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CDL Drivers & DUI Penalties in Colorado

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Commercial drivers face more to lose than any other driver when facing a DUI charge in Colorado. Either an administrative or criminal conviction will result in the CDL being revoked for a minimum of one year. It does not matter that you were driving a personal vehicle. If you have a valid Commercial Driver's License and you are convicted criminally or administratively, you will lose your CDL privileges for a minimum of one year.

If your BAC was .150 or higher or you refuse a chemical test and you are convicted administratively at an Express Consent Hearing, you will not be able to obtain a CDL until all interlock requirements are met and the ignition interlock device is no longer required as part of your driving privilege requirements. Thus, if you refuse or your BAC is .150 or higher and you have a commercial driver's license, you are looking at having that privilege revoked for a minimum of 25 months (1 month no driving plus 2 years on required interlock).

A second offense will result in a lifetime disqualification of the commercial driver's license, but keep in mind:

  • The lifetime disqualification only applies if both offenses were after the holder obtained the CDL and both offenses also occurred after October 1, 2005. This is a result of the Motor Carrier Safety Information Act (MCSIA) that went into effect and all states were required to implement and follow. This act is what created the change to add personal vehicles to major offenses and this act took effect on October 1, 2005.

Commercial Driver's License Penalties in Colorado

Driver Disqualifications & Penalties

§383.51 Disqualification of drivers.

(a) General. (1) A driver or holder of a CDL who is disqualified must not drive a CMV.

(a)(2) An employer must not knowingly allow, require, permit, or authorize a driver who is disqualified to drive a CMV.

(a)(3) A driver is subject to disqualification sanctions designated in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, if the holder of a CDL drives a CMV or non-CMV and is convicted of the violations.

(a)(4) Determining first and subsequent violations. For purposes of determining first and subsequent violations of the offenses specified in this subpart, each conviction for any offense listed in Tables 1 through 4 to this section resulting from a separate incident, whether committed in a CMV or non-CMV, must be counted.

(a)(5) Reinstatement after lifetime disqualification. A State may reinstate any driver disqualified for life for offenses described in paragraphs (1) through (b)(8) of this section (Table 1 to §383.51) after 10 years if that person has voluntarily entered and successfully completed an appropriate rehabilitation program approved by the State. Any person who has been reinstated in accordance with this provision and who is subsequently convicted of a disqualifying offense described in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(8) of this section (Table 1 to §383.51) must not be reinstated. Colorado currently does not allow CDL drivers to reinstate off of a lifetime disqualification.

(b) Disqualification for major offenses. Table 1 to §383.51 contains a list of the traffic offenses and periods for which a driver must be disqualified, depending upon the type of vehicle the driver is operating at the time of the violation, as follows:

Table 1 to §383.51
If a driver operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of: For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a non-CMV, a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for For a first conviction or refusal to be tested while operating a CMV transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F), a person required to have a CDL and CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this Table while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CDL and a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for For a second conviction or refusal to be tested in a separate incident of any combination of offenses in this Table while operating a non-CMV, a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for
(1) Being under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by State law. 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life
(2) Being under the influence of a controlled substance. 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life
(3) Having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater while operating a CMV 1 year Not applicable 3 years Life Not applicable
(4) Refusing to take an alcohol test as required by a State or jurisdiction under its implied consent laws or regulations as defined in §383.72 of this part. 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life
(5) Leaving the scene of an accident. 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life
(6) Using the vehicle to commit a felony other than a felony described in paragraph (b)(9) of this table. 1 year 1 year 3 years Life Life
(7) Driving a CMV when, as a result of prior violations committed operating a CMV, the driver’s CDL is revoked, suspended, or canceled, or the driver is disqualified from operating a CMV. 1 year Not applicable 3 years Life Not applicable
(8) Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV, including but not limited to the crimes of motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle and negligent homicide. 1 year Not applicable 3 years Life Not applicable
(9) Using the vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance. Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement. Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement. Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement. Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement. Life-not eligible for 10-year reinstatement.

(c) Disqualification for serious traffic violations. Table 2 to §383.51 contains a list of the offenses and the periods for which a driver must be disqualified, depending upon the type of vehicle the driver is operating at the time of the violation, as follows:

Table 2 to §383.51
1Any individual who provides proof to the enforcement authority that issued the citation, by the date the individual must appear in court or pay any fine for such a violation, that the individual held a valid CDL on the date the citation was issued, shall not be guilty of this offense.
If the driver operates a motor vehicle and is convicted of: For a second conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CDL and a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for For a second conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period while operating a non-CMV, a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV, if the conviction results in the revocation, cancellation, or suspension of the CDL holder’s license or non-CMV driving privileges, for For a third or subsequent conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CDL and a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for For a third or subsequent conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period while operating a non-CMV, a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV, if the conviction results in the revocation, cancellation, or suspension of the CDL holder’s license or non-CMV driving privileges, for
(1) Speeding excessively, involving any speed of 24.1 kmph (15 mph) or more above the posted speed limit. 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days
(2) Driving recklessly, as defined by State or local law or regulation, including but, not limited to, offenses of driving a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days
(3) Making improper or erratic traffic lane changes. 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days
(4) Following the vehicle ahead too closely. 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days
(5) Violating State or local law relating to motor vehicle traffic control (other than a parking violation) arising in connection with a fatal accident. 60 days 60 days 120 days 120 days
(6) Driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL. 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable
(7) Driving a CMV without a CDL in the driver’s possession1. 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable
(8) Driving a CMV without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsements for the specific vehicle group being operated or for the passengers or type of cargo being transported. 60 days Not applicable 120 days Not applicable

(d) Disqualification for railroad-highway grade crossing offenses. Table 3 to §383.51 contains a list of the offenses and the periods for which a driver must be disqualified, when the driver is operating a CMV at the time of the violation, as follows:

Table 3 to §383.51
If a driver is convicted of operating a CMV in violation of a Federal, State or local law because For a first conviction a person required to have a CDL and a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for For a second conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period a person required to have a CDL and a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for For a third or subsequent conviction of any combination of offenses in this Table in a separate incident within a 3-year period a person required to have a CDL and a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for
(1) The driver is not required to always stop, but fails to slow down and check that tracks are clear of an approaching train. No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year.
(2) The driver is not required to always stop, but fails to stop before reaching the crossing, if the tracks are not clear. No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year.
(3) The driver is always required to stop, but fails to stop before driving onto the crossing. No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year.
(4) The driver fails to have sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping. No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year.
(5) The driver fails to obey a traffic control device or the directions of an enforcement official at the crossing. No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year.
(6) The driver fails to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance. No less than 60 days No less than 120 days No less than 1 year.

(e)Disqualification for violating out-of-service orders. Table 4 to §383.51 contains a list of the offenses and periods for which a driver must be disqualified when the driver is operating a CMV at the time of the violation, as follows:

Table 4 to §383.51
If a driver operates a CMV and is convicted of For a first conviction while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CDL and a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for For a second conviction in a separate incident within a 10-year period while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CDL and a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for For a third or subsequent conviction in a separate incident within a 10-year period while operating a CMV, a person required to have a CDL and a CDL holder must be disqualified from operating a CMV for
(1) Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting nonhazardous materials. No less than 180 days or more than 1 year. No less than 2 years or more than 5 years. No less than 3 years or more than 5 years.
(2) Violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded under part 172, subpart Fof this title, or while operating a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver. No less than 180 days or more than 2 years. No less than 3 years or more than 5 years. No less than 3 years or more than 5 years.

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