Commercial Vehicle DWI

The state of Texas is notorious for having some of the harshest penalties in the nation for driving while intoxicated. Unfortunately, commercial drivers face even further enhanced penalties if they’ve been arrested or charged with DWI. The punishment for a CDL DWI doesn’t only include possible jail time and extreme fines, but administrative consequences as well. A commercial driver could easily lose their license and livelihood from a DWI.

Commercial driving licensing agencies reserve the right to discipline their drivers if charged or convicted with a serious traffic offense such as DWI. Many licensing agencies will suspend or disqualify drivers who are convicted of DWI. In some cases, a commercial driver will lose their license for simply refusing to comply with DWI testing. When this happens the only way the CDL driver can continue working is if they contest the license suspension or wait until the suspension term is over. Obviously, these long lapses could be detrimental to one’s career.

If you or someone you know has been charged or arrested for an CDL DWI, it’s imperative you seek experienced legal representation immediately.

CDL DWI Defense Attorney in Houston, Texas

Have you been charged with DWI or refused DWI testing and work as a commercially licensed driver? If so, it’s crucial you find skilled legal representation as soon as possible. A DWI conviction could mean a lifetime disqualification as a commercial license driver (CDL). If you don’t find proper legal counsel in time, you could lose both your freedom and career.

We recommend you get in contact with CDL defense lawyer Brain Benken of The Benken Law Firm. Attorney Benken is equipped with 30 years of courtroom experience and a passion for defense. He can analyze your case, answer all your legal questions and begin building a sturdy defense plan. To set up your first consultation free of charge, call The Benken Law Firm at (713) 223 - 4051.

The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County and Houston area including West University Place, Midtown, Hunter Creek Village and Rice Military.

Overview of CDL DWI Cases in TX

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Texas CDL Disqualifications for DWI

Commercial drivers must operate large machinery that could be transporting hazardous or dangerous materials across thousands of miles. Because of the high-risk nature of the job, licensing agencies have high expectations for their CDL drivers. The rules for becoming and maintaining your CDL are stringent and violating any of those rules by committing a serious traffic offense such as DWI could jeopardize your career. In addition, there is a “no-look-back” period for CDL drivers with prior DWI offenses, which means you could lose your commercial driver’s license for an event that happened years ago.

Your CDL will be disqualified for life if:

  • You have been convicted twice for any of the following crimes:
  • You have had a combination of two or more of the following scenarios:
    • Refused chemical testing;
    • A BAC of .04 or higher while operating a commercial vehicle;
    • A BAC of .08 or higher while operating a motor vehicle; or
    • A conviction for any of the offenses listed above

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What Happens If I Refuse DWI Testing as a CDL Driver?

In Texas, implied consent laws encourage drivers who have been pulled over for DWI to comply with chemical testing such as a breathalyzer test, blood draw or urinalysis. Violating implied consent laws isn’t a criminal act, but an administrative one. This means most drivers face an administrative suspension after they refuse DWI testing for a period.

The rules for commercial drivers are much more stringent. Having a blood alcohol concentration level of .04 or above is illegal for commercial drivers. If you’re found to have a BAC of .04 or more, then your CDL will be disqualified for a period of time. If you choose to submit and fail chemical testing, your CDL will be disqualified for:

  • 1 year if you have a BAC of .04 or more;
  • 1 year if you have a BAC of .08 or more while operating a non-commercial vehicle; or
  • 3 years if you have a BAC of .04 while transporting hazardous materials

Refusing DWI testing will result in your CDL being disqualified for:

  • 1 year for a first refusal; or
  • 3 years if you refused testing while transporting hazardous materials

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How Long After a DUI Can You Apply for a CDL?

The best way to secure your CDL is to get in contact with an experienced DWI defense attorney. Having a skilled traffic crimes lawyer on your side will make a world of a difference when building your defense. They can examine the facts of the case and determine if any mistakes were made during your arrest, booking or the trial process. They can then analyze the prosecution’s argument and poke holes in it to cast reasonable doubt. With time, your attorney may even help you expunge or seal your charges if you avoid conviction.

You can request a hearing to contest your disqualified CDL with legal counsel. However, you must act quickly. You will only have 20 days to file a request after you’ve received a disqualification notice. So, acting fast after you’ve been arrested with a CDL DWI is not just recommended, but crucial if you want to save your CDL.

At the hearing, you and your attorney can present evidence and argument to prove why your disqualification should be refuted. The hearing can be held at either a county or municipal court and will be overlooked by an administrative judge.

If you don’t file a for a CDL disqualification hearing, then you will have to wait quite a long time to regain your license. To have your CDL reinstated, you must wait ten years after your disqualification and have no other traffic violations on your record.

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Penalties for CDL DWI in Texas

The statutory penalties for DWI are the same for commercially licensed drivers as it would be for a non-commercial driver. The penalties for driving while intoxicated under the Texas Penal Code can be found below:

  • First Offense – Class B Misdemeanor
    • A fine of up to $2,000;
    • Up to 100 hours of community service;
    • License suspension for up to one year;
    • Participation in DWI classes; and
    • Up to 180 days in jail.
  • Second Offense – Class A Misdemeanor
    • A fine of up to $4,000;
    • Up to 200 hours of community service;
    • License suspension for up to two years;
    • Installation of an ignition interlock device;
    • Participation in a diversion program; and
    • Up to 12 months in jail.

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Additional Resources

CDL Disqualifications – Visit the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to learn more about CDL disqualifications. Access the site to learn which traffic violations could result in a CDL disqualification and how to get your CDL reinstated.

Commercial Driver Laws in Texas – Visit the official website of Texas Legislation to learn more about commercial driver regulations and penalites for violating them. Access the site to learn more about how to receive a CDL, what disqualifies you from applying and more.

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Houston DWI Defense Attorney for CDL Drivers in Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with driving while intoxicated, consult The Benken Law Firm. DWI defense lawyer Brian Benken can start planning your defense with you as soon as possible. With over 30 years of exclusively criminal defense practice, he knows what it takes to defend a serious CDL DWI charge. Take charge and fight back against your allegations, by gaining experienced counsel with Houston DWI lawyer Brian Benken.

You can reach The Benken Law Firm by simply calling (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation free. At the appointment Brian Benken will answer all your legal questions and disclose all your available legal options to you. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area and throughout all parts in Texas.

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(713) 223 - 4051
Benken Law