How Do I Get my CDL Back After a DUI?
A DUI is never fun for anyone; however, if someone's money and livelihood are dependent on their ability to drive, a DUI may be catastrophic. This is something that truck drivers who have been arrested for a DUI are all too familiar with. If convicted of a DUI, truck drivers, like everyone else, lose their licenses; the difference is that a commercial driver's license (CDL) is more than a convenience—it is an income-generating instrument that keeps the bills paid.
Here is everything you need to know about a commercial driver who has been convicted of a DUI in Texas:
CDL Suspension as Per Texas State Law
If someone is convicted of a first-time offense DUI in Texas, their license is suspended for at least one year. Keep in mind that a CDL might be suspended for reasons other than drinking and driving if one gets a DUI. Furthermore, the drinking-and-driving regulations for CDL holders differ dramatically from those for non-commercial license holders. If someone declines a blood-alcohol content (BAC) test or if their BAC is 0.04 percent or above when pulled over in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), they almost certainly are going to be charged with a DUI, and their CDL is suspended immediately.
Furthermore, if someone causes a crash in their commercial vehicle and flees the scene, or if they commit a felony while operating their CMV, they almost certainly are going to face a one-year suspension. Other instances, such as driving a commercial vehicle with a revoked license or causing a catastrophic accident, result in a license suspension of at least one year.
CDL Suspension As Per Federal Law
Because many CMV operators traverse state lines, CDL suspensions frequently extend to federal law. One may be subject to fines, penalties, and punishment imposed by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration in addition to Texas state regulations. According to federal law, offenses and convictions such as driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol can result in a suspension of a CDL lasting anywhere from 60 days to life. Any traffic convictions, including DUIs, must be reported to one's employer within 30 days of the event.
The Criminal Process and a Texas CDL
If one holds a CDL and is operating a commercial vehicle in Texas, it is illegal to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or more. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the legal standard, which stipulates that any commercial driver driving a CMV with a blood alcohol content of 0.04 percent or greater is deemed to be driving under the influence.
The Consequences of a Commercial Motor Vehicle DWI Arrest
If commercial drivers are deemed to have BACs of 0.04 percent or greater, they may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which includes a minimum punishment of three days in jail, a maximum sentence of 180 days in prison, as well as a fine of at least $2,000 for first-time DWI offenders with a CDL. With each consecutive DWI conviction, the penalties get more severe. Crucially, if someone gets a third or subsequent DWI conviction, they are charged with a DUI felony, which means they face a lot more prison time and costs.
Learn about what is a DUI classified as for a better understanding of the jail time and penalties.
Defense for a Texas DWI Offense While Driving a CMV
Because someone could face jail time and hefty penalties, as well as a CDL suspension and driver's license suspension, contesting the case is critical for them, their family, and their profession. Truckers may make a decent living from their job, but being forced to forego it for at least a year due to CDL suspension and jail times jeopardizes their careers. It is difficult to repair one's reputation and persuade a company to hire them when there are countless eligible candidates.
Administrative Process and a Texas CDL
If someone is caught for DWI for the first time while driving a commercial vehicle with their occupational license, the police seize their CDL and driver's license and issue you a temporary driving license that expires in 41 days from the date of issue. One can keep driving their business vehicle with this interim license.
Furthermore, if someone has been charged with DUI while operating a CMV and wishes to appeal the driver's license suspension and CDL disqualification, they need to request a hearing:
If a CDL was revoked under the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) program, which implies the person contested a chemical test, they have 15 days to request an administrative hearing;
Otherwise, the person has 20 days to ask for a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) administrative hearing.
If someone loses their ALR hearing, their CDL is suspended for one year unless they were operating a CMV with hazardous materials placards, in which case the penalty is three years.
However, if you employ an expert DUI attorney in Fort Worth, they are able to represent you at the court.
Applying for a CDL After a DWI Conviction
In Texas, one must have a clean driving record in order to receive a commercial driver's license. Even if they pass all of the knowledge and skills examinations, having a DWI on one's record can prohibit them from getting a CDL. If it's someone's first offense, they could still be able to get a CDL; however, finding a job with a DWI on your record is more challenging. If someone has two or more DWIs on their record, they may be permanently barred from acquiring a commercial driver's license.
Contact Sparks Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation Regarding a DWI Conviction
CDLs are commercial drivers' lifelines. All of it is called into question if you are convicted of DWI. Our legal team consists of experienced criminal defense and DWI attorneys who fight for your rights. We've been doing it for many years and know what it takes to overcome a DWI arrest. They are the ones to help if you want to avoid what happens when losing a DUI trial. If you want one of Texas' best DWI lawyers to defend your job and freedom, contact us today for a free consultation.