Per Texas Transportation Code § 522.101, commercial vehicle drivers in Texas are not allowed to have any measurable amount of alcohol in their system while driving. If a commercial driver is stopped, and they have a measurable blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level below 0.04%, they may be forced to stop driving for 24 hours. However, if their BAC is measured at 0.04% or above, they may face a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge.
This policy is in line with the national alcohol limit for commercial drivers of 0.04% BAC set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This limit is stricter than the normal 0.08% BAC limit that applies to regular drivers under Texas DWI law.
Types of Commercial Vehicles
There are a few requirements a vehicle must have to be considered a commercial motor vehicle. A commercial motor vehicle may include:
- Vehicles that weigh 26,000 pounds or more
- Vehicles designed to carry 16 or more people
- Vehicles that carry certain hazardous materials
The FMCSA sets stricter alcohol limits for commercial drivers due to the dangers posed by the large, heavy vehicles they operate. A second’s delay in the response time of a commercial vehicle operator could mean life or death for themselves, their passengers, or others on the road.
Potential DWI Repercussions in Texas
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a charge that should not be taken lightly. In the state of Texas, the punishment for DWI varies based on the circumstances. If you receive a DWI for the first time, you could be looking at 72 hours to 6 months in jail. However, Texas does not have a mandatory minimum jail time for first-time DWI convicts.
If you receive a DWI for a second time, you must serve a minimum of 72 hours of jail time. The punishment could range from 30 days to a year in jail, though.
While a DWI in itself is a misdemeanor, certain factors can get the charges elevated. If others were injured in an accident and you get a DWI, the charge may be elevated to a felony. In addition, this charge means your record can never be sealed if you are convicted.
An open container in your vehicle can elevate the offense as well, from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor. You may also be looking at jail time in this instance.
DWI Penalties for Commercial Drivers
Additional DWI consequences may apply to commercial drivers. If you are a first-time offender, a DWI can cause a commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspension for up to a year. After the second offense, your CDL may be suspended for life. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), some lifetime CDL suspensions may be overturned after 10 years.
However, even if you get your CDL reinstated, this does not mean getting a job will be that easy. Future employers may be able to see a DWI on your record when you apply for a job. In their eyes, you could be a serious liability if you were to be convicted again, and they may choose to hire another driver instead.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg May Be Able to Help You
If you were charged with a DWI while operating a commercial vehicle, you could face severe punishment. In addition to fines and jail time, you may lose your CDL and your ability to work for a living driving commercial vehicles.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg defends people charged with DWI in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and in surrounding areas. Randall B. Isenberg has a legal career that spans over 30 years, including time as a Senior Chief Felony Prosecutor and a State District Trial Judge.
When you work with us to defend your case, we may be able to:
- Provide you with legal advice and design a strategy for your defense
- Help you understand your options and the possible outcomes of your case
- Scrutinize the fairness of all evidence and charges against you
- Collect new evidence in your defense, if available
- Prepare you for any testimony or statements you may be required to give
- Represent you on trial
If you exceeded the alcohol limit for a commercial driver and would like a free consultation with a member of our team, call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253.