Call for a FREE consultation at (713) 222-6767

Houston CDL DWI Attorney

Texas law takes driving while intoxicated incredibly seriously, imposing tough penalties for first-time offenders and strict sentences for repeat offenders. The law comes down even harder on commercial drivers who are held to a high standard of safety and professionalism. If you have a CDL license and you are stopped for a DWI, either in your work or personal vehicle, there can be serious consequences for your future livelihood.

Whether the DWI arrest was due to a misunderstanding or you made an error in judgment getting behind the wheel, you need a strong Houston DWI lawyer to help you fight the DWI and get back on the road as soon as possible. Call the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 for a free consultation.

Texas DWI with a CDL

Under Texas law, you can be charged with a DWI if you are impaired due to alcohol, drugs, a dangerous drug, a controlled substance, or any combination of these.

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08 percent for regular drivers, but the standards are different for drivers in a commercial motor vehicle. A BAC of 0.04 percent or above for anyone operating a commercial vehicle, such as a delivery truck or semi, will result in a DWI.

It is important to know that commercial drivers who receive a DWI with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher while driving their own personal vehicles may still have their CDL permits removed.

DWI Effects on a Commercial Driver’s License

The Texas Transportation Code determines the effects of a DWI on a commercial driver. Although the law sets minimum consequences, circumstances, such as fleeing the scene or transportation of hazardous materials at the time of the DWI, can result in higher penalties. Felony charges may also be imposed in certain circumstances, resulting in greater DWI penalties.

Penalties may include the following:

  • First Offense – CDL disqualification for a minimum of 1 year
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses – CDL disqualification for up to life
  • Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing – CDL disqualification for a minimum of 1 year
  • Fleeing the Scene of an Accident – CDL disqualification for a minimum of 1 year

If you were driving a commercial vehicle transporting hazardous materials, penalties may include:

  • First Offense – CDL disqualification for a minimum of 3 years
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses – CDL disqualification for up to life
  • Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing – CDL disqualification for a minimum of 3 years
  • Fleeing the Scene of an Accident – CDL disqualification for a minimum of 1 year

Reinstatement of a permanent CDL disqualification may be sought after a minimum of 10 years; however, it can be difficult to obtain. A Houston CDL DWI attorney will help you seek the best possible outcome.

Effects of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

As can be seen, by the penalties of DWI offenses, commercial drivers are held to an implied consent law regarding breathalyzer testing. Like all other drivers on the road, if an officer suspects a commercial driver of operating a vehicle while impaired, they must take a breath test. If you refuse a breath test, which may be requested without a warrant, your CDL will automatically be suspended.

Due to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, a driver cannot receive criminal penalties for refusing a blood test without a search warrant.

Collateral Effects of a DWI on Professional Drivers

The effects of a DWI on a commercial driver can be long-lasting, even after a license suspension is over. With the disqualification of your license, it is possible for you to lose your job. You will have to look for employment that doesn’t require a CDL.

Additionally, seeking a CDL job in the future may pose issues. Most transportation businesses require a background check for potential drivers. They specifically look for DWI and other traffic-related convictions. It is entirely up to their discretion whether they hire you if they find you were previously guilty of a DWI. Unfortunately, many won’t unless the DWI was a long time ago and you’ve had a clean driving record ever since.

Another negative impact of a DWI would include increased motor vehicle insurance rates, which can be financially difficult to manage if you’re out of work.

Call a Houston CDL DWI Attorney for Help

Commercial drivers have the right to appeal a CDL suspension. If you’ve been charged with a DWI, you need an attorney who will aggressively fight for your rights. He will face situations quickly and directly, and won’t hesitate to act to protect your livelihood.

Houston CDL DWI attorney Ned Barnett has the knowledge and experience to represent you in court. He is board certified as a criminal lawyer by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and he is certified in DWI field sobriety testing, the operation of breath test machines, and gas chromatography. He understands how DWI prosecution works, and he knows how to defend against such charges.

If you’re a CDL driver and you need help to keep your license and your livelihood, call the Law Offices of Ned Barnett right away at (713) 222-6767.