Secure Your Future: Why A Criminal Defense Attorney Is Indispensable
In life-altering situations such as facing criminal charges, the path you choose can drastically influence your future. The guidance of a good criminal defense lawyer is not a luxury; it's a necessity. The Texas lawyers at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC focus on criminal defense, and we pride ourselves on relentless advocacy for our clients. Understanding that each case is unique, our criminal defense attorneys tailor our strategies to suit the needs of individuals and the highly specific criminal charges they face. The laws in TX can be complicated and penalties severe, which makes having the right criminal defense lawyer even more crucial. Make the choice to secure your future—pick up the phone and dial (512) 991-0576 or visit us online to schedule your initial consultation with a respected criminal defense attorney today.
In Texas, the consequences for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges are severe, especially for those holding a Commercial Driver License (CDL). For all CDL holders or aspirants, understanding the intricacies of DWI and its legal repercussions is paramount. Here's a more in-depth look into the regulations and what you, as a CDL driver, should be keenly aware of.
CDL Disqualifications: The Core Facts
Texas is stringent when it comes to CDL disqualifications after certain convictions. Both CDL and Commercial Learner Permit (CLP) holders can face disqualifications for specific offenses.
Alcohol-Related, Accident, And Felony Convictions
The implications of being convicted of offenses related to alcohol consumption over the legal limit, departing an accident scene, or committing any felony are significant:
- First Offense: Expect a disqualification for a minimum of one year.
- Subsequent DWI Conviction: A stark lifetime disqualification awaits.
Offenses In Hazardous Materials Vehicles
For those convicted while driving vehicles carrying hazardous materials:
- First Offense: At least a three-year disqualification.
- Second Offense: A stringent lifetime disqualification.
Repercussions For Serious Traffic Offenses
Acts like reckless driving, excessive speeding, following vehicles too closely, or making erratic lane changes with a commercial vehicle have their own set of consequences:
- Two such offenses within three years lead to a 60-day disqualification.
- Committing three offenses within a span of three years? That's a 120-day disqualification.
Railroad-Highway Crossing Violations
For those failing to adhere to railroad-highway grade crossing rules:
- First Offense: 60 days.
- Second Offense within three years: 120 days.
- Three offenses in a three-year span culminate in at least a year-long disqualification.
Felony Using A Vehicle
Engaging in a felony using a motor vehicle can result in a lifetime ban from holding a CDL.
Remember, CDL holders aren't just at risk when driving a commercial motor vehicle. Certain personal vehicle violations can lead to a CDL disqualification. Refer to the Texas Transportation Code 522.081 for more.
Texas Hold'em Initiative: A Drive For Enhanced Border Security
Texas launched the Texas Hold'em Initiative with a clear aim—strengthening border security. The initiative primarily targets the illicit smuggling of humans and prohibited goods through commercial vehicles. Importantly, any CDL driver knowingly involved in transporting undocumented individuals is subjected to severe federal penalties, which include hefty fines, potential incarceration, and an irrevocable lifetime CDL disqualification.
Your Right To Contest Disqualification: The Hearing Process
Facing a CDL disqualification doesn't mean you're devoid of rights. Texas law allows drivers to request a hearing to challenge the disqualification decision, but the clock is ticking—you have a mere 20 days. Upon timely submission, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) schedules the hearing, communicating the details to the concerned individual. This hearing, held within your residing county, is your platform to present your side of the story, offering pertinent facts to the hearing officer. If you've been through this process and remain disqualified, certain conditions could provide a window for an appeal.
The Road To CDL Reinstatement
Post a disqualification, if the root cause is two or more grave traffic offenses, Texas law dictates automatic CDL or CLP reinstatement after the mandated disqualification period, as long as there are no other pending actions against your driving record. It's crucial to remember that CDL and CLP holders cannot opt for a driver safety course.
For specific offenses, there's a silver lining—a potential reinstatement after 10 long years, provided the individual has completed a department-approved program. Yet, some offenses, especially human trafficking or drug-related felonies revolving around manufacturing or distribution, seal the fate, making reinstatement impossible.
Reinstatement isn't just about waiting; it involves submitting the CDL Disqualification Reinstatement form (CDL-8) to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Successful applicants then have to apply afresh as original CDL applicants.
Monitoring Your Driver Eligibility Status
For those keen on understanding their driver license status or exploring reinstatement possibilities, Texas offers a dedicated License Eligibility webpage. This resource-rich platform provides insights into any obligations or fees related to your driver license. Fulfilling compliance requirements and serving the mandatory suspension period will switch your status to "eligible".
