holder, it is very important that you contest all actions that could result in CDL disqualification, and carefully consider any CDL implications before entering into any plea agreements. Every case is different, so please contact us if you have have further questions.

Talk To A Knowledgeable Defense Attorney Before Making Any Decisions

Fury Duarte serves clients in the Seattle area and throughout Washington. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your case, and we encourage you to contact us for a complimentary consultation. You can reach our office in Bellevue by calling 425-643-1606.