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Aggressive DWI CDL Attorney in Plano TX

Commercial drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to drinking and driving. Commercial driver's license (CDL) holders in Texas also face much more serious consequences if they are convicted of drunk driving. A commercial driver could even lose their DCL for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in their own personal vehicle when they are off the clock. 

With so much at stake, CDL holders should contact a local DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible after a drunk driving arrest. Taking action may help you avoid a license suspension so you can keep your job. Contact Carl David Ceder Attorney at Law to learn more about the Texas CDL DWI defenses available in your case.  

Texas DWI Laws for Commercial Drivers

Texas DWI laws for commercial drivers depend on whether the driver is in their own vehicle or driving a commercial vehicle. The blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for CDL drivers is lower for when they are behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle. However, a DWI in a commercial vehicle or their private vehicle can have consequences for their CDL. 

DWI in a Commercial Vehicle

Under Texas Transportation Code § 522.081, a driver who is operating a commercial motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.04% or more is driving while intoxicated. This is half of the BAC limit of other drivers, who have a BAC limit of 0.08%. Even if the driver is operating the vehicle just fine and passes all field sobriety tests, a BAC of 0.04% or higher is enough to be charged with a commercial DWI. 

Commercial License Disqualified After a DWI

A CDL driver can have their license disqualified after a DWI for one year, 3 years, or permanently, depending on the DWI or chemical test refusal. 

One Year CDL Disqualification 

A 1-year CDL disqualification includes: 

  • Conviction of a DWI, 
  • Chemical test refusal,
  • BAC of 0.08% or higher while driving a motor vehicle, or 
  • BAC of 0.04% or higher while driving a commercial vehicle. 

Your CDL can be disqualified for one year after the 1st conviction of DWI. Intoxication is not limited to a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Intoxication also means, “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body. 

Your CDL can be disqualified for one for refusing to submit to a chemical test (breath or blood) to determine the driver's alcohol concentration or the presence of drugs in the driver's body. 

The CDL disqualification is not limited to convictions. Your license can be disqualified even before you are convicted of any crime if a chemical test shows the presence of a controlled substance, a BAC of 0.08% or higher in a motor vehicle, or a BAC of 0.04% or higher in a commercial vehicle. 

Three Year CDL Disqualification 

A 3-year CDL disqualification is generally the same as the 1-year disqualification but involves transporting a hazardous material which requires a placard, including: 

  • Conviction of a DWI while transporting hazardous material, 
  • Chemical test refusal while transporting hazardous material, 
  • BAC of 0.08% or higher while driving a motor vehicle and transporting hazardous material, or 
  • BAC of 0.04% or higher while driving a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous material. 

Lifetime CDL Disqualification 

Your CDL can be taken away forever after multiple convictions for a DWI or chemical test refusal. This includes 2 or more convictions for or a combination of the following offenses:  

  • Conviction of a DWI, 
  • Chemical test refusal,
  • BAC of 0.08% or higher while driving a motor vehicle, or 
  • BAC of 0.04% or higher while driving a commercial vehicle. 

Texas DWI Penalties 

For a commercial driver, loss of your CDL may be the most serious consequence because it may mean the loss of your job and source of income for 1-year, 3-years, or a permanent ban from commercial driving. However, a DWI conviction can also lead to criminal penalties, including: 

DWI Offense

Jail Time


License Suspension

First DWI 

Class B Misdemeanor

up to 180 days in jail

up to $2,000

1 year

Second DWI 

Class A Misdemeanor

up to 1 year in jail

up to $4,000

2 years

Third DWI 

3rd-Degree Felony

2 to 10 years in prison

up to $10,000

2 years

Fourth DWI 

2nd-Degree Felony

2 to 20 years in prison

up to $10,000

2 years

How Many Drinks To Get Over 0.04% BAC for a Commercial Driver?  

When measuring blood alcohol levels, 0.04% is not a lot of drinks. Approximate BAC varies person-to-person, and changes with factors like weight, time, medical conditions, and sex. According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, a commercial driver who weighs 200 pounds could be over the limit after 2 drinks. A drink is measured as a 12 oz. beer with an alcohol content of 4.5%. Even a can of Budweiser is higher than 0.05% ABV. Many popular or local North Texas craft beers can get into the 7% to 9% range. 

It is important for commercial drivers to understand that the 0.04% limit is not about how drunk the driver is or if they are driving dangerously. Even if the driver is operating the commercial vehicle safely, there are no traffic violations, and nothing to indicate the driver is dangerous, a BAC over the limit is considered drunk driving. 

Challenging a Commercial DWI in Texas

An arrest for a commercial DWI does not have to mean the end of your career. The police make mistakes and you should not have to pay the price when your rights are violated or a defective breath test machine shows the wrong alcohol level. 

An experienced DWI defense lawyer is familiar with how the prosecutors handle drunk driving and drug DWIs in the local courts. It is the prosecutor's job to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many ways to challenge a DWI CDL charge, including: 

  • Challenging the field sobriety tests, 
  • Challenging the chemical tests, 
  • Constitutional violations, and
  • Lack of evidence. 

Aggressive DWI CDL Defense Lawyer in Dallas Fort Worth Today

Carl David Ceder represents commercial drivers who were arrested for a DWI in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area. He knows that there's a lot at stake in these cases, including the loss of your CDL license, fines, and even possible jail time. Contact his office online or at 469-900-0000 today.