Texas penalizes drivers found guilty of driving while intoxicated (DWI) more harshly than many other states. If you make your living driving, the effects of a conviction will be even more devastating.
First-time DWI convictions bring a $2,000 fine and between three days and six months in jail to anyone, whether driving privately or commercially.
Convictions also bring license suspensions of up to one year for a first DWI and up to two years for a second offense.
If, however you drive commercially, you will lose your Commerical Driver’s Licence (CDL) forever with a second DWI conviction. Even the first offense means you need to find a new job, as your CDL will be suspended for a year, in addition to whatever suspension you face of your regular license.
Does that still apply if I am in my private vehicle when the police pull me over?
It does not matter what vehicle you were in at the time, for purposes of your CDL, all DWIs count.
That seems unfair. Why target commercial drivers?
Most commercial vehicles are much larger than your everyday car, so they can do more harm if they crash. Besides, whether it is fair or not is irrelevant. The law is the law.
Is there any chance of protecting my CDL if charged with a DWI?
You might be surprised to learn how many people succeed in fighting a DWI. There are many ways to go about it, from challenging the accuracy of the breath testing machine to challenging how the officers went about the stop and arrest. If you face the loss of your CDL, seek legal help to understand more about your options.