Commercial Driver’s License and DUI in Oregon

Any driver who’s been arrested for or found guilty of DUI could face a suspended license, but the penalty could be twofold for CDL (Commercial Driver License) holders.

If someone whose Class C (non-commercial) license has been suspended, they have the option to apply for a hardship permit. If granted, this permit will allow them to legally drive under special circumstances.

Unfortunately, CDL suspensions for DUI in Oregon do not qualify for hardship permits. This means that even if your livelihood depends on having commercial driving privileges, you will have no recourse under Oregon law.

Keep reading for a breakdown of Oregon CDL laws and how they relate to DUI.

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Criminal vs Administrative CDL Suspensions

There are two different types of CDL suspensions in Oregon for DUI—criminal and administrative. In a criminal case, a driver has been convicted of DUI while driving a commercial motor vehicle. For an administrative case, a commercial vehicle driver need only fail or refuse a breathalyzer or other BAC test after an officer stops them for suspicion of DUI.

BAC failure can result in a 1-year CDL suspension, or even a lifetime suspension of a commercial driver’s license in Oregon if the BAC failure occurs while transporting hazardous materials.

If a driver refuses to submit to a BAC test, they can have their CDL suspended for 3 years based on “Implied Consent” laws. Under these laws, any motorist who applies for a driver’s license gives implied consent to field tests to determine any impairment. Therefore, if an officer suspects you are driving under the influence, simply refusing to take a sobriety test could lead to a suspension of your CDL.

A criminal conviction for DUI while operating a commercial vehicle will result in either a 1-year CDL suspension or a 3-year suspension for a conviction while transporting hazardous waste. A subsequent DUI conviction will result in a lifetime CDL suspension.

With both a criminal and administrative suspension, the license holder will not be eligible for a hardship permit for the CDL. A regular hardship permit may be obtained, but not one for the commercial driving privileges.

What if a CDL Driver is in Their Personal Vehicle at the Time of the DUI?

Certain Oregon CDL disqualifications apply even if a driver is convicted of DUI in their personal, non-commercial vehicle.

A CDL holder involved in DUI in their personal vehicle in Oregon will also disqualify the driver from participating in Oregon’s DUI Diversion Program.

Avoid Having Your CDL Suspended

So, now you know the risks: Under Oregon law, anyone convicted or even suspected of DUI while holding CDL privileges or by operating a commercial vehicle risks losing their CDL for a year or more; if you are convicted of a DUI in your personal, non-commercial vehicle, you will still lose your commercial driving privileges; and CDL holders are denied the option to apply for a hardship permit that could allow them to continue working despite having a suspended license.

The solution is simple: Make sure you find a Portland DUI defense attorney with the background and expertise to win your case before you lose your license. Don’t risk having your CDL suspended and your employment threatened.