Skip to main content

Commercial Driver’s License And Drunk Driving In WI

How Drunk Driving Can Affect Your Commercial Driver’s License in Wisconsin

Anyone who carries a commercial driver’s license or CDL is held to a higher standard of driving responsibility in Wisconsin, particularly in regards to drunk driving. The state’s DUI and OWI laws are more severe for CDL holders, which can present additional challenges for convicted drivers because they often depend on their CDL status for work.

Every CDL holder needs to be aware of the special restrictions and requirements of their license surrounding drunk driving and OWIs, which we have outlined below.

Drunk Driving Impacts On CDL Holders

Just as CDL holders are held to a higher standard when testing for and obtaining their license, they are held to a higher standard when maintaining that license. In general, expect the fees, fines, and penalties associated with drunk driving to be higher and more severe for those who hold a commercial driver’s license than those who do not.

  1. Field Sobriety Testing. Generally, drivers in Wisconsin do not have to submit to field sobriety testing if they have been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. However, if you have a CDL license, you do not get a pass on field sobriety tests; you are legally required to submit to the testing if requested by an officer. Law enforcement officials use a variety of field sobriety tests and it is up to the officer’s discretion which test to use. Tests are usually one of the following three:
    1. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
    2. The Walk-and-Turn Test
    3. The One-Leg Stand Test

In addition to the three tests shown above, officers can administer a preliminary breath test (PBT) or request a chemical test later. As a condition of your CDL licensing, you cannot refuse to participate in any of these tests.

  1. Drinking and Driving. While other license holders may be able to have a beer or two and still be under the legal BAC level of .08%, CDL drivers can’t take that risk. CDL license holders cannot have a BAC over 0.0% in Wisconsin, even when they are off-duty and driving their own personal vehicle. Anything over .04% carries the risk of losing your license and possibly your job, in addition to other fines and penalties and may earn you a charge of operating with a prohibited alcohol content (PAC). Penalties associated with OWIs and CDLs are:
    • First Offense OWI: one-year revocation or suspension of the CDL for a first offense conviction of any alcohol-related offense.
    • Second Offense OWI: permanent revocation or loss of the CDL with a conviction of any alcohol-related offense.

Contact Our Wisconsin OWI Attorneys For Help

The stakes are high for CDL holders who rely on their license for their livelihood. If you are facing OWI charges and are worried about losing your CDL, contact the DUI – OWI attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices immediately. You have as little as 10 days from the time of the arrest to fight the charges. Quick action is necessary to protect your commercial driver’s license and your ability to do your job.

Schedule a free consultation by calling Eisenberg Law Offices at 608-256-8356 or by emailing us at today.



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.