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Commercial DWI

Texas has stringent laws concerning operating a vehicle impaired by drugs or alcohol. The consequences can go even further for those hold a commercial driver’s license. Commercial drivers may not only have to face statutory penalties, but administrative penalties associated with their career. 

Licensing authorities can impose disciplinary action on their employees if they are charged or convicted of a serious traffic offense. A commercial driver may have their professional license suspended or even revoked entirely. In addition, commercial drivers are still subject to the harsh statutory penalties for a DWI such as fines and incarceration. 

If you or someone you know is a commercial driver and has been charged or convicted with a DWI, it’s important that you find skilled legal representation. 

DWI Attorney for Commercial Drivers in Harris County, Texas

There is a lot at stake for commercial drivers with DWI allegations. You could not only be facing serious criminal charges but lose your livelihood. It’s essential that you start taking the steps necessary to refute your charges. Find that strong defense today with Horak Law. 

Matthew Horak is an experienced criminal defense attorney with a strong focus in DWI offenses. He has represented many DWI cases, including those involving commercial drivers. Don’t lose your career without a fight. Call Matthew Horak at Horak Law for a free consultation. 

Horak Law accepts clients throughout the greater Houston metroplex area and surrounding communities including Gulfton, Greenspoint, River Oaks, and Midtown.

Call now at (713) 225-8000 and schedule a free consultation today.

Overview of Commercial DWI in Texas


DWI Consequences for Commercial Drivers in Texas

Unfortunately, commercial drivers are subject to both statutory penalties and career-related consequences. Typically, if you’re convicted for a DWI you will lose your commercial driver’s license for one year. Multiple convictions may lead to disqualification for life. 

Commercial drivers are also subject to statutory penalties. Texas law is harsh with DWI offenders and the legal consequences can be life altering. The following are the statutory penalties for a DWI conviction. 

  • First Offense – Class B Misdemeanor which is punishable by:
    • Possible fine of up to $2,000;
    • Community service;
    • Suspended license for up to one year;
    • Participation in DWI classes; and
    • Up to 180 days in jail.

  • Second Offense – Class A Misdemeanor which is punishable by:
    • Possible fine of up to $4,000;
    • Community service;
    • Suspended license for up to two years;
    • Possible installation of an ignition interlock device;
    • Participation in a court-ordered program; and
    • Up to 12 months in jail.

Texas Implied Consent Laws for Commercial Drivers

Texas has established a set of laws called implied consent laws that involves DWI chemical testing. Law enforcement uses chemical tests with bio-samples to determine if a person is impaired or not. The law states that if you drive on Texas roads you are implicitly bound by law to submit to chemical testing. Police officers must have probable cause to request a person to submit to testing 

Commercial drivers who have an alcohol in their system may have their commercial driving privileges disqualified. Even if he or she hasn’t been convicted for the DWI. A commercial driver may have their license disqualified for the following time periods if he or she chooses to submit to chemical testing with alcohol in their system:

  • Has a BAC of 0.4 or more – 1 Year
  • Has a BAC of .08 or more while operating a non-commercial vehicle – 1 Year
  • Has a BAC of .04 while transporting hazardous materials – 3 Years

Commercial drivers who refuse testing may also face license disqualification. A commercial driver may have their license disqualified for the following time periods if he or she chooses to refuse chemical testing:

  • Refuses to submit to chemical testing – 1 Year
  • Refuses to submit to testing while transporting hazardous materials – 3 Years 

Can a Commercial Driver DWI Disqualify Me for Life?

There are certain scenarios where commercial drivers or those holding a commercial driving permit could be disqualified for life. Typically, it takes multiple serious traffic convictions, DWI stops with a BAC over .04, or refusals for a commercial driver to lose their license. It’s important that you hire an attorney to represent you in court and are aware of the potential consequences for a commercial driver. 

A commercial driver can be disqualified for life if he or she:

  • Is convicted twice for any of the following offenses:
    • DWI;
    • Committing a felony with a motor vehicle;
    • Leaving the scene of an accident;
    • Driving with a suspended or revoked commercial driver’s license; and
    • Causes the death of another person through criminal or negligent means.
  • Has had any combination of two or more of the following scenarios:
    • A conviction of any of the above offenses;
    • Refusal to submit to chemical testing;
    • Having a BAC of .04 or higher while operating a commercial vehicle; or
    • Having a BAC of .08 or higher while operating a motor vehicle.

How Do I Get My CDL Back?

The best way to retain your commercial driver’s license is to hire a skilled attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney can work with and for you to create a strong defense for your case. Hiring an attorney can help you battle allegations before conviction. They may even be able to expunge or seal your DWI records after a period of time. 

Additionally, a lawyer can request a hearing to contest your disqualification. The request must be submitted within 20 days of the disqualification notice. During the hearing, an attorney can present evidence and facts that prove the disqualification should be refuted. CDL disqualification hearings are conducted in a county or municipal courts.

Commercial drivers who lost their license for life can get them reinstated after a period of time. The commercial driver must have been disqualified for at least 10 years and then meet the Department of Public Safety’s requirements for reinstatement. 


Additional Resources 

Texas Commercial Driver License Laws – Visit the official website for Texas Transportation Code, a collection of state laws concerning vehicle and traffic. Read Chapter 522 to find more information regarding commercial driver licenses, how to obtain a CDL license, and what disqualifies a person from gaining or retaining a CDL license. 

CDL Disqualifications – Visit the official website for the Texas Department of Public Safety and find more information surrounding CDL disqualification. Find more information on what offenses constitute disqualification, the Texas Hold’em Initiative, disqualification hearings and more. 


Lawyer for Commercial DWI in Harris County, Texas

If you or someone you know has been accused of a DWI in Texas, now is the time to take steps. You may be juggling both criminal penalties and career-related consequences. Professional drivers must be cautious and proactive in their defense if they wish to retain their license.

Contact Matthew Horak for an accomplished attorney who focuses on DWIs. He wants to protect your rights and profession. With his resources, attorney Matthew Horak can fight for you in criminal courts and disqualification hearings. Call today at (713) 225-8000 and schedule a free consultation. 

 Horak Law accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area and surrounding communities including Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, and Liberty County.


This article was last updated on November 27, 2018.

 

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1790 Hughes Landing Blvd #400 The Woodlands, TX 77380 (281) 907-4990
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5300 Memorial Dr #750 A Houston, TX 77007 (713) 225-8000
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Matt Horak Matt Horak is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2014

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