Commercial Driver Defense


    Has your commercial drivers license been unfairly disqualified by the DC DMV? If you are facing CDL disqualification call Riley Legal immediately to get help (202) 235-5077. You may have defenses or options available to you to stop the disqualification or to get reinstated- but you must act quickly.

    Unlike regular drivers, if your CDL is suspended, revoked or disqualified you will not only lose your privilege to operate a vehicle but you will also lose the right to practice your chosen profession. In general, for out of state CDL holders, a CDL suspension, revocation or disqualification by the DC DMV functions as a hold in the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) or driver registry that prevents you from using your CDL in any other state. You worked hard to obtain your CDL and there is no way you can afford to lose it.

    Your commercial drivers license can be disqualified for various reasons. The most common reasons for disqualification are if you are convicted or plead guilty to any of the following:

    • DUI/DWI while driving a commercial vehicle. Commercial drivers have a lower blood alcohol threshold for drunk driving charges; “while under the influence of alcohol” means an alcohol concentration of 0.04 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine.
    • DUI/DWI refusal to submit to alcohol testing
    • Leaving the scene of an accident that involves a commercial motor vehicle operated by the person
    • Using a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony
    • Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a commercial vehicle

    A CDL holder who is found to have committed any of the above may have his or her commercial driver’s license:

    • suspended for one year for the first violation,
    • from 10 years to life for the second violation, and
    • for life for the third violation.

    Your commercial drivers license can also be disqualified if you are convicted or plead guilty of driving after you were issued an out-of-service order and that order has not been cancelled or withdrawn. The penalty is the suspension of your commercial driver’s license for 90 days to one year for the first violation, from one to 5 years for the second violation in any 10-year period, and from 3 to 5 years for the third violation in any 10-year period.

    A CDL can also be disqualified if you are found liable or guilty of 2 or more serious traffic violations within a 3-year period. Serious violations are

    • Speeding in a commercial vehicle at a speed fifteen (15) or more miles per hour in excess of the posted speed limit;
    • Reckless driving in any motor vehicle;
    • Violating a District or state traffic law, rule or regulation in connection with a fatal traffic accident in any motor vehicle
    • Improper or erratic traffic lane changes while operating a commercial vehicle
    • Operating a commercial vehicle without obtaining a commercial driver's license;
    • Following the vehicle ahead too closely while operating a commercial vehicle
    • Driving a commercial vehicle without the proper class of CDL and/or endorsement for the specific vehicle group being operated, or the number of passengers or type of cargo being transported.
    • Driving a commercial motor vehicle while not in possession of a commercial driver's license.
    • Texting while driving
    • Use of a hand-held mobile telephone while driving

    A CDL holder who is found “guilty” of committing any of the above may have his or her commercial driver’s license disqualified for sixty (60) days for any person convicted of two (2) serious traffic violations; or one hundred and twenty (120) days for any person convicted of three (3) or more serious traffic violations.


    Sean Riley is an experienced traffic attorney practicing law in Washington D.C. He is a knowledgeable authority on D.C. traffic laws and regulations and interrelated areas of administrative and criminal law. Attorney Riley is known for zealous client representation and a commitment to results.

    For more information about our ability to represent commercial drivers on D.C. disqualifications, traffic infractions and criminal charges call (202) 235-5077 for a free consultation.