If you are a commercial driver for a living, getting a DWI with a CDL (commercial driver’s license) can ultimately turn your life upside down. Those who operate a commercial vehicle, including cargo-carrying semi-trucks and bus drivers, have a unique set of responsibilities on the road. When driving is your livelihood, it is important that you stay awake, alert, and most importantly, sober. 

In fact, as a commercial driver, it is much easier to get charged with a DWI with a CDL than it is as a civilian. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), where you apply for a CDL, the legal blood alcohol concentration limit is actually ​​.04% for commercial drivers, whereas the civilian legal limit is .08%. 

If you were thinking of having a beer or two during your driving shift, don’t. The consequences of being convicted of a DWI while holding a CDL can be dire, and trust us, you don’t want to face those penalties. But if you are charged with a DWI with a CDL, contact Mark Thiessen of Thiessen Law Firm ASAP. Your career and your freedom will depend on it.

DWI with a CDL penalties

For the average person, drinking just two standard drinks can bring someone’s blood alcohol content (BAC) up to 0.04%. Truthfully, they may not even begin to feel the effects besides mild relaxation. They may feel as if they can drive successfully…they’re totally fine. However, the decision to just “take the edge off” before getting behind the wheel can result in the loss of their CDL and job, criminal charges, and a hit to their reputation.

First-time offense

In this scenario, if this commercial driver is pulled over and consents to perform a breathalyzer test that reads a BAC of .04% or higher, they will be charged with a DWI. For a DWI in Texas first offense, the charge will be classified as a Class B misdemeanor. This means that, if convicted, the driver will serve a maximum 180-day jail sentence and/or will pay a fine of up to $2,000. 

How long do you have to wait to get a CDL after a DWI in Texas?

As with a standard DWI charge, the officer will take your CDL and you will be issued a temporary one. In the state of Texas, you only have 15 days to save your license by scheduling an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing to disprove the charges. If you hire an attorney, they can request this hearing for you and advocate on your behalf. If that hearing goes well, your CDL may not be suspended.

However, if the charges go through and you are convicted of a DWI, your CDL will be suspended for a year. On top of that, if you were found transporting hazardous cargo at the time of your arrest, you will face a three-year suspension.

If this is your first offense, you can apply for a CDL after your one-year suspension. Having a DWI charge on your record won’t prevent you from ever finding work again, but you should know that employers may be hesitant to hire you. Unfortunately, if this behavior becomes a pattern, you may have to kiss your CDL — and your career — goodbye.

Subsequent offenses 

As a commercial driver, if you are convicted of a 2nd DWI in Texas or even a third, the consequences become much steeper. As for your commercial license, Texas CDL disqualifications state that you will be banned from obtaining a CDL for life, meaning you will not be able to operate a commercial vehicle ever again. Your CDL will be taken away permanently. If this is your livelihood, a second or third DWI conviction can put you out of a job in this field, which can cost you thousands of dollars in wages.   

Can you get a DWI off your record in Texas?

Here is the harsh reality: if you are ever convicted of a DWI, especially with a CDL, that conviction will remain on your record permanently. It doesn’t matter if it was your first or your third charge. A conviction will stick around for as long as you live.

The only way to remove a DWI off of your record is if your first DWI in Texas is dismissed by a judge, which will allow for a DWI expungement; OR you get your DWI deferred in Texas which will require you to complete the requirements of your deferred adjudication and the charges will be dismissed.

The key here is to never be convicted of a DWI and to do that, you need a hell of a good attorney. 

Charged with a DWI with a CDL? Mark Thiessen can save your commercial license and your career.

Facing a DWI with a CDL is a serious matter. You need to do everything in your power to avoid any and all charges. To do that successfully, you need to hire Mark Thiessen. Mark is a trial-tested and aggressive DWI attorney who has helped hundreds of people with his extensive knowledge of how to beat a DWI case in Texas.

With his help, you may be able to keep your CDL, your livelihood, and your freedom intact. If you want to dismiss a DWI with a CDL, hire the best of the best. Call Thiessen Law Firm at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online for a free consultation today. Your future depends on it.

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Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.