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What are the DWI penalties for commercial drivers?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

A commercial driver’s license is important for earning a living in the trucking or transport industry. This special license allows the holder to support a family by driving 18-wheelers full of cargo or buses full of passengers.

CDL holders not only follow the local laws concerning how they are to operate a truck but also federal requirements from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The impact of a DWI charge when having a CDL is more severe than those holding a standard license.

Legal blood alcohol concentration limits

The state of Texas set the legal limit for civilian drivers at a BAC of .08%. However, as CDL drivers have more than one set of governing authorities, they must follow the BAC legal limit set by the FMCSA which is .04%.

Consequences of DWI convictions

Getting charged with a DWI is not the same as a conviction, but there you may still face negative consequences without a conviction. A CDL driver’s first offense with a BAC of .04% or greater is a misdemeanor in Texas. The driver faces a fine of up to $2,000 and potentially a 180-day jail sentence. A conviction leads to a one-year CDL suspension. If hazardous cargo was present, the driver faces a three-year suspension. Any further DWI conviction leads to a lifetime disqualification for obtaining a commercial driver’s license.

In addition to paying a fine or facing jail time, CDL drivers convicted of DWI could also lose their job or face difficulty getting hired in the future. DWI penalties could potentially threaten your career and freedom.