6 Consequences of DWI for Texas Commercial Drivers

You may think that getting a DWI as a commercial driver in Texas is just like any other DUI offense. However, the consequences for commercial drivers are much more severe and can have lasting impacts on your career and personal life.

From license suspension to increased insurance premiums, the repercussions of a DWI can be harsh. But that’s not all. There are six key consequences that you need to be aware of if you find yourself facing a DWI charge.

These consequences can have a domino effect on your future, making it crucial for you to understand the full extent of what you may be up against.

License Suspension

If you’re a Texas commercial driver and are convicted of DWI, your license will be suspended. As a commercial driver, your livelihood depends on your ability to operate a vehicle safely and responsibly. The Texas Department of Public Safety takes DWI offenses seriously, and the consequences can be severe.

Upon conviction, your commercial driver’s license (CDL) will be suspended for a minimum of one year. This means that you’ll be unable to legally operate a commercial vehicle during this time.

The duration of the suspension may vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your DWI offense. If you were transporting hazardous materials at the time of your arrest, the suspension period may be extended to three years. Additionally, if you refuse to take a breath or blood test during the arrest, your CDL will be suspended for one year without the possibility of obtaining a restricted license.

It is important to note that a DWI conviction while operating a non-commercial vehicle can also lead to the suspension of your CDL. This is because Texas law considers DWI offenses as a threat to public safety, regardless of the type of vehicle involved.

Increased Insurance Premiums

When a Texas commercial driver is convicted of a DWI, one of the consequences they may face is an increase in their insurance premiums. This increase is a direct result of the higher risk that insurance companies associate with drivers who’ve been convicted of driving while intoxicated.

Here are four reasons why DWI convictions lead to increased insurance premiums:

  1. Risk assessment: Insurance companies use various factors to assess the risk associated with insuring a driver. A DWI conviction indicates a higher risk of future accidents or violations, which leads to higher premiums.
  2. Policy cancellation: Some insurance companies may choose to cancel the policy of a commercial driver convicted of a DWI. This can result in the driver having to seek coverage from a high-risk insurance provider, which typically charges significantly higher premiums.
  3. SR-22 requirement: In Texas, a DWI conviction often requires the driver to obtain an SR-22 form, which is a certificate of financial responsibility. This requirement is an additional cost for the driver, and insurance providers may charge higher premiums to include the SR-22 filing.
  4. Long-term impact: DWI convictions can remain on a driver’s record for many years. Insurance companies take this into account when determining premiums, as they consider the driver’s overall risk profile.

It is important for commercial drivers in Texas to be aware of the potential consequences of a DWI conviction, including the significant increase in insurance premiums.

Employment Consequences

Commercial drivers in Texas who are convicted of a DWI often face serious employment consequences. As a commercial driver, your livelihood depends on your ability to operate a vehicle safely and responsibly. A DWI conviction raises concerns about your judgment and reliability, which can lead to significant difficulties in finding and maintaining employment in the trucking industry.

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One of the immediate consequences you may face is the suspension of your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Without a valid CDL, you are unable to legally operate a commercial vehicle, making it nearly impossible to secure a job as a commercial driver. Additionally, many trucking companies have strict policies against hiring individuals with a history of DWI convictions, further limiting your employment opportunities.

To help illustrate the potential employment consequences of a DWI conviction, consider the following table:

Employment Consequences Explanation
Loss of job Many employers have zero-tolerance policies for DWI convictions, leading to immediate termination.
Difficulty finding new employment Other trucking companies may be hesitant to hire someone with a DWI conviction on their record.
Increased insurance premiums If you are able to find employment, your insurance premiums are likely to significantly increase.
Limited career advancement A DWI conviction may hinder your ability to advance in your career as a commercial driver.

It is important to understand the potential long-term impact a DWI conviction can have on your employment prospects. Taking steps to prevent a DWI conviction, such as avoiding alcohol before driving and using designated drivers, is crucial for maintaining a successful career as a commercial driver.

