van speeding

Section 383.51 of the Federal Code of Regulations governs the disqualification of drivers holding a CDL or CLP from operating a commercial motor vehicle after certain “major offenses.” According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, such disqualifications only apply if the offense was committed while driving a commercial motor vehicle, but state regulations may require suspension or revocation of your commercial driver’s license even if the offense was committed in your private vehicle.  A Philadelphia DWI attorney can help you determine how Pennsylvania commercial vehicle regulations apply to you.

What are the Mandatory Federal Consequences for a DUI Conviction in Philadelphia?

If you have been convicted of the following serious offenses while operating your commercial vehicle, then your CDL license is subject to suspension accordingly:

  • Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol – 1st offense: 1-year suspension; 2nd offense: Lifetime revocation;
  •  Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol while Transporting Hazardous Materials – 1st offense: 3-year suspension; 2nd offense: Lifetime revocation;
  • Driving Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance: Same as above, and
  • Refusing to Submit to Chemical Testing: Same as above.

While such convictions will also carry serious criminal consequences, such as fines, jail time, and suspension of your personal license, they will also carry employment consequences.

Pennsylvania DUI Penalties

If you are convicted of driving under the influence in Pennsylvania, you may be subject to the following consequences in addition to federal suspension of your commercial driver’s license:

  • First Offense: No minimum jail time, $300 fine, no license suspension;
  • Second Offense: Up to six months in jail and one-year license suspension;
  • Third Offense: Up to two years in jail, $5,000 in fines, and one-year license suspension.

Career DUI Consequences

Although federal and Pennsylvania consequences for a first-time DUI conviction may not seem severe, the real consequences present themselves in the private sector. Most private employers will likely terminate your employment upon a first-time conviction, and even after your license is reinstated, that conviction may remain on your driving record for life. Accordingly, many employers will not hire someone with a DUI conviction on his or her record, as it creates liability on their part for a tort called “negligent hiring” and will increase their insurance rates. Even a first-time DUI conviction for commercial drivers can spell the end of your career.

Contact Philadelphia DUI Attorney Brian Zeiger to Discuss Your Options

If you hold a commercial driver’s license and have been charged with driving under the influence either in your personal or commercial vehicle, contact a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to analyze the facts of your case and discuss your options, and an experienced criminal defense attorney such as attorney Brian Zeiger may be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced. Don’t delay – contact us immediately at 215-546-0340 or online.


Brian J. Zeiger, Esquire, is an experienced and successful criminal defense and civil rights attorney. He is a seasoned trial lawyer with significant experience before juries and judges. Brian understands civil rights cases, including Taser, Wrongful Death, Excessive Force, Police Brutality, Police Misconduct, Malicious Prosecution, Monell Claims, Sexual Assault, Prisoner’s Rights, Time Credit, Medical Malpractice, and Medical Indifference.