Commercial Drivers, like cab drivers, bus drivers, or truck drivers, have additional rules to follow in order to drive their commercial vehicle on roads in Texas and across highways in the United States. Among one of the most distinguishing requirements is that they need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to work as commercial drivers. Because CDL drivers carry people or goods, when involved in an accident they cause significant damage and loss of life. If the CDL driver is operating his or her commercial vehicle and is intoxicated, the CDL driver is subject to the most severe of the DWI penalties.

Application of FMCSA to Texas CDL Drivers

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration is a federal agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Their primary objective is to reduce accidents, fatalities, and injuries involving trucks and buses. In addition to Texas laws, CDL drivers in Texas must also comply with the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration Act (FMCSAA).

The FMCSAA considers a CDL driver to be driving drunk if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) level reads .04% or higher and the CDL driver is operating a commercial vehicle. If the CDL driver is operating a non-commercial vehicle his or her BAC must read .08% or higher to be charged with DWI. Both charges, if convicted or pled to trigger Texas’ CDL DWI penalties.

Texas’ CDL DWI Penalties

  • CDL Drivers Cannot Refuse Chemical Tests. The CDL driver cannot refuse the breathalyzer test if law enforcement requests the driver take the test. It’s an automatic three year suspension of the CDL license if the driver refuses to consent to the administration of the breathalyzer test at time of arrest, in addition to any criminal penalties for the underlying commercial DWI charges.
  • Even Out Of State Convictions Trigger Texas CDL DWI Penalties. In addition to the regular penalties for DWI convictions, a CDL driver loses his or her CDL license for a complete year when convicted of a DWI offense. A second DWI conviction results in the permanent revocation of the CDL license. The driver can apply for reinstatement of the CDL license after 10 years.
  • Even an out of state DWI triggers the Texas CDL DWI penalties regardless of the type of vehicle (commercial or non-commercial) involved in the DWI charge.

Contact Plano, Texas CDL DWI and DUI Defense Attorneys Today

If you have been arrested for driving a commercial vehicle while drunk or under the influence of drugs you need an experienced DWI or DIO defense attorney. Call the law offices of Kimberly Griffin Tucker at (214) 445-6336 or email us to schedule your free initial consultation. Proudly serving Denton, Collins, and Dallas counties, including the cities of Plano and Dallas, call us right away.