Commercial vehicle drivers are held to a high standard in California. A person can lose their Class A Commercial Driver’s License in several ways. This guide will talk about the ways your Class A Commercial Driver’s License could be suspended, how to get it back, and a potential way to avoid a suspension. You can expect your Class A Commercial Driver’s License to be suspended for at least one year for a first offense, and in certain circumstances, it can be revoked permanently.

Driving Under the Influence

Class A Commercial Driver’s License holders should be extra careful with driving under the influence because there are multiple ways to be charged with a DUI, which could result in the suspension or loss of your commercial license. First, if you are charged with DUI with a 0.08% BAC or higher, you can expect your commercial driver’s license to be suspended. Note that you don’t have to be driving a commercial vehicle for your commercial license to be suspended. In other words, if you’re driving your personal vehicle when you are charged with DUI, your commercial driver’s license can still be suspended.

Second, if you were driving with a 0.04% BAC or higher while driving a commercial vehicle, you can also be charged with a DUI and can expect your Class A Commercial Driver’s License to be suspended.

Third, if you are arrested for driving under the influence and are mandated to take a Breath Alcohol Content (BAC) test, either the chemical test or the blood test, refusing to take either test will result in your commercial license being suspended. You can refuse to take the Preliminary Alcohol Screen (PAS) breathalyzer test that the officer may ask you to take after you’ve been pulled over without any consequences to your commercial driver’s license, but note that the BAC and the PAS tests are two separate tests with different consequences. The PAS test, which is generally administered at the scene where you are pulled over or where officers investigate your DUI, can be refused. The BAC test is also known as a chemical test. It is administered on a larger machine than the PAS test and is generally taken at a jail or hospital. You cannot refuse the PAS test or the blood test.

While Driving a Commercial Vehicle

While driving your commercial vehicle, you’re expected to drive with a high level of care. You can have your license suspended if you do any of the following:

  • Negligently drive a commercial vehicle, even if there’s no accident
  • Commit a felony while operating a commercial vehicle
  • Leave the scene of an accident that involved your commercial vehicle
  • Drive a commercial vehicle while your Class A Commercial Driver’s License is suspended or revoked

If your license is already suspended or revoked, you may face other penalties like increasing the length of your suspension or revocation, getting your restricted license revoked, or even losing your Class A Commercial Driver’s License permanently.

Can You Avoid Suspension?

If you are charged with driving under the influence, there may be a way to avoid getting your Class A Commercial Driver’s License suspended. If your BAC is low, you weren’t driving your commercial vehicle when you were charged, and your livelihood relies on your commercial license, you may be able to take a Helmandollar plea.

What is a Helmandollar?

A Helmandollar plea consists of pleading no contest to a wet reckless and being found not guilty of having 0.08% BAC or higher. To get this deal, the prosecutor and the judge have to agree. Once they do, the judge will conduct a bench trial, where the prosecutor and defense can put on evidence about your BAC. The prosecutor won’t put on evidence, meaning the judge will, by default, find you not guilty. Together, the wet reckless plea and not guilty on the 0.08% BAC or higher count will not trigger any DMV consequences, including and especially Class A Commercial Driver’s License suspension.

The attorneys at Lamano Law Office have negotiated many successful Helmandollar pleas that have allowed clients to avoid suspension and save their livelihoods.

How to Get Your License Unsuspended

A suspension for one year may seem like a long time, but there are steps you can take to get your suspension lifted and your license back. The first thing you can do is request a DMV hearing, sometimes called an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing, within ten days of your arrest. An APS hearing gives you the opportunity to convince the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to reverse the suspension so that you can continue using your Class A Commercial Driver’s License if your criminal case is ongoing. The attorneys at Lamano Law Office can request the hearing for you, represent you at the hearing, and bring your best defenses to prevent the suspension of your commercial license.

After completing the conditions of your commercial license suspension, if any, you can get your commercial license reinstated by filling out some paperwork and paying a fee.

If you have any questions or want to take to an experienced attorney about your circumstances, please email