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DWI for CDL holders

Brian Foley is a commercial driver's license DWI lawyer and criminal defense attorney in Conroe, Texas who represents people charged with DWI and are facing administrative license suspension or disqualification because of a commercial driver's license DWI in Houston, Conroe, the Woodlands, and the surrounding area.

DWI for Commercial Driver's License Holders

When driving is how you make your living a DWI can be a much bigger problem.  Getting a conviction for DWI can cause you to lose your license or stop you from getting a CDL if you are currently applying for one.  Truck drivers and other commercial drivers serve as the backbone of our country and contribute to almost every aspect of life from how you get your groceries to how you get the gas in your car to go get the groceries.  When a CDL holder needs help, Brian Foley Law PLLC is ready to fight the case and take it all the way to trial. 

What if I was driving my personal vehicle? 

If you have a CDL but you were driving your own personal vehicle there are a few things that work in your favor.  Federal regulations require CDL drivers to have a blood alcohol content of less than 0.04. This applies if you were operating with a commercial driver’s license and you were operating a commercial vehicle like a dump truck, or 18-wheeler. 


If you were not driving a commercial vehicle then you will be held to the same standard that other drivers are held which is the more familiar 0.08 legal limit.  The offense for a first time offense is called Driving While Intoxicated and is found under Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code.  A first offense can still have you scrambling to save your CDL and to avoid facing a long probation or jail term

How do you beat a DWI for CDL holders?

There are multiple ways to beat a DWI but they start with a focused review of the State’s evidence for legal and fact issues.  One way that CDL holders can beat a DWI charge is to have the case dismissed by the prosecutor for lack of reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop.  When an officer pulls over a driver for DWI or approaches a vehicle with his overhead red and blue lights then he is restraining that person’s freedom.  The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution says that persons should be secure in the persons, houses, papers, and effect and it has been interpreted to mean that an officer must have specific articulable facts in order to pull you over and begin a legal detention which could lead to an arrest.  Here are some common attacks on reasonable suspicion:


  • Officer’s radar not calibrated properly or used in order to determine speed.

  • Driving on improved shoulder was not to stop, stand, or park; accelerate before entering the main traveled lane of traffic; to decelerate before making a right turn; to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped on the main traveled portion of the highway, disable or preparing to make a left turn; to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass; as permitted or required by a traffic control device; or to avoid a collision.

  • Failure to maintain a single lane was not dangerous.

  • Approach to vehicle parked in cul-de-sac which was not moving and was anonymously reported to be suspicious without other evidence.

Am I being prosecuted twice?  The DA has a case against me and so does DPS?

You’re right, in a DWI you get prosecuted twice.  First by the District Attorney’s Office for the County where you were arrested and second by the Texas Department of Public Safety for your driver’s license.  If you are arrested for a refusal or breath test failure, then you will have 15 days to request an administrative hearing or ALR hearing.  This will allow you to challenge the suspension of your license for some of the same reasons listed previously.  When a hearing is requested it can delay the imposition of the sentence allowing you valuable time to create a plan for your life and continued income.  Questioning a police officer at an ALR hearing can help your case against the District Attorney’s office through cross examination by a skilled lawyer.   


A loss at an ALR hearing can lead to a disqualified CDL for 365 days and a personal license suspension.  Your CDL could be disqualified for three years if the DWI was involving the transportation of hazardous materials.  A DWI third offense can result in a lifetime disqualification of a CDL.

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