Will I Lose My Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) if I Get a DWI in Texas?
A CDL license applies to drives who transport more than 15 passengers, operate a vehicle that is over 26,000 lbs. or transport hazardous materials in large quantities. Thousands of Texans rely on their commercial driver’s license (CDL) to support themselves and their families. It’s a good job but one that comes with a lot of responsibility given the size of the vehicle and/or cargo carried for many CDL jobs. That’s why a Commercial Drivers License DWI is so devastating.
Commercial Drivers are Held to Stricter Regulations
Drivers who possess a CDL are held to stricter regulations when it comes to driving under the influence. While the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for non-commercial drivers is .08, the BAC limit for commercial drivers is .04 when driving a commercial vehicle.
Commercial Driver’s License DWI – First Offense
A first-time offense of a CDL holder driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance is a Class B misdemeanor. The commercial driver will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for at least one year. The driver could also be disqualified for refusing to submit a blood/breath/urine sample to determine the driver’s BAC due to “implied consent.” This means that subject to Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 724 a a commercial driver in Texas is considered to have consented to providing specimens of breath, blood, or urine for the purpose of determining the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the presence in the person’s body of a controlled substance or drug. A commercial driver could lose his/her CDL for three years if the driver is transporting a hazardous material on the first offense.
There are No Occupational Commercial Driver’s Licenses
While non-commercial drivers can obtain occupational licenses to travel to and from work or school with a suspended license, this is not an option for commercial drivers. Once your CDL is suspended. You’ll be unable to drive a commercial vehicle for a year, even if you are able to get a license to drive a passenger vehicle during that same time.
Commercial Driver’s License DWI – Second Offense
Should a commercial driver be convicted of a second DWI/DUI, the driver will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life.
Commercial Driver’s License DWI: Commercial Vehicles
Commercial drivers must also be conscious when driving non-commercial vehicles. If a commercial driver is convicted of a DWI/DUI when driving a non-commercial vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher, the driver will be disqualified from driving commercial vehicles for at least one year, or for life if this is a second offense.
CDL DWI Penalties
In addition to losing a CDL, the offender will also be subjected to penalties, fines, fees, jail time, probation, and alcohol education classes.
Getting a CDL After a DWI Conviction
To get a CDL, you must have an excellent driving history. A DWI of any kind is a serious mark on your record and while you may be able to pass the skills and knowledge tests, you are not guaranteed a second chance. In large part, even if you are able to get a CDL after a DWI, it will be up to any potential employer. If you have two or more DWIs on your record, you will most likely be disqualified from obtaining a CDL for life.
If You are Arrested for DWI in Texas with a CDL
If you have been arrested for DWI while driving a commercial vehicle and want to contest the suspension of your driver’s license and disqualification of your CDL, then you must request one of the following hearings:
- You have 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation – If you fail to request an ALR hearing within 15 days, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 180 days and your CDL will be suspended for one year
- You have 20 days to request a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) administrative – If you fail to request a DPS hearing your license will be suspended for 90 days and CDL will be disqualified for either 1 year or 3 years depending on if you were carrying hazardous materials.
Getting a DWI is a serious issue. If you are a commercial driver, it’s is potentially career ending. To avoid the consequences of a DWI with a CDL, it is important that you contact Clyde W. Burleson, P.C. immediately to request your hearings, to save your license and to prepare a defense for your specif case. Call today 713-628-1503