Commercial Drivers & CDL Blood Alcohol Limits: What You Should Know

CDL alcohol limit

Truck drivers and other commercial drivers are held to a higher standard than non-commercial drivers. 

For everyone’s safety on the roads, CDL drivers in Ohio are subject to a lower legal alcohol limit than non-commercial drivers.

If you’re a CDL holder and need legal help now, get a free consultation with a local DUI lawyer at The Botnick Law Firm. We would love to build an attorney-client relationship with you today.

CDL Alcohol Limit

The legal alcohol limit for CDL drivers is .04, as opposed to .08 for regular motorists who are not underage

Any DUI charge in Ohio is a serious offense, but when someone with a commercial driver’s license is charged the legal ramifications can end their career. The attorneys at The Botnick Law Firm offer help for commercial drivers charged with a DUI, OVI, or other major traffic offense.

Even if you’ve already been convicted, our attorneys can help you win your appeal to get back on the road and on with your life.

DUI/OVI & CDLs: What’s at Stake for Commercial Drivers

Your commercial driver’s license could be at risk if you’re charged with a DUI or OVI. Facing DUI or OVI charges, failing a blood alcohol or OVI chemical test, or refusing to take a test could result in severe legal penalties. 

If your level is found to be above 0.04, you face suspension and possible loss of your CDL. If any amount of alcohol or drugs is found in your system, even under 0.04, you will be removed from the road for 24 hours.

The laws surrounding CDL holders and legal limits in Ohio are strict. Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles has intentionally enacted strict regulations and tough penalties to deter commercial drivers from attempting to drink and drive. 

Even if you are off the clock, your legal alcohol limit matters. Whether in a commercial or personal vehicle, drivers may be arrested and charged with a DUI if they exceed the legal limit. That arrest can impact their commercial driver’s license. 

If you have a CDL and you’ve been charged with a DUI/OVI, your CDL, and livelihood could be at risk.

How DUI & OVI Test Results Impact Your Commercial License

The results of your blood alcohol concentration test, your OVI drug test, or your refusal to test can result in a suspension of your CDL. 

The legal limits for commercial drivers include: 

  • Any detectable amount of alcohol — 24-hour suspension (no driving for 24 hours)
  • .04 breathalyzer test — one-year suspension
  • .048 blood test — one-year suspension
  • .056 urine test — one-year suspension

The suspension automatically increases to three years if the driver is convicted of these offenses while operating a commercial vehicle carrying hazardous materials. If you have more than one offense on your record, you will be permanently disqualified from getting a CDL.

If you are facing charges or a drunk driving conviction, don’t delay seeking qualified legal help from The Botnick Law Firm. We have qualified DUI lawyers to help you win your case and protect your livelihood.

FAQs About CDL Blood Alcohol Limits

Can truck drivers drink in their trucks off duty?

A commercial truck driver, or any other commercial driver, cannot drink in their truck or motor vehicle, even if they are off duty. 

Commercial truck drivers cannot store alcohol in the cab of a commercial vehicle. Even if it is suspected that a driver has consumed alcohol in the past four hours, they should be removed from the road for 24 hours per Ohio law.

Can I get a CDL with a DUI in Ohio?

For your first offense, you are disqualified from getting a CDL for one year—or three years if your DUI happened while transporting hazardous materials. 

You will permanently lose your commercial driving privileges on your second DUI or OVI offense. 

What disqualifies you from getting a CDL in Ohio?

If a commercial driver is convicted of a DUI or OVI, while in their commercial motor vehicle or personal vehicle, they can be disqualified from getting their CDL. 

Remember, commercial drivers are considered over the legal alcohol limit if their level is over .04, a higher standard than the .08 limit for ordinary drivers.

Author Bio

Botnick Law Firm

Robert Botnick is CEO and Managing Partner of Botnick Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm in Cleveland, OH. With more than 19 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Robert received his Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Best DUI Lawyers in Cleveland award by

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