A conviction for commercial DWI in Plano may mean you can never drive for a living again. In fact, your first offense can cause you to lose your CDL for as long as one year. A second conviction can mean permanent revocation of your commercial driver’s license.
And, unlike with personal drunk driving charges, Texas DWI laws make it easier for the prosecutor to obtain a conviction for commercial DWI. This means you need a commercial DWI lawyer in Plano on your side, to fight for your rights and help you retain that all-important CDL.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today for help: 214-696-9253.
How does Texas law define commercial DWI?
You may face commercial DWI charges if either of these apply to your situation:
- BAC of 0.04 or above while driving a commercialvehicle OR
- BAC of 0.08 or above while driving a non-commercialvehicle
The Texas Penal Code, Chapter 49, addresses the definition and terms of individual DWI, which is an important distinction. In addition, the Texas Transportation Code (TTC) sets forth additional terms and penalties of commercial DWI.
Texas statutes regarding commercial DWI charges are complex and often confusing, and the essence of the laws changes depending on what type of vehicle you were driving at the time of arrest.
While driving a commercial vehicle, you are legally intoxicated if your BAC is 0.04 or above, or if you test positive for any quantity of drugs or controlled substances.
If you were driving a non-commercial vehicle, the legal level of intoxication remains 0.08, which is the standard for intoxication in Texas.
What are the penalties for commercial DWI in Plano?
Although the statutes may be similar, the fines and penalties are worse for commercial than for individual drunk driving convictions.
If you were intoxicated while driving a non-commercial vehicle in a public place, you face class B misdemeanor charges for your first offense. Upon conviction, you may spend up to 6 months in jail and face up to a $2,000 fine. If your BAC was 0.15 or above, the charge is a class A misdemeanor, which carries as much as 1 year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
In addition to a fine and jail time, your sentence may also require you to:
- Install an ignition interlock device on your car
- Perform mandatory community service
- Undergo substance abuse counseling
- Attend a DWI education program
As the holder of a CDL, you will face additional consequences, known as disqualification penalties, set forth in the TTC.
What are commercial DWI disqualification penalties?
The TTC uses the term disqualification when referring to a suspended CDL. This term indicates that a conviction will disqualify you from operating a commercial vehicle for the period of time associated with your conviction.
Upon conviction for drunk driving (or if you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test for BAC), you are subject to a one-year disqualification.
You are subject to three years’ disqualification if you were transporting hazardous materials (those requiring a placard) or if you refused a breath or blood BAC test while you were transporting hazardous materials.
The state disqualifies you for life if you:
- Receive a conviction for a second offense commercial DWI charge
- Refuse a breath or blood BAC test after your first commercial DWI conviction
Unfortunately, the bad news does not stop there. You can also lose your license through the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process.
What is ALR and how does it affect commercial DWI?
The ALR process is a civil proceeding overseen by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS). This process is independent of the criminal side of the case.
If you refuse or fail blood or breath BAC testing, the officer will confiscate your driver’s license. At that time, the officer will provide you with a TxDPS form that serves as a temporary driving permit. You then have 15 days to formally request an ALR hearing.
If you fail to request the hearing in time, you will lose your license, even if the state does not convict you of commercial DWI charges.
Should I get a commercial DWI lawyer in Plano?
As you can see, the potential penalties for a commercial drunk driving conviction are significant, with the potential to impact your life significantly.
Having an attorney from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to represent you through the criminal and civil aspects of your case is the best way to protect your legal rights and ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
Through careful review and analysis of the state’s evidence, your lawyer can identify potential defense strategies. This may provide an opportunity to negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduction in charges or an outright dismissal.
Your attorney can also handle the ALR hearing on your behalf. Although you will have to testify at the hearing, a commercial DWI lawyer can prepare you so that you do not incriminate yourself.
And, in the event you do lose your license for a period of time, your criminal defense lawyer can help you apply to for reinstatement of your CDL.
Are there any defense strategies I can use for my commercial DWI case?
Although every case is unique, your attorney may explore one or more of the following strategies for defending you on commercial DWI charges in Plano.
Lack of reasonable suspicion: The arresting officer must have had reason to believe that you had consumed alcohol before pulling you over.
Lack of probable cause for arrest: The arresting officer must have had probable cause to request chemical BAC testing.
Lack of admissible evidence: BAC testing must comply with federal and state standards. If any part of the process failed to comply with these standards, the evidence may not be admissible in your case.
Speak with a commercial DWI lawyer in Plano for FREE.
Conviction for a commercial DWI can affect your ability to work for the rest of your life. Do not risk losing your CDL by trying to fight these charges on your own.
Randall Isenberg of the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg has more than 30 years’ experience in the Texas court system, including time as a Texas felony prosecutor and state district court judge. This insider’s perspective of the process is invaluable to building a strong case in your defense.
We offer a complimentary consultation and case review to help you evaluate your options. Contact us today to get started: 214-696-9253.