Ask a Trooper: What are rules for DWIs with CDL license?

Published 9:17 am Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.

Question: If a person with a CDL (commercial driver’s license) gets a DWI in a private, personal vehicle, the test level that applies is .08 or more and he will lose his regular driver’s license but not the CDL, correct?

Troy Christianson

Troy Christianson

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Answer: The legal limit for driving impaired in Minnesota is 0.08 — but motorists can be arrested for DWI at lower levels. The consequences for driving impaired will vary for each DWI offender. A typical penalty for a first-time offender is the loss of a regular license for a minimum of 30 days or possibly up to a year, and possible jail time. Costs of a DWI can be as high as $20,000 when factoring court costs, legal fees and increased insurance premiums.

For those with a CDL, a first DWI conviction in any vehicle would result in a loss (disqualification) of the CDL for one year. A second DWI conviction would result in the loss a CDL for life. After 10 years, if you can show rehabilitation, a person could possibly get their CDL back.

Minnesota’s enhanced DWI enforcement and education efforts have been factors in the continued reduction of alcohol-related deaths. Still, drunken driving remains a serious threat, contributing to 95 deaths in 2015. There were more than 25,000 motorists arrested for DWI in 2015, and one in seven Minnesota drivers has a DWI on record.

The fight against impaired driving is everyone’s responsibility. If a person plans on consuming alcohol, plan ahead for a sober ride. If you see an impaired person about to get into a vehicle, speak up and find that person a safe ride home.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and of course, drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester,  MN 55901-5848, or reach him at