Maybe you were planning to take a test to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Texas. Then again, you might already be one of thousands of CDL holders in the state. In any case, if you face DWI charges, your license, or your ability to obtain one, may be immediately affected.
Even if police take you into custody in another state while driving your personal vehicle, if you incur a DWI conviction, it can have implications on your Texas CDL. It is important to be aware of all laws and regulations that are relevant to alcohol offenses in connection with a CDL. If it is your first offense, all hope to retain your CDL is not lost. However, restrictions may apply.
Your CDL might be suspended for one year
If you are a CDL holder in Texas convicted of drunk driving, you will no doubt undergo a CDL suspension for at least one year. If you had not yet applied for your CDL when you faced DWI charges in court, you might have to navigate a waiting period before receiving permission to take the test. This could affect employment if the job that you plan to pursue requires drivers to hold a commercial license.
What happens if it is not a first offense?
If the court convicts you for DWI multiple times, you may be at risk for permanent revocation of your CDL. Keep in mind, when planning to apply for a commercial license, all 50 states require a background check of an applicant’s driving record, sometimes as far back as 10 years. If you receive permanent disqualification from holding a CDL in Texas, this status might be irreversible.
Are you eligible for an occupational license?
In certain circumstances, in some states, you might be able to continue to operate a commercial vehicle after facing arrest for suspected DWI. A special license, known as an occupational license, enables people with particular needs to do so. In Texas, however, there are laws to prohibit occupational licenses if a DWI has prompted a disqualification of your CDL.
Navigating the criminal justice system after a DWI arrest
Whether you already hold a CDL in Texas or were in the process of obtaining one, if police take you into custody for suspected DWI, you might be worried about your license, especially if your career requires you to hold a CDL. Try to remain calm and take one step at a time, in order to build as strong a defense as possible.
There are often several options available that may help you mitigate circumstances. If it is a first offense, the chance of obtaining a positive outcome may be greater than if you already have one or more DWI convictions on your record. If you believe that a personal rights violation took place during a traffic stop, you may address the matter in court and might even be able to secure a dismissal of your case.