Getting a CDL or commercial driver’s license in Arizona is not that easy, to begin with. You must submit specific documents and meet strict requirements. Make a mistake while going through the process, and it may cancel your application as well.
Some drivers might assume that the presence of a DUI conviction on their record will make obtaining that commercial driver’s license next to impossible. But is that the case?
In this article, we will find out how big of an impact that DUI charge can have on your chances of securing a commercial driver’s license. We will also discuss what it means to have a commercial driver’s license and why you need to be careful with it.
Stay tuned if you want to learn more about this important topic.
Applying for a Commercial Driver’s Permit in Arizona
Before you can get your commercial driver’s license in Arizona, you must first obtain a commercial learner’s permit. Applicants will need to pay a set fee depending on what type of permit they want.
Arizona residents hoping to secure a commercial driver’s permit also need to submit several requirements.
First, you must get the appropriate application form. Fill that out and get it ready.
You must then provide some personal documents. Those documents include your Social Security card and something that can serve as proof of your driving experience.
An Arizona resident can use their driver’s license as proof of their experience if they have had it for at least one year. Also note that your one year of driving experience cannot be limited to a motorcycle, according to DMV.org.
You will also need to show documents that confirm your identity, your U.S. citizenship, and the fact that you are a resident of Arizona. There are different documents that you can submit, so let’s break them down further.
Documents to Prove Your Citizenship
Applicants must provide at least two documents that prove that they are a citizen of the United States. One of those two documents should also include a picture of you.
You will need to provide at least one primary document proving that you are a U.S. citizen. Examples of primary documents you can submit include your birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization, a certificate of citizenship, your passport, or your driver’s license.
If you cannot submit at least one document proving your U.S. citizenship that includes your picture, you may need to provide three identifying documents instead.
Any applicant who has changed their name will need to supply additional documentation as proof of that. You can use documents such as your marriage license or a divorce decree for that purpose.
Documents to Prove Your Identity
The same documents that you brought to prove your citizenship can also prove your identity. You do not need to look for other documents.
Documents to Prove That You are an Arizona Resident
You will need different documents to prove that you are an Arizona resident. To fulfill this requirement, you must submit two documents that contain your name as well as your physical residential address in the state of Arizona.
Both of those documents must also come from a business, an organization, or a government agency.
Arizona residents who want a commercial driver’s license will need to be medically cleared. To receive that clearance, you will need a Medical Examiner’s Certificate and a Medical Examination Report Form.
You can get your hands on those requirements after paying a visit to a medical examiner. Note that the medical examiner you go to should be a professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Upon receiving your Medical Examiner’s Certificate, you need to submit a copy of that to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department. That certificate must remain on file with the MVD as long as you’re working as a commercial driver. You will also need to renew the certificate you have on file every two years or even earlier than that in some cases.
After filing your medical documents, you may receive a notice from the MVD indicating that you need to provide additional information. Respond to that notice as soon as possible because your application may get canceled otherwise.
Applying for a Commercial Driver’s License in Arizona
With all the documents submitted and the requirements fulfilled, you can now move to the next step of the application process. You can now go for the commercial driver’s license.
You must pass a skills test before you receive a commercial driver’s license. Take either the test provided by the MVD or go to a third-party company for it. The only important part is to pass the actual test.
Do not only take the skills test right away, though.
You should prepare for it adequately since you are not getting your money back if you fail. Furthermore, you cannot retake the test immediately if you fail. Applicants will have to wait at least two business days before they can repeat the skills test.
Why Was My Application for a Commercial Driver’s License in Arizona Denied?
Hopefully, the process went as expected, and you now have your commercial driver’s license. However, that may not be the case. While evaluating your application, Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Department may have spotted something wrong with it.
For example, they will not give you a license if you lied about your age or included inaccurate information in your application. They will also cancel it if you failed to pay any of the required fees.
Issues related to your driver’s license may also lead to your application being denied. To be more specific, you will not receive a commercial driver’s license if they currently suspended your driving privileges or revoked them.
Will a Previous DUI Charge Complicate Your Application for a Commercial Driver’s License?
Now is the time for us to answer the question posed at the start of this article. Can you get a CDL with a DUI on your record?
The answer to that depends on your status.
A driving under the influence charge carries some significant penalties. If you are found guilty, you could find yourself in jail, hit with a substantial fine, and you may also need to render community work.