Defenses To CDL DWI In Texas
Inaccuracy Of Blood Or Breath Tests
If you were tested for blood alcohol content (BAC), a defense could question the accuracy or reliability of the test. This can include issues with the equipment used, the process of the test, or the qualifications of the person administering the test.
Lack Of Probable Cause Relating To A DWI Arrest
The officer must have probable cause (which is, essentially, a valid reason) to initiate a traffic stop. If it's determined that the officer did not have a legitimate reason to pull you over, any evidence gathered during the stop, including a DWI test, might be thrown out.
Incorrect Administration Of Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests (FSTs) can only be administered under specific conditions and in a standardized way. If they were not, their results could be contested.
If you weren't read your rights, weren't allowed to contact an attorney, or experienced any other rights violation, it could serve as a defense.
Some medical conditions or medications can affect the results of breath or blood tests or might make someone appear impaired when they're not. This could be used as a defense if applicable.
Contesting The Hearing
As per the information, you can request a hearing to contest a CDL disqualification. If the request is submitted within the required 20 days, it provides an opportunity to argue against the disqualification.
Challenging The Number Of Offenses
If there's a discrepancy in the number of serious traffic offenses recorded within a given time frame, this can be contested. For example, if it's claimed you had three offenses within three years, but you believe you only had two, you could potentially avoid the 120-day disqualification.
Rehabilitation And Program Completion
For those disqualified for life due to specific offenses, entering and successfully completing an appropriate program approved by the Department can lead to potential reinstatement after 10 years.
It's crucial for anyone facing a DWI charge, especially CDL holders due to the strict penalties, to consult with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney who can evaluate the specifics of the case and provide tailored guidance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens To My CDL If I Receive A DWI Conviction In Texas?
If convicted of alcohol-related offenses, you can face a disqualification of your CDL for at least one year for the first offense and a lifetime disqualification for the second offense.
Are The Penalties More Severe If I'm Driving A Vehicle Carrying Hazardous Materials During The DWI Incident?
Yes. If convicted while operating a vehicle placarded for hazardous materials, the disqualification period is at least three years for the first offense and a lifetime for the second offense.
How Does Texas Treat Serious Traffic Offenses For CDL Holders?
Two serious traffic offenses within three years result in a 60-day disqualification, while three offenses within the same period lead to a 120-day disqualification.
What Is The Texas Hold'em Initiative?
The Texas Hold'em Initiative is a state effort to bolster border security. Its main objective is to curtail human and illegal contraband smuggling using commercial vehicles.
If I Knowingly Transport An Undocumented Individual, What Are The Repercussions?
Any individual transporting an undocumented person knowingly faces federal penalties, which can include fines, imprisonment, and a lifetime disqualification of commercial driving privileges.
Can I Contest A CDL Disqualification?
Yes, you can request a hearing to contest the disqualification. This request must be submitted within 20 days. If approved, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will schedule the hearing, providing you with all necessary details.
What Happens After My CDL Is Disqualified Due To Serious Traffic Offenses?
If your CDL is disqualified due to the conviction of two or more serious traffic offenses, there won't be any reinstatement requirements. Your CDL is automatically reinstated after the required disqualification period, provided no other enforcement actions are pending against your driving record.
Are There Any Offenses For Which A CDL Reinstatement Is Not Possible?
Yes, you're ineligible for reinstatement if you're convicted of human trafficking or felonies involving the manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing of controlled substances.
How Can I Check The Status Of My Driver License Or Potential Eligibility For Reinstatement?
Texas offers a License Eligibility webpage where you can check the status of your driver license and see if you're eligible for reinstatement, along with any owed fees or compliance requirements.
I've Completed My Disqualification Period. Does That Mean My CDL Is Automatically Reinstated?
Not necessarily. If approved for reinstatement after a disqualification, you are required to apply as an original CDL applicant at your local driver license office.
Stand With Confidence: Partner With A Reputable Criminal Defense Attorney To Protect Your Commercial Driver’s License
Facing criminal charges and the possible suspension of your license is an incredibly stressful experience that affects not only you but your loved ones as well. At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, our criminal defense attorneys understand what's at stake, regardless of the nuances of the criminal charge or charges that you may be facing. Our CDL DWI attorneys have years of experience and are committed to standing by your side throughout this challenging journey. We make it a point to thoroughly understand your case and provide you with a thoughtful legal strategy to defend your rights. Act now to better ensure that you secure a favorable outcome; call our criminal defense attorneys today at (512) 991-0576 or consult with an attorney online for a detailed case review.