Can I Lose My CDL License for a DUI in Lancaster, South Carolina?

February 22, 2024

Truck drivers may lose their CDL in addition to their personal driver’s license for a DUI in South Carolina. Due to the inherent dangers of driving a commercial motor vehicle, drivers are held to higher standards. The penalties for a CDL DUI are often more severe.

If your CDL is in jeopardy, contact a Lancaster DUI lawyer from Barboza Law as soon as possible. We have extensive experience defending those with career-specific violations.

How a CDL DUI Impacts Your License

In any highly regulated profession, there are numerous state and federal regulations to navigate. Commercial truck drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence must contend with South Carolina DUI laws and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) violations. CDL drivers can face losing their license from 1 to 3 years, depending on the circumstances.

1-Year CDL Suspension

A driver’s CDL is suspended for 1 year if they do one or more of the following:

  • Receive a DUI conviction while driving your personal or other motor vehicle
  • Refuse a blood alcohol test, breathalyzer, or urine test while operating a moving vehicle
  • Give a breathalyzer sample of 0.04% or higher while driving a motor vehicle

3-Year CDL Suspension

An exception to the above is when a CDL driver is hauling hazardous materials. According to the FMSCA, there are various classes of hazardous materials, including gases, flammable liquids, and anything combustible. If a truck driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while hauling any of these materials, their license may be suspended for 3 years.

Permanent CDL Suspension

When a CDL driver receives two major violations, also called enhancement offenses, they may lose their license permanently:

  • DUI/DWI in any state
  • BAC of 0.04% while operating a commercial vehicle
  • Operating a commercial vehicle while under suspended or revoked CDL
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Causing a negligent traffic fatality
  • Refusing a blood alcohol test

At Barboza Law, we understand your career is at stake with a CDL DUI. Having a DUI attorney in Lancaster by your side can help you mount a strong defense. We will fight to protect your best interests and mitigate the damage to your professional reputation.

Will My CDL be Automatically Reinstated if I am Cleared of the Charges?

One of the most common misconceptions about a suspended license is that it will automatically be restored if you are not convicted. While a DUI charge is handled in criminal court, license suspension is handled separately by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.  

To contest your CDL driver's license suspension, you must request an administrative hearing at the South Carolina Administrative Law Court. Depending on the details of your case, you may have to satisfy court requirements and pay any outstanding fines before reinstatement, complete ADSAP (alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program) or pay reinstatement fees.

For example, suppose it is in your best interest to accept a reckless driving charge over a DUI charge. You may need to satisfy any requirements that come with a reckless driving conviction before reinstating your CDL. In addition, you may need to retake the CDL knowledge and driving skills test.

How a Lancaster DUI Attorney Can Help

A professional truck driver’s livelihood depends on preserving their commercial driver’s license and good name. Let Attorney Barboza help you protect your rights and your career. We have the skills and experience to handle the many unique challenges caused by a CDL DUI. Schedule a consultation with a DUI defense lawyer in Lancaster, SC, today by calling (803) 973-6003.


Can I lose my TWIC card for a DUI?

Generally, a DUI arrest will not affect your TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential). However, every situation is different. If your DUI is coupled with certain drug or weapons violations, that may cause you to lose your TWIC.

Can I plead a DUI down to a Reckless Driving Charge in Lancaster?

A common question for people who have been charged with a DUI is whether they can plea down to a lesser charge. Due to the complexity of South Carolina DUI and traffic laws, it is best to speak to your attorney directly about accepting a plea deal. A reckless driving charge can still negatively affect your professional driving record. Discuss the unique circumstances of your case at your consultation to determine the best defense strategy for your case.

What should I tell my attorney at my consultation?

During your consultation, you may have many questions about what to do next. However, in order for your DUI lawyer to provide you with the best legal advice, it is important that you are honest about the details of your case. Make sure you tell your attorney:

  • Whether or not your employer has been notified
  • Your complete driving history, including any arrests or infractions out-of-state
  • If you have any medical diagnoses
  • If you have any past FMCSA violations, including hours of service or failure to log

Can I lose my CDL for an out-of-state DUI?

Even if you are arrested for a DUI/DWI out-of-state, your CDL license is likely to be suspended. Agencies report to each other, especially in highly regulated professions. Speak to a South Carolina DUI/DWI attorney today to get the answers you need.