Delaware’s Commercial Driver’s License Laws

The requirements to obtain a Delaware CDL and the reasons for disqualification.

Delaware has different commercial driver's license (CDL) classes and endorsements to authorize the operation of each type of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and cargo. However, these licenses can be revoked for certain crimes or rule violations. This article outlines the requirements for obtaining the different types of commercial licenses and the reasons for disqualification.

When a CDL is Required

A CDL is generally required for any combination of vehicle(s) weighing 26,001 or more pounds or designed to transport hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers. Recreational vehicles with living quarters and CMVs used by the military are exempt from CDL requirements. Additionally, a special non-commercial driver's license can be used for farm vehicles around the farm and emergency response vehicles.

Delaware's Commercial License Classes

There are three classes of CDLs based on the weight of the truck and/or trailer(s).

Combined Weight

Tractor Weight

Trailer(s) Weight

Class A

26,001 or more pounds

26,001 or more pounds

Over 10,000 pounds

Class B

26,001 or more pounds

26,001 or more pounds

Less than 10,000 pounds

Class C

26,000 pounds or less

26,000 pounds or less

Less than 10,000 pounds

The CDL must be sufficient to operate all applicable weights. For example, a class A CDL permits the operation of all weights of CMVs.

Endorsements. Certain cargo requires endorsements that are added to the CDL. For example, a driver who transports hazardous materials or more than 16 passengers will need the correlating endorsements.

Restrictions. The age and experience of the driver can also create restrictions on the driver's license. A driver under 21 years old will have an in-state restriction prohibiting interstate transportation.

CDL Testing

All applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a valid Delaware driver's license before beginning the CDL application process. The applicant must then complete a background check and pass the written exam to obtain a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP). The CLP must be held for at least 14 days and allows the holder to operate a CMV under the supervision of an authorized CDL holder. After holding the CLP for 14 days, the applicant can take the driving test to obtain an unrestricted CDL.

CDL Revocation and Disqualification

CMV operation has special rules and drivers can be disqualified for violations. Many violations can also include fines and possible jail time. These penalties cannot be avoided via diversions or masking and occupational licenses are not available for CDLs. A driver can also be disqualified for failing to maintain current medical examination certification or if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration finds a driver unqualified.

Serious Traffic Offenses

A driver will be disqualified for committing multiple "serious violations" within three years. Having two offenses results in a 60-day revocation and having three or more violations carries a 120-day revocation. "Serious traffic offenses" include speeding 15 miles per hour or more over the limit, reckless driving, erratic lane changes, following too closely, texting while driving in a CMV, and any traffic violation involving a fatality. Driving a CMV without the proper license and endorsement is also considered a serious traffic violation.

Out-of-Service Order

Certain actions, like driving a CMV after consuming any alcohol, will result in the issuance of an immediate, but temporary, out-of-service order (OSO). Driving in violation of the "out-of-service order" will result in penalties depending on the number of prior violations in the last ten years.

  • First offense. 180-day to one-year license disqualification (180 days to 2 years if in hazmat or passenger vehicle designed for 15 or more passengers), $2,500 to $3,500 fine.
  • Second offense. Two-to five-year license disqualification (three to five years if in hazmat or passenger vehicle designed for 15 or more passengers), $5,000 to $6,000 fine.
  • Third or subsequent offense. Three-to five-year license disqualification, $5,000 to $6,000 fine.

An employer that allows an OSO violation can also be fined $2,750 to $25,000.

Railroad Crossings

CMVs have special safety rules regarding railroad crossings. A violation will result in a minimum 60-day disqualification for a first offense, a minimum 120-day disqualification for a second offense, and a one-year disqualification for a third or subsequent offense. The driver's employer can also be fined up to $10,000.

Criminal Violations

A CDL will be disqualified for one year upon the following convictions: chemical test refusal, DUI (driving under the influence), a DUI in a CMV, leaving the scene of an accident, using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony, driving a CMV while revoked, and causing a fatality due to a CMV traffic violation. The disqualification will be for three years if the violation occurred in a hazmat vehicle. Any subsequent conviction of the above-stated violations will result in lifetime revocation. The production or transportation of controlled substances using a motor vehicle will also result in lifetime revocation.


Drivers are required to notify the state and their employer of any traffic violation convictions or suspensions. The state will also report traffic violation convictions to other states.

Implied Consent

All commercial drivers are deemed to have given consent to the chemical testing of the driver's breath, blood, or urine. A police officer who has probable cause to believe the driver has drugs or alcohol in his or her system can request that the driver submit to testing. A test failure or refusal will result in an OSO order, license disqualification, and other possible penalties.

Get Professional Help

Talk to a Traffic Ticket attorney.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you