Motorists who drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs are a danger to other road users. They place innocent people at risk of serious injuries or even death. The accidents caused by regular motorists can be catastrophic. However, drivers who are intoxicated are even more dangerous when they drive commercial vehicles, especially trucks. These vehicles are large, and they can cause serious destruction.
That’s why the state of Texas is so harsh on commercial drivers who drink and drive. The Texas Department of Public Safety cautions drivers against using alcohol when operating commercial vehicles. At the same time, the US government ensures that drivers are held to strict standards. If you are a commercial driver who has been charged with a DWI, you need an experienced DWI attorney.
Ask A Houston DWI Attorney: What Are the DWI Rules for Commercial Drivers?
Commercial drivers are treated differently when it comes to DWIs. Police officers can only test regular drivers if they have probable cause to think they are under the influence. They may see them driving erratically or smell alcohol when they pull them over. Commercial drivers, however, are held to standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the United States Department of Transportation. Drivers of commercial vehicles can be tested:
- At random
- When officers suspect they are intoxicated
- When they return to full-time duty after a license suspension
- After a crash in which alcohol is suspected to have been involved
It is a crime for anyone to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. However, it is illegal to drive a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or above. This limit is set by both the state of Texas and the FMCSA. If your BAC is at least 0.04, law enforcement officers will consider you to be driving under the influence.
Consequences of A DWI for Commercial Drivers Explained by a DWI Lawyer in Houston
If your BAC is above the legal limit, the court could convict you of a Class B misdemeanor. This carries a punishment of at least three days in jail and a possible sentence of up to 180 days. You could also face a fine of not more than $2,000. You will also face the suspension of your driver’s license and disqualification from holding a commercial driver’s license. This means you could lose your job and your means of providing for yourself and your family.
For a second conviction, the penalties increase. Convictions for third or subsequent offenses are treated as felonies. This increases the likelihood that you will spend more time in jail and face higher fines. If you want to successfully defend yourself against the charges, you will need the help of a lawyer.
How Your Lawyer Will Defend You Against DWI Charges
It will be a challenge to hold on to your commercial license. However, at Eddington & Worley Criminal Lawyers, we understand that your livelihood is at stake. We will mount a strong defense on your behalf. Whether you’re innocent or you suffered a temporary lack of judgment we will look for holes in the state’s case.
If there is any doubt of your guilt, we will use it to your advantage. A jury can’t convict you if there are doubts. We will also look at the circumstances which led to your arrest and how the evidence was handled. Wherever there’s a potential defense, we will find it.
Our DWI attorneys will also help you handle the administrative aspects of your case. For a first offense, the police will take away your license and give you a temporary permit. This permit allows you to continue driving but it expires in 41 days. If you want to challenge the suspension of your license, you must request a hearing.
The timeframe within which you must ask for a hearing varies. If you refused a chemical test, your license suspension occurred under the Administrative License Revocation program. You will have 15 days to request a hearing. Otherwise, you will have 20 days to seek a hearing before the Texas Department of Public Safety administrative hearing.
Contact A DWI Attorney in Houston, TX
If you’re a commercial driver facing a DWI charge, you need to contact Eddington & Worley. You have a lot to lose so you shouldn’t take chances by trying to handle things on your own. We know the laws relating to DWIs and we’ll put our knowledge to work for you. Contact us today so we can get protect your commercial driver’s license.