Texas is tough on people who get caught driving while intoxicated, especially on those who have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). In addition to all the standard penalties Texas can impose on a person convicted of a DWI in Houston, a person with a CDL could lose their livelihood. The potential loss of income from a DWI conviction is significant, invest in the best DWI lawyer in Houston to help you with this case.
If at all possible, you will want to avoid the conviction by fighting the charges or negotiating with the prosecutor. A Houston CDL DWI Lawyer can inform you of your legal options. At Blass Law, we fight tirelessly for each of our clients to help achieve the best possible outcome in their DWI case.
Getting Your CDL License After a DWI Conviction
You will have to wait until your driver’s license suspension ends and then seek your CDL again. For many people with a CDL, driving is their livelihood. You will have to find some other way to make a living while your driver’s license is suspended. If you get caught driving while your CDL is suspended, you could face a $500 fine and a separate misdemeanor charge.
It will likely be challenging to find another driving job after a DWI since insurance companies often refuse to cover commercial drivers when they have gotten a DWI conviction recently. Of course, you will not be able to drive without appropriate insurance.
You might also have to wait an additional period before a company will give you a job after you get your CDL restored. This requirement can tack on an additional two or three years that you will not be able to make a living from driving a truck or another commercial vehicle.
Many people are unable to shift gears into another profession for several years to replace their income. Most likely, your best option is to try to avoid the DWI conviction by fighting the charges.
For a legal consultation with a cdl dwi lawyer serving Houston, call 713-225-1900
Texas DWI Law for Commercial Driver’s License Holders
Stated in TX Transportation Code Chapter 522 are the rules that apply to holders of commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). Here are some of the provisions that apply to DWIs and CDL holders:
- An employer is prohibited from letting a person drive commercially for them when the driver’s license is suspended.
- You have to notify your boss of the DWI conviction within days of the guilty verdict.
- You will be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for one year if you refuse to submit to a test to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol in your body.
- You will receive a one-year disqualification from driving a commercial motor vehicle if the testing reveals that you had a controlled substance or drug in your body.
- A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent while driving a commercial vehicle or of 0.08 percent while driving a non-commercial vehicle in a public place will disqualify you from operating commercial motor vehicles for one year.
- Driving disqualifications are increased to three years if the commercial vehicle contained hazardous materials at the time you were arrested for DWI.
- Multiple drug or alcohol-related convictions can get you disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life.
- You have to wait at least 10 years to apply for reinstatement of your CDL if you are disqualified for life from driving a commercial vehicle. If you get reinstated and then re-offend, you will be permanently disqualified and never be eligible for reinstatement.
The rules are much more stringent on commercial drivers than on people who do not operate commercial vehicles. For this reason, commercial drivers often lose their job when they get convicted of a DWI.
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Penalties for a DWI in Houston
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in addition to the consequences listed above, a CDL holder who gets convicted of a DWI in Houston can face these penalties as well:
First-Time DWI Conviction
A person getting their first conviction for a DWI in Texas can get sentenced to between three and 180 days in jail, a maximum fine of $2,000, and loss of their driver’s license for as much as one year.
Second DWI Offense
If you already have a DWI conviction on your criminal record, your second offense could cause you to lose your driver’s license for up to two years. You could have to spend one month to one year in jail and pay a fine of as much as $4,000.
Third and Subsequent DWI Conviction
Getting convicted of a DWI in Texas three or more times can cost you up to $10,000 in fines. You could lose your driver’s license for a maximum of two years and get sentenced to between two and 10 years in prison.
If you have two felony convictions in your past and your current DWI charge is a felony, the habitual offender rule in Texas could hike your incarceration time up to between 25 and 99 years. On top of the fines listed above – first, second, and third offense convictions also carry an assessment of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 in state fines.
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Challenging Your Houston DWI Charges
With your livelihood at stake, it makes sense to fight your DWI charges, particularly if you hold a CDL. If you decide to reach out to a Houston CDL DWI lawyer, here are some of the ways they may be able to challenge the charges against you:
- In Texas, a DWI conviction requires a finding that you were driving a vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. One defense might be that you were not the driver.
- Because one element of a DWI offense is that the incident occurred in a public place, you might be able to challenge the location as being private rather than public.
- There are multiple aspects to being charged with intoxication that can be debated. For example, the testing equipment might be faulty, or you might have a medical condition that gives a false reading.
- Sometimes, you can challenge the DWI traffic stop itself. If the police officer did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to pull you over, the arrest might be illegal.
- If law enforcement obtained any of the evidence improperly, you might be able to keep it from being used against you at trial by filing and winning a motion to suppress.
A Houston CDL DWI Lawyer will be able to inform you of your legal options and work with you for the best possible outcome in your DWI case.
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Contact Blass Law Today
At Blass Law, we fight tirelessly for our clients. If you have been convicted of a DWI in Houston, we’re here to help you understand the legal process and discuss your options to protect your record. Don’t delay, contact Blass Law today to get started on your confidential case evaluation.
Call or text 713-225-1900 or complete a Case Evaluation form