Arizona CDL Licenses & DUI Arrest

You’ve probably already heard that Arizona is one of the strictest states in the nation when it comes to driving under the influence. You will face harsh fines and mandatory jail time if convicted of DUI in Arizona. And if you have a commercial driver’s license or a CDL, you could have even more to worry about. If you have a CDL, not only are you risking the safety of those around you when you drink and drive- you are also risking your means of income. When you have a CDL and have been arrested for DUI in Arizona, don’t hesitate to call our DUI team at 480-833-8000 as soon as possible.

DUI Arrest with a CDL License in Arizona

What Is The Legal Limit For a CDL DUI?

When police officers pull someone over for DUI, they will eventually test their blood alcohol content, or BAC, to measure their level of intoxication. Most people assume that the legal limit for BAC while driving is .08 everywhere, but this isn’t true. The legal limits for BAC can vary from state to state, and can even vary based on your age and type of driver’s license. This isn’t actually true. In Arizona, if you have a CDL, your legal limit while driving your commercial vehicle is .04. If you are driving your personal vehicle, Arizona’s regular BAC limitations will apply. This is generally, like many other states, .08. However, in Arizona, the police officer who pulls you over can still arrest you for impaired driving if you have a BAC between .04 and .079. If your BAC is .15-.19 at the time of arrest, you will be charged with Extreme DUI. You will be charged with Super Extreme DUI if you are arrested with a BAC of .20 or higher.

CDL DUI, standard DUI, Extreme DUI, and Super Extreme DUI are all misdemeanor charges in Arizona. While a misdemeanor can still have serious negative consequences in your life, it won’t be quite as serious as a felony conviction. You can be charged with felony DUI, also known as Aggravated DUI if any of four factors are present:

  • There is a passenger under 15 years of age in the vehicle
  • This is the driver’s 3rd DUI in 7 years
  • The driver’s license is already restricted, suspended, revoked, etc.
  • The driver’s vehicle currently has an IID installed

What Are The Penalties For a DUI in Arizona With a Commercial Driver’s License?

People convicted of DUI in Arizona with a CDL will face all of the penalties that those with standard driver’s licenses will face, and then some. For even a first-time offender, a DUI conviction means a mandatory jail sentence of at least 10 days, 9 of which are commutable. The judge can always give you more jail time than the mandatory minimum for a variety of reasons. The minimum jail sentence increases to 90 days if you are convicted of DUI a subsequent time. Your driver’s license will be suspended for at least 90 days for a first conviction and revoked for at least a year for subsequent convictions. The minimum fine for a DUI is $1,250, but this can increase by the thousands if you are arrested with a high BAC or are convicted of DUI multiple times.

All of the penalties above will be faced by anyone convicted of DUI in Arizona, not just people who hold a CDL. But Arizona imposes additional requirements on anyone with a CDL who is convicted of DUI. Whether or not the DUI arrest occurred while on the job, the driver will have 30 days to report the arrest to their employer. The report to your employer will be kept in a database that is accessible by other future potential employers for 10 years.

Impact of a DUI on an Arizona CDL

When it’s your job to drive large and potentially dangerous vehicles, being arrested for DUI will automatically put your career in jeopardy. Your DUI will be considered a moving violation of one of three types: major offenses, serious traffic violations, and railroad-highway grade crossing violations.

Despite what the name suggests, a serious traffic violation won’t have too serious of an impact on your CDL. A first-time serious traffic violation won’t disqualify you from holding a CDL. However, you will need to be careful for the next 3 years- a second serious violation within this time frame will disqualify your CDL for 60 days. If you receive a third serious violation within 3 years, you will lose your CDL for 120 days.

If your DUI is considered a major offense, you will be disqualified from holding a CDL for 1 year. This is increased to 3 years if you were transporting hazardous materials at the time of the arrest. If you receive a second major offense, you will lose your CDL for life.

The first time you receive a railroad-highway grade crossing violation, you will lose your CDL for a minimum of 60 days. A second within a three-year period will result in losing your CDL for a minimum of 120 days.

Should I Refuse a Breathalyzer if I Have a CDL?

You may be thinking that since you have to report a DUI arrest to your employer when you have a CDL, it may be better to just refuse a breathalyzer test. This can have serious consequences in Arizona. If a police officer asks you to take part in field sobriety tests like standing on one foot and walking in a straight line, you are within your rights to refuse. But there are serious consequences to saying no to a breathalyzer test in Arizona, even if you aren’t arrested for or convicted of DUI. When you refuse a breathalyzer test in Arizona, your driver’s license- including a CDL- will automatically be suspended by the MVD for 12 months. Refusing a breathalyzer won’t guarantee you won’t be arrested for DUI, so it’s generally recommended to refuse field sobriety tests but NOT refuse breathalyzer testing.

Out-of-State CDL DUI Convictions

Being convicted of DUI will come with major inconveniences no matter where you live. However, if you live in Arizona and are convicted of DUI, you may be able to negotiate conditions to your jail sentence so that you are able to leave during the day for work. This obviously won’t be possible if you live out of state but were arrested for DUI while passing through Arizona. If this applies to you, you might be able to negotiate with the prosecution to serve your jail time in your home state, but you will likely have to bear the costs. If your CDL is from a state besides Arizona, your conviction will be sent to your home state and you will face the applicable penalties there.

Getting a CDL After an Arizona DUI Conviction

Obviously, a DUI conviction won’t make getting a CDL any easier, but it probably won’t completely disqualify you. You will need to wait to apply until whatever applicable license suspension or revocation that came with your DUI conviction is completed. However, a second DUI conviction will disqualify you from holding a CDL for life.

Don’t Let an Arizona DUI Ruin Your Career. Contact Our Aggressive, Experienced DUI Attorneys.

If you have a CDL and have been arrested for DUI in Arizona, you need to act swiftly to reduce the impact it will have on your life. A conviction could have serious consequences on your entire way of life. Arizona Zero Down DUI will work with dedication to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed, or negotiate for penalties that will have minimal negative repercussions for you. Whether you have a CDL or you just drive to get to school and work, we are effective advocates for all types of DUI defendants. We also offer affordable fees with payment plans available. Get started today with your free consultation by calling 480-833-8000.

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Contact Arizona's Preeminent DUI Attorneys

Arizona Offices:

Mesa Location:
1731 West Baseline Rd., Suite #100
Mesa, AZ 85202

Office: (480) 448-9800
Email: [email protected]

Phoenix Location:
343 West Roosevelt,Suite #100
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Office: (602) 609-7000
Email: [email protected]

Glendale Location:
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: (602) 509-0955
Email: [email protected]

Tucson Location:
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701

Office: (520) 441-1450
Email: [email protected]

Avondale Location:
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392

Office: (623) 399-4222
Email: info@arizonazerodowndui