Driving while intoxicated has severe consequences for any driver, but if you are a commercial driver, your livelihood is also on the line. A commercial party bus driver in Illinois was recently charged with criminal and professional penalties for allegedly driving students to their prom while he was intoxicated. And who can forget the limo driver who drove some Detroit Red Wings hockey players after they won the Stanley Cup? The limo driver was intoxicated, and the crash left one player in a coma, one player unable to walk, and the limo driver in jail.
In Texas, if a commercial driver has a blood alcohol limit of 0.04 percent or higher, the driver is over the legal limit. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial drivers. FMCSA regulations state that any commercial driver operating a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher is considered to be driving under the influence. Further, if you hold a commercial driver’s license and you either refuse a chemical test or you take one and have a BAC of 0.04 percent in a commercial vehicle or 0.08 percent in any other vehicle, your commercial license will be disqualified for one year. If you drive a commercial vehicle with hazardous materials, the penalty is three years.
Under Texas law, if you have a commercial driver’s license and you are convicted of a DWI, in addition to the penalties you will receive under the DWI statute (such as fines, possible jail time and suspension of your regular driver’s license), you will also lose your commercial driver’s license for at least one year. This is true regardless of whether you were driving a commercial or non-commercial vehicle at the time of your DWI arrest. A second DWI conviction will result in the loss of your commercial driver’s license for life. However, you can apply for reinstatement after 10 years.
If you are a commercial driver, being unable to drive means being unable to work. If you find yourself facing DWI charges, consultation with a tenacious San Antonio DWI attorney is critical to maintaining your livelihood.