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What happens if you get a DWI as a commercial driver?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

It’s important for all drivers in Texas to understand what the ramifications may be if they are arrested on DWI charges. But this is especially important for those who have a CDL and qualify as commercial drivers. They need to be able to drive for their career, so a license suspension or an arrest can have a much more dramatic impact on their finances than it would for someone else.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few key points about CDL DWIs in Texas and how they differ.

A different legal limit

First and foremost, commercial drivers have a different legal limit than other drivers. For most people who are 21 years old and older, the legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. But for someone who is driving a commercial vehicle, the legal limit is 0.04%. This means that someone who has consumed alcohol may believe that they are well under the legal limit when they are really over that limit if they’re operating in a commercial capacity at the time.

The disqualification period

For someone who has a first offense, their driver’s license will be disqualified for the next year. This is also listed as the minimum amount under Texas law, so it could be longer.

For subsequent offenses, however, that individual would be given a lifetime ban. Their commercial driver’s license would essentially be revoked.

However, it is important to note that the Department of Public Safety does have the option to reinstate a driver’s license, even if that person has been disqualified indefinitely. For the driver to be considered, 10 years must have gone by and the driver must have voluntarily gone through a program that the department approved. This applies to both alcohol offenses and drug-related offenses.

Criminal defense options

Even though a reinstatement is possible, it is certainly not guaranteed and it would still mean that the driver wasn’t allowed to work in their career for 10 years before getting their license back. The fines and fees may feel very small compared to the amount of money that person is losing while they are out of work. As a result, any commercial driver facing such allegations needs to know about their defense options.