Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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Changes affecting Commercial Driver Licenses (CDLs)

Vehicles on a Wisconsin highway
Vehicles on a Wisconsin highway

2009 Wisconsin Act 28 (the biennial budget bill) included several legislative changes related to CDLs to improve Wisconsin's compliance with the federal regulations. 

All of the changes below took effect on January 1, 2010.

Failure to appear / Failure to comply / Failure to pay

A two year disqualification will be imposed for Wisconsin CDL drivers if the department receives notice from another jurisdiction for failing to appear to contest a citation, failure to pay a judgment entered against the person, or failing to comply with the penalties imposed by a court. Disqualifications will be reduced to 30 days when notice of compliance is received.

New residents applying for CDL

If a person is convicted of a disqualifying offense in another jurisdiction while they are not a resident of Wisconsin, and the other jurisdiction imposed a disqualification for that offense and the disqualification period has expired, Wisconsin will not impose a new disqualification as a result of that conviction.

Administrative suspensions

  • Administrative suspensions involving blood alcohol content (BAC) in any vehicle will now be treated as convictions.
  • If a person holds a CDL, and they are found innocent of the subsequent OWI / PAC, or the court dismisses the OWI / PAC, the administrative suspension will not be purged without a court order.
  • Credit for time served on the administrative suspension will be given for the disqualification arising out of the same incident.
  • For Wisconsin CDL drivers, disqualifications will be imposed for out-of-state administrative suspensions.

Out-of-service orders

  • Disqualification periods for violating out-of-service orders increase. A disqualification of two years will be imposed for two out-of-service violations (one year previously), and a disqualification of three years will result for three or more out-of-service violations (two years previously).
  • Disqualifications will be imposed for violations of an out-of-service order that are received out of state.
  • Forfeitures for operating while ordered out-of-service increase to $2,500 for the first offense and $5,000 for the second and subsequent offense within 10 years ($1,100 and $2,750 previously).
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service

For more information:

Last modified: August 15, 2011

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