Commercial Driver License (CDL) Disqualifications

September 29, 2020


If you hold a commercial driver license (CDL) or commercial learner permit (CLP), you may have your CDL or CLP disqualified for a specified amount of time if you are convicted of certain offenses. If you do not hold a CLP or CDL, but operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and are convicted of certain offenses, your commercial driving privileges will be disqualified and you will not be able to apply for a CLP or CDL during the disqualification period. A list of the most common types of convictions with the disqualification period is provided in the table below.

NOTE: You may also be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle if you are a CDL or CLP holder and are convicted of certain types of moving violations in your personal vehicle. For more information on those types of violations and other CDL rules, please visit Texas Transportation Code 522.081.

Conviction Disqualification Period
Alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident or commission of a felony At least one year for first offense, lifetime for a second offense
Alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident or commission of a felony while operating a commercial motor vehicle placarded for hazardous materials At least three years for first offense; lifetime for second offense
Two serious traffic offenses (i.e. excessive speeding, reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following too closely, etc.) within three years 60 days
Three serious traffic offenses (i.e. excessive speeding, reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following too closely, etc.) within three years 120 days
Railroad-highway grade crossing violations 60 days for first offense; 120 days for second offense within 3 years; at least 1 year for third offense within 3 years
Using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony Lifetime

Texas Hold’em Initiative

In an effort to improve border security, Texas has implemented the Texas Hold'em Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to reduce human and illegal contraband smuggling in commercial vehicles.

Any individual who knowingly transports an alien is subject to federal penalties, including a fine, imprisonment, and lifetime disqualification of commercial driving privileges.


In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to request a hearing to contest the disqualification of your CDL. If the request is submitted within the required 20 days, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will send you a letter to the address on record. The letter will provide the date, time and location of the hearing. Please allow up to 120 days for a hearing to be scheduled. Requests made after the required 20 days will be denied and you will be notified by mail that the disqualification remains in effect.

Hearings are conducted in a municipal or justice court in the county where you live. During the hearing, you are responsible for providing facts to the hearing officer who will determine if the grounds for the disqualification are valid.

NOTE: If you have already been through the administrative hearing process and the decision resulted in the disqualification of your commercial driver license, you may be eligible to appeal that decision.

CDL Reinstatement Requirements

If your CDL or CLP is disqualified due to the conviction of two or more serious traffic offenses, you will not have any reinstatement requirements. The CDL/CLP is automatically reinstated after the required disqualification period if there are not any other enforcement actions against your driving record. CDL and CLP holders are not eligible to take the driver safety course.

The Department may reinstate any driver disqualified for life for offenses described below after 10 years, if that person has voluntarily entered and successfully completed an appropriate program approved by the Department*. Offenses not categorized as drug or alcohol-related do not have an established course requirement; therefore, course attendance is not required:

  • Being under the influence of alcohol
  • Being under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater while operating a CMV
  • Refusing to take an alcohol test as required under implied consent law or regulations
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Using a vehicle to commit a felony other than a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance
  • Driving a CMV when, as a result of prior violations committed operating a CMV, the driver's CLP or CDL is revoked, suspended, or cancelled, or the driver is disqualified from operating a CMV
  • Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV including, but not limited to, the crimes of motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle or negligent homicide

You are not eligible to apply for reinstatement if you have been convicted of human trafficking or a felony involving the manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing of a controlled substance. To request reinstatement, you must be able to certify to the CDL Disqualification Reinstatement form (CDL-8) and submit it to the following address for consideration:

Texas Department of Public Safety
Issuance Services - CDL Help Desk
P.O. Box 4087
Austin, Texas 78773-0320

Upon receipt of your request for reinstatement, your driver record will be reviewed for eligibility and a notification of determination will be provided to you by mail. If you are approved for reinstatement, you will be required to apply as an original CDL applicant at your local driver license office. For additional information on obtaining a CDL, visit our webpage How do I apply for a Commercial Driver License.

*49 Code of Federal Regulations Part §383.51Texas Transportation Code §522.082 and 37 Texas Administrative Code §16.68

Driver Eligibility Status

To check the status of your driver license or to determine if you are eligible for reinstatement, visit the License Eligibility webpage. This page will provide you with information on what you will need to reinstate your driver license or driving privilege, including any fees you may owe. Once all compliance items have been processed and your mandatory suspension period has ended, your driver eligibility status will be updated to reflect "eligible".