What Happens if You Get a DWI With a CDL License in Texas?

Older truck driver drinks beer behind the wheel of his box truck.

As if having a DWI conviction on your record is not enough, DWI penalties for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders can be even more steep in the Lone Star State. Not only can getting a DWI with a CDL license in Texas ruin your career, but getting a DWI before you ever hold a Commercial Driver’s License might mean that you can never hold a CDL in the state of Texas. 

CDL holders face additional, non-criminal penalties for DWI convictions, and are held to different standards when it comes to drinking and driving, making it even easier for them to get DWIs than normal civilians. 

Javier Guzman, founder of Guzman Law Firm and maverick DWI attorney in Laredo, is here to talk about what happens if you get a DWI with a CDL license in Texas. If you or a loved one has gotten a DWI with a CDL, call Guzman Law Firm today at (956) 516-7198 to make sure that your rights are defended in the coming battle. 

Javier also offers relentless defense to CDL drivers who have been charged with federal crimes. If you’re facing federal drug trafficking or human smuggling charges as a CDL holder, your livelihood and freedom may be even more in danger than they would be for a DWI. 

What is the alcohol limit in Texas CDL DWIs?

The laws work a little differently for CDL holders in Texas because commercial DWIs are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, who hold commercial drivers to a different standard than citizens in personal vehicles. 

So what is the legal limit for commercial drivers? How much easier is it to get a DWI? For CDL holders driving commercial vehicles, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.04% instead of the usual 0.08%.

What happens if you get a DWI with a CDL in Texas?

Here are some points you should know about getting a DWI with a CDL in Texas:

  • Your CDL and your regular driver’s license will automatically be taken after a DWI with a CDL and the police will issue you a temporary driving permit. You have 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation hearing, as well as 20 days to request a hearing with the Texas Department of Public Safety if you want to save your licenses. 
  • If you already have a CDL, being convicted for DWI is considered a disqualifying event. A conviction for a first-time DWI in Texas does not mean that you will automatically lose your CDL, but that there is a risk of losing it. 
  • If you are convicted of a 2nd DWI in Texas, you can lose your CDL for life. 
  • Maybe the largest barrier to life after a DWI for CDL holders in Texas is that even if you do manage to get or renew your CDL, it will be very difficult for you to find a job in the trucking industry. Trucking companies are famously risk-averse and usually fear that hiring somebody with a DWI on their record will be a liability.

If you are arrested under suspicion of DWI while driving a commercial vehicle, you need to contact a Laredo DWI attorney before it is too late. They can not only help you protect your rights in a court of law, but can help you schedule administrative hearings in an attempt to save your licenses, guide you through the administrative processes, and advise you on what to say (and not to say) to your employer. 

What disqualifies you from a CDL in Texas?

What will get your CDL taken away in Texas? Texas CDL disqualifications according to Texas Transportation Code 522.081 are as follows:

  • Two serious traffic offenses within three years (including excessive speeding, reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, and following too closely) will result in a 60-day disqualification.
  • Three serious traffic offenses within three years will result in a 120-day disqualification.
  • Railroad-highway grade crossing violations will result in a 60-day disqualification for a first offense, 120-day disqualification for a second offense within 3 years, and at least a 1-year disqualification for a third offense within 3 years.
  • The following are minimum one-year suspensions for a first offense, three-year minimums for a first offense if the vehicle is placarded for hazardous materials, and lifetime suspensions for a second offense:
    • Being convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol.
    • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Using a commercial vehicle in the commission of a felony is a lifetime disqualification. 

The Texas DPS also states that a person convicted of DWI with a CDL in Texas may be reinstated after 10 years if they have completed an appropriate program approved by the Department. 

Can you do deferred adjudication with a CDL in Texas?

A deferred adjudication is often an option for DWI in Texas 1st offense charges, but can you do deferred adjudication if I got a DWI with a CDL? 

The answer is simple and is unfortunately a no. Judges cannot offer deferred adjudication to CDL holders for DWIs or any other traffic violations. The only way to get a DWI off your record if you have a CDL is to either win your case or have it dismissed by a judge, and you can only do that by working with the best DWI attorney Laredo has to offer. 

Penalties for a DWI with a CDL in Texas

Outside of the fact that it is easier for CDL holders to get a DWI and that a DWI can have an immediate and direct impact on their jobs and livelihood, the penalties for a DWI with a CDL in Texas are the same as they are for non-CDL holders. 

Penalties for various DWI offenses in Texas are as follows:

OffenseChargeMaximum FineJail Time
First offense DWIClass B misdemeanor$2,0003 – 180 days
Second offense DWIClass A misdemeanor$4,000180 days – 2 years
Third and fourth DWI offensesThird-degree felony$10,0002 – 10 years
Intoxication assaultThird-degree felony$10,0002 – 10 years
Intoxication manslaughterSecond-degree felony$10,0002 – 20 years

Whether you’ve just been arrested for your first DWI offense in Texas or you’re facing charges of intoxication manslaughter, if you don’t want your life turned upside down, you need to work with an aggressive, winning DWI attorney who can protect you in a court of law.

Worried about your DWI with a CDL license in Texas? Call Guzman Law Firm today!

DWIs for non-CDL holders are already an incredibly serious matter that can have life-altering consequences, but for truck drivers, DWIs with a CDL license in Texas can truly turn your life upside down. 

If you plan on keeping your job and your freedom intact, you’re going to need an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney in Laredo TX in your corner. Getting a DWI with a CDL in Texas can not only mean losing your job as a truck driver but never being able to work in the industry again. 

Javier Guzman is the only ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist in Laredo. This is the highest designation offered by the American Chemical Society to attorneys and it means that he knows how to make sure the laws of the state and the laws of science don’t work against you. 

Call Guzman Law Firm today at (956) 516-7198 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and begin protecting your livelihood. 

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