Pennsylvania CDL DUI Laws


If you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Pennsylvania, your license is your livelihood. That’s why, if you’ve been accused of DUI in PA and have a CDL, you have good reason to be nervous: your job is on the line.

Why you need an attorney right now if you have a CDL and the DUI was in a non-commercial vehicle

If you are convicted of DUI in PA, your CDL can be “disqualified” (suspended) for a minimum of 12 months in addition to any loss of license you get for the DUI. It is completely unfair. But it is the law in PA when it comes to CDL holders and DUI. It doesn’t matter if you were only in your private vehicle or car and not your commercial truck or vehicle. This means you won’t be able to work for an entire year even if the DUI conviction doesn’t result in loss of license.

If you have another “serious traffic offense” or a prior DUI, you could be banned from having a CDL for life. Imagine the impact that will have on your career, your finances, and your life, and you can see why a full understanding of CDL DUI laws and penalties is so important.

Additional recommended reading about consequences for a DUI while not in a commercial vehicle:

If you have a CDL in PA and are facing a DUI charge, it will be an honor for us to fight for you.

Pennsylvania CDL DUI Laws

For CDL drivers driving a commercial vehicle in Pennsylvania, the legal limit for BAC is much lower than it is for non-commercial drivers. The legal limit for CDL holders driving a commercial vehicle in Pennsylvania is incredibly low. A BAC of no more than .02 is the max. That’s a full 75% lower than the legal limit for non-commercial drivers or when you are in a non-commercial vehicle. At that rate, you could be considered over the limit after drinking a single beer. Wow.

For other CDL license holders in their commercial vehicle, a BAC of .04 – or about two beers – will put you in the High Impairment category.

If you’re driving a school vehicle that single beer will land you in the State’s High Impairment tier. A school vehicle not only includes school buses and school vans but any vehicle owned, leased or rented by the school district. 

As you can see, the laws for CDL drivers in a commercial vehicle in PA are quite strict. And the penalties are similarly harsh.

Pennsylvania CDL DUI Penalties while in a commercial vehicle

A first offense CDL DUI while in a commercial vehicle conviction in Pennsylvania will bring you:

  • a 12 month license suspension,
  • fines from $500 to $5,000, and
  • a jail term ranging from two days to six months.
  • You will also be disqualified for having a CDL for one year or more if you have another “serious traffic conviction” while driving your commercial vehicle.

For a second offense CDL DUI while in a commercial vehicle conviction in Pennsylvania will bring you:

  • license suspension remains at 12 months,
  • fines increase from $750 to $5,000, and jail time increases to anywhere from one to six months.
  • You will also be disqualified from having a CDL for life.

CDL drivers convicted of DUI often see dramatic increases in their insurance rates – both personally and professionally, and are often dropped outright by both insurers and employers.

Know Your Rights

Don’t let this happen you. We, at The McShane Firm, know that commercial truck driving is what keeps food on the shelves and just about everything in the stores comes by way of trucks. We need more good drivers on the road. There are enough bad ones.

You need to hire an experienced DUI attorney who will fight aggressively for your case. The DUI lawyers at The McShane Firm are among the most highly-trained DUI attorneys in Pennsylvania, and we’re ready to help. Contact us for your free initial consultation today and stay on the road. It could be the best career move you’ll ever make.

Additional recommended reading: