Since commercial drivers are licensed to operate large vehicles that carry passengers or precious cargo, they are held to higher standards in comparison to noncommercial drivers. If a commercial driver is arrested for a DWI in Texas, the penalties include suspension of his/her commercial driver’s license (CDL).
According to Texas and federal law, a CDL holder can be arrested for a DWI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .04 percent. On the other hand, the legal limit for a noncommercial driver is .08 percent. Keep in mind, if a commercial driver was driving his/her personal vehicle at the time of the DWI arrest and his/her BAC is at least .08 percent, then his/her CDL will also be suspended.
Not only does a first DWI conviction for a commercial driver results in a jail term of up to 180 days and/or a maximum fine of $2,000, but also CDL disqualification for one year. However, if a commercial driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time of the DWI arrest, CDL disqualification will last three years. A second or subsequent DWI offense is punishable by lifetime CDL disqualification.
After an arrest, a police officer will issue the driver a temporary license until the suspension takes effect. Drivers will have an opportunity to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing to contest the suspension. If the court rules in the driver’s favor, his/her driver’s license will be reinstated.
Losing your CDL could potentially mean the end of your commercial driving career and losing the ability to support yourself and your family. If you have been arrested for a DWI, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you obtain the most favorable outcome in the ALR hearing and criminal court.