All About License Suspensions for Commercial Drivers in Massachusetts, and How to Keep Your Right to Drive

Some of the harshest license suspensions in Massachusetts affect those of us who are holders of a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Several decades ago, Massachusetts adopted the Federal Government’s Department of Transportation standards and regulations related to commercial driver license disqualifications. Under these standards, CDL license holders can have their commercial licenses suspended even for violations that occurred in their non-CDL vehicles.

A conviction or violation of any of the disqualifying offenses listed below with no prior conviction or violation of any of the disqualifying offenses will result in a one year CDL license suspension. A second conviction or violation of any of the disqualifying offenses will result in a lifetime CDL license suspension.

If you are a CDL license holder and found to have been convicted of or in violation of any of the disqualifying offenses, your CDL license will be suspended. Neither the Registry of Motor Vehicles nor, in many cases, the Board of Appeals will issue you a hardship license on your CDL license. However, we may be able to reinstate your Class D passenger license.

CDL Disqualifying Offenses:

Operating a commercial motor vehicle OR any motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (A Continuance Without a Finding (CWOF) will count as a conviction for CDL license suspensions.)
Operating a commercial motor vehicle while the alcohol concentration in a person’s blood or breath is 0.04 or more.
Leaving the scene of an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle or a motor vehicle driven by the CDL holder.
Refusing to submit to a chemical test or analysis of breath or blood after operating a commercial motor vehicle or a motor vehicle.
Using a commercial motor vehicle or a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony.


If you are a CDL license holder, it is critical that you speak with an attorney who understands the CDL consequences prior to resolving any criminal matter that includes any of the disqualifying offenses.