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Commercial Driver’s License Suspensions

When any person has his or her driver's license suspended, it can create numerous problems. When the individual is commercial truck driver and the license is a commercial driver's license (CDL), the suspension directly impacts that person's ability to earn a living and support his or her family.

People who have received notices about their CDLs being suspended only have a limited amount of time to request a hearing to contest the suspension. Alleged offenders may have their CDLs disqualified for life if they are convicted of second driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses or used a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony.

Lawyer for Commercial Driver’s License Suspensions in Houston, TX

If your CDL was recently suspended in southeast Texas, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Horak Law defends truck drivers accused of all sorts of traffic offenses in communities throughout Harris County, such as Sugar Land, Pasadena, The Woodlands, Conroe, Richmond-Rosenberg, Pearland, Houston, Missouri City, Spring, League City, Galveston, and many others.

Matt Horak is a skilled criminal defense attorney in Houston who can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed and have your license reinstated. You can have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call our firm at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 to schedule a confidential consultation.


Harris County Commercial Driver’s License Suspensions Information Center


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Types of Commercial Driver’s License Suspensions in Texas

Texas Transportation Code § 522.003 defines a serious traffic violation as meaning either a violation of Texas Transportation Code § 522.015 (license or permit issued by other jurisdiction) or a conviction arising from the driving of a motor vehicle, other than a parking, vehicle weight, or vehicle defect violation, for:

  • excessive speeding, involving a single charge of driving 15 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit;
  • a violation of a state or local law related to motor vehicle traffic control, including a law regulating the operation of vehicles on highways, arising in connection with a fatal accident;
  • improper or erratic traffic lane change;
  • following the vehicle ahead too closely;  or
  • a violation of Texas Transportation Code § 522.011 (driving a commercial motor vehicle without a license or permit) or Texas Transportation Code § 522.042 (endorsement violations).

Under Texas Transportation Code § 522.081(a)(1), a commercial truck driver can have his or her CDL suspended for 60 days if he or she is convicted of two serious traffic violations that occur within a three-year period or one violation of a law that regulates the operation of a motor vehicle at a railroad grade crossing. Texas Transportation Code § 522.081(a)(2) establishes that a commercial truck driver can have his or her CDL suspended for 120 days if he or she is convicted of three serious traffic violations arising from separate incidents occurring within a three-year period or two violations of a law that regulates the operation of a motor vehicle at a railroad grade crossing that occur within a three-year period.

Under Texas Transportation Code § 522.081(b), a person who holds a CDL or commercial learner's permit will be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for one year if he or she is convicted of three violations of a law regulating the operation of a motor vehicle at a railroad grade crossing that occur within a three-year period; for refusing to submit to a test to determine his or her alcohol concentration or the presence in the person's body of a controlled substance or drug while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; if an analysis of his or her blood, breath, or urine determines that he or she had a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 or more, or that a controlled substance or drug was present in the person's body, while operating a commercial motor vehicle in a public place; or had a BAC of 0.08 or more while operating a motor vehicle, other than a commercial motor vehicle, in a public place; or on a first conviction for any of the following:

  • DWI;
  • Using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony, other than a felony described by Texas Transportation Code § 522.081(d)(2);
  • Causing the death of another person through the negligent or criminal operation of a motor vehicle; or
  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle while the person's commercial driver's license or commercial learner's permit is revoked, suspended, or canceled, or while the person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle, for an action or conduct that occurred while operating a commercial motor vehicle.

Texas Transportation Code § 522.081(c) establishes that person who holds a CDL will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for three years if he or she is convicted of any of these offenses listed above and the vehicle being operated by the person was transporting a hazardous material required to be placarded or refuses to submit to a test to determine his or her BAC or the presence of a controlled substance or drug and the vehicle being operated was transporting a hazardous material required to be placarded. An individual can also be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for three years if an analysis of his or her blood, breath, or urine  determines that while transporting a hazardous material required to be placarded he or she while operating a commercial motor vehicle in a public place had a BAC of 0.04 or more, a controlled substance or drug present in his or her body, or while operating a motor vehicle other than a commercial motor vehicle in a public place had a BAC of 0.08 or more.

Under Texas Transportation Code § 522.081(d), an individual will be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for life in any of the following scenarios:

  • if he or she is convicted two or more times of an offense specified by Texas Transportation Code § 522.081(b)(2), or a combination of those offenses, arising from two or more separate incidents;
  • for any combination of two or more of the following, arising from two or more separate incidents: a conviction of the person for an offense described by Texas Transportation Code § 522.081(b)(2); a refusal by the person described by Texas Transportation Code § 522.081(b)(3); and an analysis of his or her blood, breath, or urine described by Texas Transportation Code § 522.081(b)(4); or
  • if the person uses a motor vehicle in the commission of an offense under 8 U.S.C. § 1324 that involves the transportation, concealment, or harboring of an alien.

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Harris County Hearings for Commercial Driver’s License Suspensions

Some alleged offenders are able to request administrative hearings to challenge their CDL suspensions. Individuals must submit hearing requests within 20 days, and it can take up to 120 days for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to schedule the hearing. Truck drivers may be able to continue driving while waiting for hearing dates.

At a hearing, a Houston criminal defense attorney can fight to possibly get your suspension dismissed or possibly negotiate a deferred adjudication. If the hearing is unsuccessful, your lawyer may file an appeal.

Texas Transportation Code § 522.082 states that commercial truck drivers who have had their licenses disqualified for life may be able to apply for reinstatement so long as their licenses have been disqualified for at least 10 years and they meet the DPS's conditions for reinstatement. A reinstated driver who is subsequently convicted of another disqualifying offense will be permanently disqualified and will not be eligible for reinstatement.


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Commercial Driver’s License Suspension Resources in Texas

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) | Commercial Driver License (CDL) Disqualifications — Motorists who want to apply for a CDL in Texas must apply at a DPS driver's license office and submit all required paperwork as well as pass vision and knowledge tests. On this section of the DPS website, you can learn more about some of the reasons that CDLs can be suspended. You can also find information about hearings, occupational licenses, and reinstatement requirements.

Commercial Driver's License Program | Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) — FMCSA is the United States Department of Transportation agency that regulates the trucking industry, although it does not issue CDLs. The CDL division of FMCSA, however, is involved in the rulemaking process from implementation of new Congressional Acts to the modification of existing CDL regulations. Visit this website to learn more about rulemaking and regulations relating to CDLs.


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Horak Law | Houston Commercial Driver’s License Suspension Defense Attorney

Has your CDL been suspended in southeast Texas? You will want to immediately retain legal for help fighting your criminal charges and possibly getting your license reinstated. Contact Horak Law as soon as possible.

Houston criminal defense lawyer Matt Horak represents truck drivers in Brazoria County, Galveston County, Montgomery County, Waller County, Fort Bend County, Harris County, and Liberty County. Call our firm at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 or complete an online contact form today to have our attorney provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a initial consultation.


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Our Office in The Woodlands
1790 Hughes Landing Blvd #400 The Woodlands, TX 77380 (281) 907-4990
Our Office in Houston
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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