Having a DWI on your record can make you ineligible for a Commercial Driver License (CDL) from the Texas Department of Transportation, depending on several factors like how long ago you got the DWI. Also, getting a DWI conviction can cause you to lose your Texas CDL.
Texas has several types of CDLs. Both Interstate and Intrastate (only within the state of Texas) CDL holders must certify that they are not addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- If you already have a Texas CDL and want to renew it, you can skip the skills test if you have not had any disqualifying events in the two previous years. Getting a DWI conviction is a disqualifying event.
- You can lose your Texas CDL for a DWI conviction. A second DWI can cause you to lose your CDL for life.
- Even if you can get a CDL after a DWI conviction, you will likely have a hard time getting a job in the trucking industry. Trucking companies do not want the liability that can come with hiring a person who has a DWI conviction. If you were to get involved in any kind of accident in the future, the plaintiff’s lawyer could accuse the trucking company of negligence for hiring someone with a blemished driving record.
These are a few of the many reasons why you should try to avoid getting a DWI conviction in Texas. Once the conviction is on your driving record and criminal record, you can experience adverse consequences to your job, opportunities for higher education, future insurance premiums, and your financial status.
You Might Not Need a Texas CDL
While you may be ineligible for a CDL in Texas if you have a DWI on your record, you do not need one to operate these vehicles:
- Fire-fighting or emergency vehicles when used as authorized
- Military vehicles operated by military personnel for military purposes
- Recreational vehicles (RVs) driven for personal use
- Vehicles that a farmer (not a common or contract motor carrier) drives to transport farm supplies, machinery, or agricultural products within 150 lines of the farm
- Air carrier vehicles that an employee of an air carrier operates exclusively on the premises of the airport
- Vehicles used only to transport cotton burrs or seed cotton modules
A DWI conviction can prevent you from getting the jobs listed above, even though you do not have to have a CDL.
Getting a Restricted CDL in Texas
Seasonal drivers can get restricted CDLs without having to meet all of the testing requirements of a regular CDL.
One of the many rules for getting a Farm-Related Service Industry (FRSI) CDL is that the applicant must have a good driving record for the two years prior to the application for the FRSI CDL. The Texas Department of Public Safety defines a good driving record, for purposes of an FRSI CDL, as meeting many requirements, including having “no convictions in any type of motor vehicle for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
Also, you will be ineligible for an FRSI CDL if, during the last two years, you have been at fault in an accident, had a driver license suspension, revocation, disqualification, or cancellation of any kind, or a conviction of committing (in any type of motor vehicle):
- Any felony involving a motor vehicle
- Any type of serious traffic violation, like speeding at 15 miles per hour over the limit, following too closely, or reckless driving
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Accident-related traffic law violations
An arrest for DWI can involve additional charges, like those listed above, that can disqualify you for a CDL.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can help. Call us at (214) 696-9253 for a consultation and to learn more about your options if you cannot apply for a CDL in Texas if you have a DWI on your record.