On top of all those penalties, the state of Arizona may also suspend your driving privileges. The suspension period for a first-time DUI offense is usually 90 days. If you commit that same violation a second time within seven years, your driver’s license will be suspended for a year.
So, why are we discussing suspension periods for DUI violations? That is because the suspension period could be the biggest hurdle to you obtaining your commercial driver’s license.
Remember that Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Department will deny your application if your driver’s license is currently suspended or revoked. That means applying using your current driver’s license while you are still suspended is an absolute no-no.
Wait until the suspension period has elapsed before you send in your application. The MVD will no longer cite it as a reason to deny your application if you have completed the suspension period.
Should You Mention Your Previous DUI Offense in Your Application?
Let’s assume that you’ve already finished the suspension period for your first DUI offense. With it behind you, there should be no issue when it comes to acquiring your commercial driver’s license, right?
That depends on how honest you are while filling out your application. Make it a point to note in your application that they convicted you of driving under the influence previously.
Provide as much information as you can about that prior violation. You will need to anyway during the application process.
Once again, that old violation should not come back to haunt you as long as you’ve fulfilled the terms of your punishment. The only way that earlier violation can get in your way is if you neglect disclosing it to the MVD.
DUI Violations for Commercial Drivers in Arizona
If you have been driving in Arizona for a while, then you probably know all about their DUI laws.
Drivers found behind the wheel of their car with a blood alcohol level at or above 0.08 percent will be charged with DUI. Register a blood alcohol level at or above 0.15 percent, and you are looking at an extreme DUI charge.
Because of where they set the thresholds, some drivers may still try to get on the road after having a drink or two. They assume that drinking that amount will not be enough for a violation.
Driving after you have had any alcohol is not a good idea. You can never predict what impact alcohol will have on your body. Even if you can avoid getting arrested because your blood alcohol level is not high enough, driving after one drink is still risky.
Motorists with a commercial driver’s license cannot risk getting on the road even after one drink of alcohol. The threshold for a DUI conviction when it comes to commercial drivers is lower.
Registering a blood alcohol level of 0.04 is enough to get you a DUI conviction if you have a commercial driver’s license.
To give you an idea of how low that threshold is, a person who weighs 100 pounds can register a blood alcohol level of 0.04 after a single standard drink, according to VeryWell Mind. Down two standard drinks and you could exceed the threshold for commercial drivers even if you weigh 200 pounds.
The point is you do not need to down a lot of alcohol to pass the legal limit for commercial driving. It is best to steer clear of alcohol if your livelihood is reliant on your driving.
Notification Requirements for Commercial Drivers Convicted of DUI
We have already touched on the penalties that an individual may face after being caught driving under the influence in the state of Arizona. Commercial drivers should know that they have other things to worry about beyond those penalties.
Arizona law requires all commercial drivers to send out notifications to specific parties if they are convicted of a traffic violation.
You must inform your employer within ten days of being convicted. Drivers also must notify the MVD within thirty days of the conviction.
Commercial drivers who neglect that responsibility will be penalized. They will charge them with a class 3 misdemeanor. You could spend thirty days in jail due to your negligence.
Suspension Periods for Commercial Drivers in Arizona
Commercial drivers can get their license suspended if they commit certain traffic violations. DUI violations can be costly.
The first time you drive under the influence as a commercial driver, the state of Arizona will disqualify you from owning a commercial license for at least one year. Get caught drunk driving with a commercial driver’s license a second time, they will disqualify you for life.
Drunk driving is discouraged because it puts you and the people around you in grave danger. Even if you somehow emerge from the drunk driving incident unscathed, you could still lose your livelihood permanently.
Defenses for DUI Violations
A DUI violation will not stop you from getting a commercial driver’s license as long as you abide by the rules. When you become a commercial driver, though, a single DUI offense could upend your entire career.
You need to defend yourself if you are facing an erroneous DUI charge. Partner with a skilled lawyer and question the evidence against you. Highlight any instances where they used a suspect piece of equipment to administer tests or question the testing method itself.
A good lawyer will also highlight any missteps on the part of law enforcement. If they violated your rights, your lawyer would hammer that point consistently.
Contact us at the Schill Law Group if you need a skilled and experienced lawyer to work on your defense. We will fight continuously to ensure that justice prevails in your case.