Your CDL and your regular driver’s license are not separate. You earn the commercial designation by passing tests and meeting specific criteria that go beyond the requirements of a regular license.

A commercial driver’s license gives you a lot of responsibility because you will drive some of the largest vehicles on the road that are capable of causing serious damage in accident situations. Because of this, when you make a mistake, such as getting into an accident or even getting a speeding ticket, it can have severe consequences for your rights to drive a commercial vehicle. You should also note that infractions occurring in your personal vehicle may also impact your CDL.

Offenses resulting in suspension

The California Department of Motor Vehicles explains that if you have any alcohol-related traffic offense, then you will lose your CDL for at least one year. These offenses include refusing to take blood alcohol tests.

Other offenses that lead to at least a year’s suspension of your CDL include causing a fatal accident, committing a felony while driving a commercial vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident. If you have a HazMat placard, then your suspension may increase to at least three years for some offenses.

For second offenses or for any felony charge for use of drugs or alcohol, you will lose your CDL for life.

Out of service order

If you have an out of service order and you violate it, the first offense will result in a 90-day suspension. A second violation results in suspension for one year, and three violations will cause a three-year suspension.