Raleigh Commercial DWI Attorney
Drunk driving continues to be a menace on many North Carolina highways and roads, and with over 371 drunk driving related fatalities comprising 29 percent of traffic deaths in the state, something needs to be done for the average driver as well as commercial drivers. Nevertheless, harsh state laws and zero tolerance rules for commercial drivers can negatively affect one’s livelihood and career. After a single commercial DWI, it can be very difficult to get into the commercial driving industry again. As a leading Raleigh commercial DWI attorney, the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley seeks to help commercial drivers maintain their careers through an aggressive and capable DWI defense.
Far too often are North Carolina commercial drivers subject to illegal or intimidating police tactics as well as the prejudiced culture against alleged drunk drivers. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DWI while operating a commercial vehicle, remember that innocent until proven guilty is your right. From revoked or suspended driver’s licenses to costly convictions, the commercial DWI attorneys at Dewey P. Brinkley will review your case and inform you of your legal options, while diligently representing your interests in Raleigh or Wake County courts.
Overview of Commercial DWI Law in Raleigh and Wake County
Because commercial drivers are expected to carefully follow traffic laws and employ higher standards of safe driving, DWI laws in Wake County, as well as other counties in North Carolina, are much stricter. For example, as DWI for non-commercial drivers includes a threshold Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08, commercial drivers must have a BAC of 0.04 or below to avoid penalties. These main offenses for impaired driving are found in North Carolina General Statute § 20-138.2, and they include:
- A person commits the offense of impaired driving in a commercial motor vehicle if he drives a commercial motor vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within the State and is under the influence of an impairing substance, defined by alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, or impairment related to a Schedule I controlled substance.
- According to North Carolina General Statute § 20-138.2A, a person commits the offense of Operating a Commercial Vehicle After Consuming Alcohol if he or she is operating a vehicle while consuming alcohol or while alcohol remains in his or her body.
- According to North Carolina General Statute § 20-138.2C, a person commits the offense of Possession of Alcoholic Beverages While Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle if he or she is driving with an open or closed alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of the commercial motor vehicle.
Consequences for a Commercial DWI Conviction
When arrested for a commercial DWI, there are many mitigating factors the judge considers, including everything from safe driving at time of impairment, impairment caused by lawfully prescribed drugs, voluntary submission to a mental health facility, completion of substance abuse assessments, and any other factors mitigating the seriousness of the offense. On the other hand, the judge also considers possible aggravating factors related to the alleged crime, such as gross impairment with a BAC of 0.15 or higher, reckless or dangerous driving, negligent driving that led to an accident, prior convictions, passing a stopped school bus, and other aggravating factors.
With this in mind, it is also important to know that the judge uses these mitigating and aggravating factors when determining the extent of punishment for a DWI conviction. The levels of punishment in North Carolina include:
- Level 5: Fine of up to $200 and up to 60 days imprisonment
- Level 4: Fine of up to $500 and up to 120 days imprisonment
- Level 3: Fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months imprisonment
- Level 2: Fine of up to $2,000 and up to 12 months imprisonment
- Level 1: Fine of up to $4,000 and up to 24 months imprisonment
If there are three or four aggravated factors related to the alleged crime, the judge imposes a Level 1 punishment with the possibility of an Aggravated Level One Punishment, which includes a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 36 months imprisonment. Also, a first offense can result in a 10-day disqualification to operate a commercial vehicle, while subsequent offenses can result in a CDL revocation for one year or longer; a third or subsequent violation can result in mandatory revocation for life.
How a Raleigh Commercial DWI Attorney Can Help
Keeping your CDL license, avoiding jail time and large fines, and protecting your rights are three fundamental goals that form the basis of Dewey P. Brinkley’s defense strategy. With over 100 DWI cases in Raleigh District Courts, our experienced Raleigh commercial DWI attorneys have the resources and defense strategies necessary to give you the strongest case possible. From investigating the circumstances surrounding your arrest to fighting for a reduced sentencing, case dismissal, or alternative sentencing, we know what Wake County courts are looking for when working through DWI proceedings.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DWI while driving a commercial vehicle, it is essential to contact an experienced defense attorney immediately. We’ll use the full extent of North Carolina and federal laws to help you keep your CDL and avoid penalties. Please feel free to visit our office right in downtown Raleigh at 16 W. Martin Street, Suite 201, or you can contact us at (919) 832-0307. The moment we hear from you, we’ll begin building the strongest case possible.