Can I Get My CDL Back After 10 Years Downgrade in Texas, PA, Massachusetts, Florida, NJ and NY?

Author: Rohan Paulos
Updated On:

Every issues about CDL is often multi-dimensional and could be confusing to younger drivers. We often receive several queries, like can I get my cdl back after 10 years or more, or if I gave up my CDL can I get it back after DUI without much hassles?

First, let’s remind you that the trucking industry standards are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and each state set some law as well.

These standards determine what disqualifies drivers from getting a driver’s CDL to operate a CMV – commercial motor vehicle, especially DUI or DWI or any criminal act. They also set out the reasons for CDL interruption and reinstatement.

In this guide (read time is: 3 minutes), we shared detailed pro answers to above CDL problems as it related to offence like DUI and tickets.

We also share details about downgrading CDL license to regular. RELATED: Also check this popular driver license guide – What are the biggest truck you can drive without a cdl and different states law!


Can I Get My CDL Back After 10 Years?

If you have not had your CDL permanently disqualified due to repeated DUI, you should be free of any suspension periods and able to recover your CDL after ten years. After this period, the procedure will most likely be the same as if you were applying for your CDL for the first time.

How Do I Downgrade My C.D.L License to Regular?

How to change CDL to regular license? Here is how to change cdl to regular. The conventional way to do this is by voluntarily surrendering your CDL and obtaining a regular driver’s license, but there’s really no reason to go from cdl to regular.

Although you have a CDL, you might simply choose not to drive commercial vehicle. Having a CDL does not obligate you to utilize it.

The fact that it allows you to drive various commercial vehicle or CMV does not mean you cannot use it to drive regular cars. RELATED: Popular guide – can you drive a semi without a cdl privately?

driver sit on truck step

If I Gave Up My Driver Permit Can I Get It Back?

How do I get my CDL after giving it up? Suppose you voluntarily surrender without having DUI point or abandon your CDL and want to reapply after one year.

According to most law, you must first obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), then pass the relevant exams and provide a valid MER and MEC (unless these are already on file and still valid with the BMV) before the CDL can be issued to operate a CMV.

RELATED: Also check this popular guide – What are DOT law for gooseneck trailers in various USA cities!

What Happens If I Let My C.D.L Expire Voluntarily?

If you have voluntarily relinquished or surrendered your CDL and intend to reapply, by law, you are supposed to get the Commercial Learners Permit (CLP).

You will also be required to pass all the written and driver’s CDL skills examinations, plus submit latest medical certificate. Unless you had already filed for the MEC and MER and they are still valid, you will be required to file them.

If your CDL had been voluntarily surrendered, expired, revoked, canceled, disqualified, or invalidated for more than a year, you need to pass all the written knowledge tests as well as skills examination before you can be issued with the certificate.

However, some states law do not require you to take the test to upgrade again. Nevertheless, if you are caught driving with an expired CDL, you will face various fines, fees, and penalties.

Your license may be revoked as well. To avoid that, renew your CDL with the FMCSA Training Provider Registry on schedule. Please note that issues of DUI is 100% different and tackles differently too. 

Adults shake hands

What Does It Cost To Reinstate Expired Commercial Permit?

How to get my CDL reinstated and what is CDL reinstatement fees in Texas, Florida and Alabama? There is one law fit all that govern CDL reinstatement fee for DUI generally depends on the state you are in and the reason why your CDL was suspended.

How much does it cost to get your CDL after DUI? It costs between $10 and $100 to reinstate cdl after downgrade in most states across the country including the southern states of Texas and Florida.

Most US states including Florida CDL reinstatement fee for DUI is averagely $60. Unpaid fines or taxes will hinder your renewal process.

You must pay these fines to get your CDL renewed after DUI ban. Nonetheless, obtaining a new CDL will cost you $9,000; this includes the CDL tuition and other costs.

taking stock in ware house

I Surrender My Driver’s Permit, Can I Get it Back Non Medical Reasons?

In most places in the United States, you are allowed to voluntarily surrender your DL for several reasons. The surrender of a license is required if you are moving to another state, you have a medical condition, or your parent withdraws consent if you are under 17 or 18 depending on the state.

Can I Downgrade It Online?

Yes, you can change cdl to a regular license online. Once the “Effective Date” on the Downgrade notification has passed, you can go from cdl to a regular license online if you no longer need a Driver License/ Learner Permit. Thus, the commercial class paperwork you have in your possession becomes no longer valid.

Is It Possible to Renew After Past CDL Suspension?

No, you cannot. To get a CDL, you need a regular driving document that is valid. A suspended license is not valid and, therefore, you will not be allowed to get a DL if your current one is suspended, and same applies to DUI in most states.

