A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a prequisite for some jobs. If you lose your CDL, you may have difficulty supporting yourself and your family. A Fort Worth CDL DWI lawyer may be able to help you avoid losing your commercial driving privileges and challenge the charges that you are facing.
DWI charges for CDL holders result in the initiation of both administrative and criminal court proceedings. Notably, conviction is not a prerequisite to losing your CDL. DWI charges alone can trigger the license suspension process. As the consequences of both proceedings can be harsh, consulting a criminal defense lawyer in this situation is highly advisable.
DWI and CDLs in Fort Worth
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets a more stringent DWI standard for CDL holders. State law prohibits everyone from driving any motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. However, Texas Transportation Code § 522.08(b)(4)(A) adopts the FMCSA standard and makes it illegal for CDL holders to drive commercial vehicles with a BAC of .04 or higher.
A conviction for DWI can result in the loss of a CDL for a minimum of one year or longer in some cases. This penalty can have a dramatic effect on a commercial truck driver’s ability to work and earn a living. Even if a driver regains their CDL, employers may be hesitant to hire them due to their past DWI history.
Administrative License Suspensions
An arrest for DWI while operating a commercial vehicle will result in the immediate confiscation of a driver’s CDL and regular license. Individuals receive a temporary driving permit that is good for 41 days. To contest a CDL suspension, individuals generally have 20 days within which to request a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) administrative hearing, but only 15 days if the CDL suspension was due to a refusal of a chemical test to measure BAC.
While awaiting a hearing, individuals may continue to drive under the temporary driving permit, even if more than 41 days have elapsed. If individuals lose at the hearing, they will face a one-year CDL suspension and a 180-day license suspension. As a result, hiring a CDL DWI attorney in Fort Worth to represent the interests of individuals in this situation may be wise.
Individuals with CDLs are disqualified from operating commercial vehicles for one year for the first-time occurrence of any of the following situations:
- Driving any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Refusing to submit to a test to measure BAC or presence of drugs
- Operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of .04 percent or more
- Driving any motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or more
If individuals are transporting hazardous materials at the time of the offense, then the disqualification period increases to three years. Furthermore, if individuals commit any of these offense two or more times, they are disqualified from holding a CDL for life. Since the loss of a CDL can cause extreme hardship for drivers and their families, getting the advice of a CDL DWI lawyer in Fort Worth may be beneficial.
Contact a Fort Worth CDL DWI Attorney
In addition to harsh license suspensions and CDL disqualification, a first-time DWI CDL offense that involves a BAC of .04 percent or higher may result in Class B misdemeanor charges. A conviction for this offense can result in a sentence of incarceration ranging from three to 180 days and a fine of up $2,000. As the stakes are high in both administrative license suspension and criminal DWI proceedings, contacting a Fort Worth CDL DWI lawyer for guidance and representation can be crucial.
Various defenses may be available in CDL DWI cases, but legal counsel can be instrumental to your ability to raise those defenses. By retaining an attorney, you may be able to successfully fight back against allegations of DWI and preserve your driving privileges.