Many people will say there is nothing quite like an ice cold beer after a long day; some like a glass of red, or maybe rosé with a meal, especially brunch; some like a mint julep on a particularly hot day. Whoever you are and your preferences, there’s a drink out there for you, assuming you indulge and imbibe. Whether it’s mimosa at breakfast, an ale with lunch, happy hour, or cocktail hour, responsibility is the name of the game; more-so if you are driving afterward. If you are a commercial driver, or hold a CDL, you are held to even higher and more restrictive standards than the average passenger vehicle operator. If you enjoy one too many drinks on your meal break and return to driving, you can end up in serious trouble if you are pulled over and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than .04% – one half the legal limit for standard drivers.
Any Texas trucking accident lawyer will tell you that CDL holders are held to a higher standard than standard vehicle drivers as a means to mitigate drunk driving and trucking accidents, which tend to have greater damages. If you are caught with a BAC over .04% while driving a commercial vehicle and are convicted of a DUI, your license is suspended for a minimum of one year for a first offense. For an individual whose source of income depends on driving, a year-long suspension poses detrimental ramifications. If you drive a truck with hazardous materials and are charged with a DUI, that suspension increases to three years; a second DUI charge will result in a lifetime CDL ban. If you receive a first-time offense DUI charge and also receive a conviction for a serious traffic offense, such as reckless driving—even without alcohol involved—your license will be suspended for 60 days.
If you’re thinking, “yeah, I know I can’t get caught with a DUI on the clock in my commercial vehicle because it’ll ruin my career and source of income as a driver, but at least I can have an extra beer here and there if I’m driving my personal car,” you’d have a fair sense of logic on your side; however, in the state of Texas, it does not matter if you are driving your personal vehicle versus a company vehicle. If you are convicted of a DUI charge in your own vehicle, you will still have your CDL suspended for one year. Additionally, CDL drivers can be subject to blood alcohol/breathalyzer tests more frequently and at random. if you refuse to take the tests, it results in an automatic one- year ban of your CDL.
DUIs can ruin lives; DUIs for CDL holders can ruin lives and careers. As a CDL holder, the police spotlight is on you to adhere to strict laws so as to not endanger other drivers and pedestrians. Think twice before hopping behind the wheel, whether a company or personal vehicle, after a drink or two. If you are facing a DUI charge as a CDL operator, it is imperative to contact a trucking lawyer to assist you through the legal battle. Contact us now for more information and to discuss next steps.