If you need a CDL quickly and your doc is suspended, you should contact lawyers, preferably those with family law experience, to have your license reinstated. If they succeed, you can then apply for a new one.

Truck driver smiles

How Long Do You Have to Renew Your Permit After it Expires?

You have 60 days (depending on your state) after your CDL expires to renew it. If you surpass the 60-day period, you may be required to reapply for a CDL.

This process involves obtaining a Learners Permit (CLP), retaking the knowledge, road, or skill test, and paying additional fees.

FAQs On Getting it Back

Can I get it back after downgrade Texas?

If you were degraded only due to an expired medical certificate, your license has not expired, and you have not completed a licensing transaction since the downgrade, you do not need to retest. You must retest if you voluntarily surrendered or decreased your doc.

If your CDL or CLP was decreased due to an expired Medical Examiner’s Certificate, you must go to your local DMV to have it upgraded.

You must meet all CDL requirements, provide a valid medical variance or medical examiner’s certificate (if applicable), or certify an exempted status. Note that, DUI in Texas is more serious as you may to cross more hurdle to get reinstated.

Can you get a permit with a DUI in Florida?

Yes, you can get a permit with DUI in Florida. As is the case in many states across the USA, the Florida DMV (known as DHSMV) will not deny you a CDL because you have a DUI in your driving license history.

However, getting convicted of any serious traffic violation such as DUI after getting a CDL can result in the suspension of your CDL.

CDL drivers shirt tag

Is My C.D.L Still Valid or Not? 

How do I know if my CDL is still valid? A commercial driving license expires just the same way a personal cert would. Your CDL is usually valid for 5 to 8 years (the duration varies in different states).

The expiry date is often indicated just below the date of birth, the driving license number, or the issuance date on most CDLs.

To maintain this, you need to undergo a yearly physical examination that determines whether or not you are fit to be on the road.

What is DOT medical card expiration grace period?

What happens if your DOT physical expires? DOT medical cards are typically valid for 2 years. When your DOT physical or medical card expires before you renew it, you will get a notification that you are no longer medically fit to operate a business vehicle. 

And, you will automatically not be able to operate a truck even if your CDL is valid. Therefore, you should never let your DOT physical to expire.

Truck driving on highway

What is DMV medical card and examination?

To become a CDL holder and to renew your CDL after its expiry, you need to submit a medical examination report (renewed medical certificate) to your state’s DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).

The reason why every state department of motor vehicles requires a medical examination report is to ensure that every rig driver is healthy and well enough to drive a vehicle.

Every merchandising vehicles are heavy and complex machines. They can only be safely driven by fairly healthy individuals.

Do you have to retest if your C D L expires?

Suppose your CDL has been inactive for more than a year due to expiration, DUI disqualification, cancellation, revocation, invalidation, or voluntary surrender. In that case, you must pass both the written and practical tests before getting your CDL, and DUI offence may require much more.

Is downgrade to class C possible?

It is possible to voluntarily give up your CDL and switch to a class C or standard driver’s license, although there is no good reason to do so. You might just decide not to drive trucks even if you have a CDL. Even if you have a CDL, you are not required to use it.

Heavy-duty truck dashboard
Why is DUI so critical for drivers?

What is the North Carolina – NC permit cost?

Drivers of large semi-trucks exceeding a certain weight and those of vehicles carrying at least 16 passengers must hold a driver license in the state of North Carolina.

To get a driver license, you must fill out an application and pass the test for your knowledge and driving skills. The application fee is $40, and the annual licensing fee is $20.

What are the new DOT physical requirements?

Truck drivers must have 20/40 vision in both eyes and have their blood pressure checked. For a 2-year certification, blood pressure must be at or below 140/90, with or without medication. Another critical requirement for drivers also involves a hearing test that examine your ability to hear a forced whisper from a distance of five feet.

What disqualifies you from getting a C D L in California, Texas, Florida, GA, Illinois, and NC?

Disqualification for significant offenses, disqualification for serious traffic offenses, disqualification for railroad-highway grade crossing offenses, and disqualification for breaking out-of-service orders are the four types of disqualifications in California.

Driving under the influence of alcohol known as DUI or a controlled substance, refusing to take an alcohol test, abandoning an accident scene, driving a CMV while not permitted by law, and careless driving resulting in fatality are common felonies that preclude you from obtaining a CDL in California.

Excessive speeding, careless driving, irregular lane changes, driving too close to another vehicle, and texting while driving are further grounds for disqualification.

supervise for driving safety

How does renewal work?

A Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) allows you to practice driving on public roads with a licensed CDL holder sitting next to you. Obtaining the permit entails more than simply passing all of the knowledge test for the type of driving you intend to conduct.

A CLP is good for 180 days or until your Texas driver’s license expires, whichever comes first. You can renew CLP Texas up to 30 days before it expires, without the need to retake the knowledge exams.

How to transfer permit to Florida?

Once you establish residency in Florida, you need to transfer your driving license to Florida within a month.

The documents you need typically include your regular driving license, an out of state driving license, a proof of address, medical certificate, a proof of social security number, and a proof of identity.

Once you have gathered these together, you should visit the nearest Florida DHSMV office. DHSMV stands for Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

It is the Florida DMV and it has locations across the state. Visit one and ask to transfer a license and the entire process will start immediately.

semi mirror on highway

Can I rent a truck for DL test

Anybody training for a CDL can easily rent a truck for the CDL test. There are hundreds of companies across the USA that offer trailer and trucks for the CDL test. A good example is TTS (Truck Testing Services) in Pulaski, Pennsylvania.

This company has trailer and trucks for both Class A and Class B exams. The vehicles are manual transmission and have full air brakes as required.

Class B CDL qualifies you to operate school buses, large city or tourist buses / big city buses, dump trucks and box trucks.

How long does it take to get one in Florida

It generally takes about two months to get a CDL in the sunshine state. However, keep in mind that the actual length of time it will take will depend on various factors.

For example, if you do not have a regular driving license yet, you will need to train and get one first before training and applying for a CDL. 

How does Florida renewal Vs Texas renewal works?

To renew your Florida CDL, you will need to visit the nearest Florida DHSMV location. Same process applies Texas cdl renewal but require more steps when you battle with DUI.

You will most likely be asked to provide your current CDL, a medical examination report, a proof of lawful US presence, a proof of social security number, a proof of residency in Florida and Texas, and a proof of insurance. Of course, for the renewal to be processed, you will need to pay the required fee. 

Secured and lighted trailer park

Can I renew my license online? 

It depends on the state. In some states such as Florida and Texas, you cannot renew your CDL online. You need to visit the nearest DMV office in your state to renew your CDL.

In other states such as Massachusetts and California, you can renew your CDL online. You just need to visit your state’s official DMV website. Most states do not permit renewal online for DUI though you may begin process by filling form digitally.

Can you get one with a felony?

In most cases, you can especially if the felony was not violent. But while being a felon will not prevent you from getting a CDL to drive a truck, it will most likely make it quite difficult for you to get employment.

Nevertheless, you can still find employers who are willing to help out ex-convicts like yourself to get trucking jobs.

Trucking companies that accept suspended license

Most trucking companies avoid drivers who have previously been convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol (drink driving).

However, there are trucking companies across the United States that are willing to ignore the DUI on your record.

Examples of such trucking companies include P and S Transportation, Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Midwest Motor Express, and AAA Cooper.

Man smoking and driving

Requirement to getting your Class A?

To get a class A CDL, you need to be 21 years or older, you need to submit a CDL application, you need to provide proof of identity and residency.

You need to provide a medical examiner’s certificate and a medical examination report, you need to pass the set vision test, and you need to pass the set CDL knowledge test or CDL skills test hazmat endorsement.

Can I get one with a DWI in Texas?

You can lose a CDL with a DWI conviction. Two DWI convictions will most likely mean your CDL is suspended forever in Texas as well in California when you foul their law.

So avoid DWI if you already have a CDL. If you don’t, you can get a CDL with a DWI conviction as long as it doesn’t suspend your license.

How to get my C. D. L for free?

The only way to get a CDL for free is to get recruited by companies like Schneider that hire drivers and train them and then pay for their CDL. There are dozens of such companies across the United States.

You just have to find them and to present yourself when they are recruiting to get the training you need and the job after the training.

Track at sea shore

What happens if my California permit medical card expired?

When your medical card expires, you will receive a notification that you are no longer medically fit to drive a truck. This will mean that you will be in trouble if you do not get a new medical card as quickly as possible. 

Summary of getting back after 10 years and criminal defense

Finally we hope our detailed articles help to clear few of CDL questions, such as, ‘can I get my CDL back after 10 years’ have been adequately deal with? Now you have proper info how to recover CDL when you personally give it up, even if it demand a level of criminal defense.

If you voluntarily downgraded your CDL, there law that permits you to get it back. The regulation on whether you will need to take a test or not will depend on your state. We also define what it entails to downgrade CDL to regular license to regular, even states like Texas, Massachusetts, NJ, PA and Florida.

Red semi heavy-duty truck


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