A Helpful Guide To Get A Commercial Driver’s License In Texas
Recently, the Federal Government made changes to ensure there are uniform requirements across the board for those with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) all over the country. The Federal Government is strong-arming each individual State to pass brand new laws to amend current ones in order to strengthen punishments for commercial drivers that don’t adhere to them. They did this purely by threatening to without federal highway money from the States. Texas is one of the states that has conceded to federal pressure and it has amended its previous laws that concerned commercial drivers. Now, the law is nearly identical to the ones you will find federally. In fact, there are now portions of the law that are even more restrictive than what you would find federally.
Under the new laws set in place, it doesn’t matter whether or not your charge is dismissed with only having to pay court costs or if you receive a deferred sentence that doesn’t result in a conviction, the charge will still be counted as a conviction as it relates to the validity of your CDL. Along with this, if you end up entering either a no-contest plea or a guilty plea, the charge will count as convicted as it relates to your commercial driver’s license.
The law requires you to report to your boss that you got a DWI in Texas or any other state for that matter. Under the Federal regulations, you ultimately have 30 days to report said conviction to your employer and your state’s Public Safety Department from the exact day your conviction was made. In the state of Texas, you have only 7 days to report this type of conviction to your employer and the Public Safety Department of Texas.
Along with this, Texas’ Department Of Public Safety will end up suspending your CDL for a one year period if you have been found to operate a commercial vehicle with a BAC level reaching or exceeding (.04). If you end up refusing to take a breathalyzer on the scene while operating this type of vehicle, you will have your CDL suspended for a full year.
If you are found to be operating any motor vehicle while under the influence of a drug or alcohol your CDL will be thereby suspended. Thus, even if you are driving your personal car and you happen to receive a DWI while driving it, Texas will suspend your commercial driver’s license for a one year period.
If you happen to be driving a commercial vehicle that requires a placard due to containing hazardous material and your license is suspended, the period of which your suspension is valid will increase to a period of 3 years. Your CDL can and will be banned forever if it is your 2nd conviction for DWI.
The Public Safety Department of Texas will suspend your CDL in the state for a period of 60 days if you end up receiving (2) convictions for what is classified as a serious traffic offense while operating any commercial vehicle within a (3) year period. If it happens to be your 3rd conviction within a (3) year period, your suspension can increase exponentially to 120 days. At the same time, it will run successive to any other suspensions that you have received for any other reason.
A serious traffic violation can be classified as something as simple as driving 15 miles per hour or more over the current limit. Along with this, it can include reckless driving, following too close, not having proper documentation with you, not having the right endorsements, or making unsafe lane changes while driving. For it to count against you, the violations must have occurred while you were operating a commercial vehicle.
As soon as you receive an indication that your CDL has been disqualified, you will have until the end of that very business day to relay the information to your employer. The State law in Texas makes it illegal for your employer to force you to drive any commercial motor vehicle while having a commercial license that has been disqualified. Therefore, legislators force you to notify your employer to ensure it doesn’t happen.
Don’t think that it’s not a big deal because it’s your first one. Texas will only supply you with an occupational license for Class C drivers. There is no legal recourse to ensure you can get a CDL with an occupational license. Thus, if you are convicted of a DWI and you have a CDL, you will not be able to work for a period of 1 year.
While your CDL might be unusable for a period of a year or even for life, the operator’s portion will only be suspended for the period of time as a person that doesn’t have a CDL. Therefore, if you have your Class C portion being suspended for a period of 180 days, it can be changed in order to enable you to drive a non-commercial vehicle for a period of 180 days if it’s outfitted with an ignition interlock device. That is the only way you will be able to have your Class C privileges allowed during the period at which your CDL is suspended.
If you rely on your CDL, your ability to make a living might be at stake. Make no mistake about it, a DWI can completely wreck your ability to earn a paycheck. A lot of lawyers might not understand the intricacies and complexities of the varying requirements to obtain a CDL. Therefore, you want to identify a skilled and experienced lawyer who specializes in them.
An experienced and knowledgeable DWI lawyer will be able to challenge your license suspension and the criminal proceedings that resulted in losing your license.
Getting a DWI charge is a serious offense and anyone that gets it should understand the seriousness of it and the ramifications that come along with it. These consequences can be troublesome for anyone, especially those that have to drive for a living. For those facing a DWI charge, Jim Butler of The Butler Law Firm is someone that has been licensed for over 24 years. You can either call or email us to contact us. By hiring an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to represent you right away, you should be able to give yourself the best chance at minimizing the repercussions that come along with this type of legal trouble.