If you are a commercial driver charged with a DWI in Texas, you are likely facing the loss of your livelihood and life-long challenges in getting jobs, housing, and other opportunities. It may benefit you to consider your legal options, as our Lancaster attorneys can fight to reduce or avoid these negative consequences on your behalf.
It could be a smart decision to work with a Commercial DWI Lawyer in Lancaster, TX. We will fight to get you the best possible outcome for your circumstances. During your case, we will provide frequent updates, counsel, and answers to your questions. We aim to make the process as stress-free as possible–your current situation is stressful enough.
How Commercial DWI Rules Are Different in Lancaster, Texas
When you have a commercial driver’s license, you face greater scrutiny and are held to a higher standard than other drivers. Here are some of the ways a CDL holder is at greater risk for penalty:
- The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold for DWI is lower for commercial drivers than for standard drivers. In other words, it is a lot easier to fail a breathalyzer test with a CDL than with a regular driver’s license.
- In addition to the specific penalties that apply only to commercial DWIs, you also have to deal with all of the other penalties that Texas imposes on anyone who gets a DWI conviction.
- Under Texas law, they can test you randomly for alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances at any time if you have a CDL.
- If you have a CDL and you get convicted of a DWI, even as a first offense, you may lose your CDL for a year.
- To lose your CDL, you do not have to be in your tractor-trailer or another commercial vehicle when you get a DWI. They can take your CDL away if you get a DWI in any vehicle.
Your best option is to avoid getting a commercial DWI conviction in the first place. Don’t wait until the day before your hearing to hire a commercial DWI attorney. Many of the opportunities we need to fight for an optimal result pass early on in the process. In addition, we need time to investigate your circumstances and build a strong defense.
The BAC Level for a Commercial DWI
The Transportation Code of Texas, Section 522.081, states that a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more will support a finding of legal intoxication for a commercial driver. The statute goes on to say that any level of drugs or controlled substances detected in your bloodstream will violate Texas laws against intoxication.
The Standard Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit in Texas
The “legal limit” for alcohol in our state is a BAC of 0.08, according to Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code.
The term “legal limit” causes some confusion. You will get a DWI if you test at the legal limit. The actual limit of alcohol you can have and still avoid a DWI is any amount less than the limit, for example, 0.03 or less for a commercial driver and 0.07 or less for a regular driver. Being at the legal limit does not make you safe from getting charged with a DWI.
Consequences on Your Career from a Commercial DWI
As we already stated, you can lose your CDL for a year for your first DWI. The consequences are harsher for a second or subsequent DWI, even if you get those DWIs on your own time, not on the job. You can lose your CDL for life if you get a second or subsequent DWI.
Moving to another state will not help in that situation, because many states pull your driving record from other states. It is unlikely that you will be able to move somewhere else and start with a clean slate.
Standard DWI Penalties in Texas
These are the consequences you could face, in addition to a suspension or lifetime revocation of your CDL, if you get convicted of a DWI in Texas:
For a First Offender Convicted of a DWI
For your first offense, you could lose your driver’s license and will lose your CDL for a year. You could serve time in jail, which could last between three and 180 days. You could get assessed a fine of up to $2,000. A person with a regular driver’s license will have to pay either $1,000 or $2,000 every year for three years to keep their driving privileges.
For a Second Offender Convicted of a DWI
The second DWI conviction could result in a jail sentence from one month up to one year. Your fine could go up to $4,000. A person with a regular driver’s license could lose their driving privileges for up to two years. There can also be an annual fee to maintain one’s driving privileges.
For a Third Offender Convicted of a DWI
When a person gets convicted of a DWI for the third time, they can go to prison for between two and 10 years. The fine goes up to $10,000. The other standard penalties for a second offense apply as well.
First, second, and subsequent DWIs also come with mandated alcohol education classes and court fees, in addition to the penalties listed above. In addition, people often lose their driving jobs when they get convicted of a DWI and find it difficult, if not impossible, to find a new job that involves commercial driving.
Getting Legal Help for a Commercial DWI in Lancaster, Texas
Our firm’s founder is a former prosecutor and state district judge. He has more than 30 years of experience. Our team will fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed, and we will protect your rights in the process. You can contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg over the phone or through our contact form to get started.
Call or text (214) 696-9253 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form