DUI Defense for CDL Holders in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Lawyers: Traffic, DUI, Divorce. Colgan & Associates Team Photo

Colgan & Associates, LLC understands that those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) rely on that driving privilege to earn a living. If charged with a DUI, it is important to understand the possible consequences a CDL holder could face. The attorneys with the firm are dedicated to protecting the rights of CDL drivers while achieving the best possible outcome.

What CDL Holders Need to Know About DUI Laws in Pennsylvania

DUI CDL license penalties are based on the driver’s license classification, not the type of vehicle being operated at the time a violation occurs. This means that being charged with a DUI in a personal vehicle will have consequences for a commercial driver’s license. In addition to affecting the status of a CDL, the penalties of a DUI conviction could vary from fines to prison depending on the number of convictions and the blood alcohol evidence and/or drug impairment evidence in the case.

It is also important to understand that medical marijuana card holders are not exempt from DUI prosecution in Pennsylvania. Even if the CDL holder is on a valid prescription medication, drug interactions resulting in signs of impairment could lead to a DUI charge. 

DUI with Chemical Test Refusal

Refusing a chemical test as a CDL holder results in almost immediate disqualification of commercial operating privileges. The refusal will also generate a mandatory ignition interlock requirement in Pennsylvania. Since ignition interlock is only available for suspensions and revocations, but not disqualifications, a Pennsylvania CDL holder must downgrade the license to a non-commercial driver’s license to be eligible to apply for ignition interlock. If there was a chemical test refusal reported by PennDOT, this will occur whether or not the CDL holder is successful in winning the DUI case unless the refusal is separately appealed and won at the trial court.

If the driver is a non-resident, PennDOT will forward the refusal suspension to the National Driver Registry and the home state licensing authority. If the CDL holder is a Pennsylvania resident, PennDOT sends refusal notices to the driver license address of record. These notices are time sensitive so it is important to make sure your license address is current and that you contact an attorney immediately.

Should CDL Holders Accept ARD?

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) allows for expungement of the criminal record as well as avoidance of a jail sentence. Unfortunately, it will result in significant consequences, including a mandatory minimum one-year disqualification of CDL privileges even if regular (Class C) driving privileges are not suspended as part of the ARD court order. It is important to work with an experienced CDL attorney to make sure your rights are protected before deciding on ARD.

Get Experienced Legal Advice from Our CDL DUI Lawyer

When your CDL is at stake, experience matters. With over 30 years of combined experience and specified training unique to DUI defense litigation, the PA DUI lawyers at Colgan & Associates have established reputations as tough litigators throughout Central Pennsylvania. We proudly offer free phone consultations to individuals seeking for the best resolution of their CDL DUI case.

Free Consultation with a PA DUI Defense Lawyer

Book a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to assess your DUI case and CDL related legal issues!

Frequently Asked Questions About DUI & CDL

Can a DUI Be Reduced to a Lower Charge in PA?

In some instances, a DUI charge can be reduced to a charge without a license suspension. The District Attorney’s Office must agree to this resolution and it is still subject to Court approval. 

How Can a Commercial Driver’s License Be Reinstated?

In the event a Pennsylvania CDL license is downgraded to comply with the Ignition Interlock Limited License requirements, the PA CDL holder must completely re-test for the CDL license. Our attorneys can assist with the process and guide your through the steps necessary to reinstate your license.


All of the information on the Colgan & Associates, LLC web site is for informational purposes only. Merely visiting our websites does not create an attorney-clent relationship with the law offices of Colgan & Associates, LLC. Nothing placed upon this website is intended to be relied upon as legal advice. Our office accepts e-mails from parties that visit this website, but the sending of such e-mails does not create an attorney-client relationship and therefore these communications cannot be treated as privileged or confidential.

Contact Us

611 Gettysburg Pike, Suite 201
MechanicsburgPA 17055

Phone: (717) 502-5000