Criminal Penalties

After a DWI conviction, commercial drivers in Texas can expect to face a range of criminal penalties. These penalties are designed to ensure accountability and deterrence for those who choose to drink and drive while operating commercial vehicles. Here are four criminal penalties that you may face as a commercial driver in Texas:

  1. License Suspension: Your commercial driver’s license (CDL) will be suspended for one year for a first-time DWI offense, and for life for a second offense. This means you’ll be unable to legally operate a commercial vehicle during the suspension period.
  2. Fines: The fines for a DWI conviction can be substantial. In Texas, a first-time DWI offense can result in fines up to $2,000, while subsequent offenses can lead to fines up to $10,000. These fines can have a significant impact on your financial well-being.
  3. Probation: Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be placed on probation, which requires you to regularly report to a probation officer, attend alcohol education programs, and comply with other conditions set by the court. Violating probation can result in additional penalties.
  4. Jail Time: In some cases, a DWI conviction can lead to jail time. The length of the sentence will depend on various factors such as your prior criminal history and the severity of the offense. Serving time in jail can have long-lasting consequences on your personal and professional life.

It is important to understand the potential criminal penalties associated with a DWI conviction as a commercial driver in Texas. These penalties highlight the seriousness of drinking and driving, emphasizing the importance of making responsible choices on the road.

Ignition Interlock Device Requirement

The requirement for ignition interlock devices is a significant measure aimed at preventing repeat offenses and ensuring the safety of Texas commercial drivers. An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer installed in a vehicle that measures the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) before allowing the engine to start. If the BAC is above the preset limit, the vehicle will not start. This requirement acts as a deterrent for drivers with previous DWI convictions, as it effectively prevents them from driving under the influence again.

The ignition interlock device requirement for Texas commercial drivers is outlined in the Texas Transportation Code. According to the code, any commercial driver convicted of DWI is required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle for a specified period. The duration of the requirement depends on the number of previous DWI offenses and the driver’s BAC at the time of arrest.

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To better understand the ignition interlock device requirement for Texas commercial drivers, refer to the table below:

Number of Previous Offenses BAC at Time of Arrest Ignition Interlock Requirement Duration
First offense Any 1 year
Second offense Less than 0.15% 2 years
Second offense 0.15% or higher 3 years
Third or subsequent offense Any 3 years

Professional Reputation Damage

When you’re convicted of a DWI as a commercial driver in Texas, the consequences can extend beyond legal penalties.

One major impact is the damage to your professional reputation. Firstly, you may face job loss as many employers have zero-tolerance policies for DWI convictions.

Additionally, your commercial driver’s license may be suspended, further damaging your ability to find employment in the industry.

Job Loss

Losing your job as a commercial driver in Texas due to a DWI can have severe consequences on your professional reputation. Here are four reasons why job loss can be devastating:

  1. Financial instability: Losing your job means losing your source of income. This can lead to financial strain and difficulties in meeting your financial obligations.
  2. Difficulty finding new employment: A DWI conviction can make it challenging to find another job as a commercial driver. Potential employers may view you as a liability and be hesitant to hire you.
  3. Damage to your professional reputation: Losing your job due to a DWI can tarnish your professional reputation. It may be challenging to rebuild trust with future employers and colleagues.
  4. Emotional and psychological impact: Job loss can have a significant impact on your mental well-being. It can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and depression, affecting your overall quality of life.

Losing your job as a commercial driver due to a DWI is a serious consequence that can have long-lasting effects on your professional reputation and personal well-being.

License Suspension

License suspension for a commercial driver in Texas due to a DWI can result in significant damage to their professional reputation. When a commercial driver’s license is suspended, it sends a clear message to employers, colleagues, and clients that the driver has engaged in risky and irresponsible behavior. This can lead to a loss of trust and credibility in the industry, making it difficult for the driver to find new job opportunities or maintain existing ones. The following table provides a summary of the potential consequences of license suspension for a commercial driver in Texas due to a DWI:

Consequences of License Suspension
Loss of job Difficulty finding new employment Financial strain
Damage to professional reputation Loss of trust and credibility Negative impact on future career prospects
Increased insurance premiums Limited job opportunities Potential loss of commercial driver’s license

It is clear that license suspension can have far-reaching effects on a commercial driver’s professional life, making it crucial to avoid DWI offenses.


In conclusion, the consequences of a DWI for Texas commercial drivers are severe and far-reaching. From license suspension and increased insurance premiums to employment consequences and criminal penalties, the impact can be devastating.

Additionally, the requirement of an ignition interlock device and the potential damage to professional reputation further compound the repercussions.

It’s crucial for commercial drivers to prioritize responsible and sober driving to avoid these serious consequences.

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