Anyone with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) has an increased level of responsibility and duty of care, even when they’re not working. A charge of Driving While Impaired (DWI) for such drivers is considered a Commercial DWI. Because a CDL is required for many jobs that require driving, losing that license can directly impact your livelihood. This is especially true for individuals who drive large trucks long distances over the road.
As harsh as a DWI is, the laws are even stricter for someone with a CDL license.
At The Traffic Stop
North Carolina Law makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAD) of 0.04 percent or more.
North Carolina General Statute § 20-138.2A makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor operate any commercial vehicle with any amount of alcohol. If you have any detectable level of alcohol in your system, even under .04%, you will be placed “out of service” for a period of 24 hours. A conviction will bring a 10-day disqualification from driving a commercial vehicle and a fine of $100. Within seven years, if you are convicted a second time, you’ll face a one-year prohibition on driving a commercial vehicle.
A CDL driver will also have an increase in the number of “points” on their driving record as a result. Fines can also be increased to as much as double for a CDL license holder.
Penalties are increased if you are in the process of transporting hazardous materials and are stopped for DWI.
If you’re convicted of DWI while transporting these materials, you can be disqualified from driving any commercial vehicle for as long as three years. A second conviction will result in a permanent revocation.
Subsequent DWI Convictions
A first-time conviction for a CDL DWI can disqualify you from driving a commercial vehicle for up to one year.
A second DWI brings a lifetime suspension but can be reduced to ten years by meeting certain conditions set out by the DMV.
A third DWI is a lifetime suspension without the opportunity for reinstatement.
DWI In A Passenger Vehicle
Even if you were driving your own personal vehicle or a rental car, a DWI can still cause problems for your CDL.
However, the threshold is the same for anyone driving a passenger vehicle. If you are stopped with a BAC of .08 or greater, or if the officer believes you are impaired even if you are below .08, you can still be arrested for DWI. A conviction for DWI under these circumstances could lead to a year-long suspension of your CDL.
If your personal driver’s license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, you won’t be able to request a “hardship” CDL license.
Stop a DWI From Ending Your CDL And Your Career
Losing your commercial driver’s license can have a direct impact on your employment, in some cases, immediately, even if the case never results in a conviction. If you’re arrested, it’s up to you to fight for your license and your livelihood. The right DWI defense lawyer can make all the difference.
Dewey P. Brinkley is a former Wake County prosecutor who works to defend DWI cases for CDL drivers who have been arrested. He can prepare a strong defense and make sure you are fairly represented in court. Contact our Raleigh law office today at (919) 832-0307 or use our online contact form for a free consultation.