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How Texas DWI charges are different for someone with a CDL

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2023 | DUI Defense

Drivers in Texas can get arrested for impaired driving if they cause a crash, demonstrate a compromised ability to drive safely at the wheel or fail a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test during a traffic stop. The state will pursue driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges against anyone who drives after drinking, including those who drive for a living.

Someone with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) may spend the majority of their waking hours throughout the week on the road. Due to the significant responsibility assumed by those who operate massive commercial vehicles, the rules for DWI charges are stricter for those with a CDL. There are two main differences in re: DWI charges when someone has a CDL as opposed to a standard driver’s license.

The BAC limit is lower for commercial drivers

There is a blood alcohol concentration limit that state authorities strictly enforce during DWI traffic stops. Anyone with a BAC of 0.08% or higher could face arrest regardless of their driving ability because they are over the BAC limit enshrined in Texas state law. The limit is actually half that level for those in control of a commercial vehicle. If someone gets pulled over with a BAC of 0.04% while operating a semi-truck, the police officer conducting the traffic stop may arrest them. That lower limit makes it much easier for a professional driver to unintentionally violate the law because they do not feel any sense of chemical impairment.

Personal infractions can affect professional licensing

The other big difference in DWI charges for someone with a CDL is that a mistake they make on their own time in their own vehicle could very easily affect their CDL. Drivers with major infractions, including a DWI conviction, could become ineligible for a CDL and lose their primary source of income.

Given the higher standards and harsher penalties possible for commercial drivers, it is often important for them to assertively defend against DWI allegations. Seeking legal guidance as proactively as possible is generally wise.