If you or a loved one is facing a commercial DWI charge, the stakes can be significant. In addition to jail time, fines, and increased insurance premiums, a commercial DWI conviction will also cost you your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and make it difficult to find work in the same industry afterward. You do not have to navigate this frightening process alone. Let a commercial DWI lawyer in Arlington, TX help protect your rights and build a strong defense on your behalf.
There Are Different Standards for Commercial Drivers in Texas
Texas law reflects the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s stance that professional drivers have a higher duty of care to the public than average motorists. If you hold a CDL, these increased expectations apply even while you are driving a personal vehicle or are otherwise off-duty.
Lower Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limit
While the standard BAC limit for ordinary drivers is 0.08 percent, anyone with a CDL who is found driving a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or more is legally intoxicated and can be charged with a DWI .
This lowered limit only applies to CDL holders who are driving a commercial vehicle when they were stopped.
Automatic Loss of CDL After a DWI
A commercial driver will lose their CDL for one year after their first conviction of driving with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher. On their second conviction, they will lose their CDL for life. These penalties are in addition to the usual fines and jail time associated with DWIs.
This automatic license loss applies to CDL holders even if they received their DWI while driving a personal vehicle.
Harsher Penalties for Violating Implied Consent Laws
All drivers implicitly agree to submit to a BAC test when asked to do so by law enforcement. Failure to do this is a violation of implied consent, which for ordinary drivers carries the penalty of an automatic 180-day license suspension even if no DWI charge is filed afterward.
For commercial drivers in Texas, refusing to comply with a BAC test will result in having your CDL suspended for one year regardless of whether you are ultimately charged with a DWI.
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Enhanced Penalties While Transporting Hazardous Materials
If a commercial driver is transporting any cargo that requires a placard when they get a DWI or refuse a field sobriety test, they will lose their CDL for three years instead of one year.
The Standard Penalties for DWI Still Apply
Commercial drivers are still responsible for dealing with the traditional penalties associated with DWIs in addition to losing their CDL. These vary based on your driving record.
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On your first DWI offense, you could lose your regular driver’s license for up to 1 year, face up to $2,000 in fines, and serve up to 180 days in jail.
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On your second DWI offense, you could lose your regular driver’s license for up to 2 years, face fines of up to $4,000, and serve up to 365 days in jail. You could also be subject to an annual fee of up to $2,000 for 3 years to reclaim your driver’s license.
On your third DWI, you face felony DWI charges and could lose your regular driver’s license for up to 2 years, face fines of up to $10,000, and serve up to 10 years in prison. If you want to reinstate your driving privileges afterward, you may have to pay a fee of up to $2,000 for three years.
How a Arlington Commercial DWI Lawyer Can Help You
At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we understand that your livelihood is at stake after a commercial DWI charge. In addition to fines and the potential for significant jail time, you could also be looking at the cost of increased insurance premiums and transitioning to a new career.
Here are just a few of the ways that a commercial DWI lawyer in Arlington, TX can help protect your rights.
When you are accused of a commercial DWI, a lot happens all at once. The flurry of back-and-forth calls and emails from lawyers, insurance companies, and other parties can quickly become overwhelming, and it is all too easy for something important to slip through the cracks amid the chaos.
Our team can manage these communications for you, ensuring you meet all necessary deadlines and freeing you up to spend more time with your family.
Create a Strong Defense Strategy
Attorney Randall B. Isenberg has more than 30 years of experience as a prosecutor, judge, and criminal defense attorney. He knows what the prosecution is likely to do, the evidence they will rely upon, and the strategies you can use to build a compelling case in your defense. He also knows what the judge will be looking for when they decide the outcome of your case.
Negotiate on Your Behalf
We will investigate your case, obtaining witness testimony, police reports, lab results, and more. We will identify the weak points in the prosecution’s case against you and push to have your charges dismissed or reduced.
If a plea bargain is offered, we will fully explain what it means for your future and how it can affect your life. We will also advise you on whether we believe it is in your best interests to take the plea deal or if we think it would be better to take your defense to court, so you can make an informed decision with confidence.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Today
Our law firm’s record on DWI cases speaks for itself. We understand what is at stake with your commercial DWI charge, and we will vigorously fight to protect your rights throughout the legal process.
Learn more about how a commercial DWI lawyer in Arlington, TX can help by calling the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at 214-696-9253 for a free, no-obligation consultation.