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North Carolina has harsh penalties for drunk driving with a commercial driver’s license. The legal intoxication rate is lower for commercial drivers, and the consequences are more punitive.

Under NCGS §20-138.2, a person with a commercial driver’s license who tests 0.04 percent or higher on a blood alcohol content test immediately receives a 30-day suspension. According to NCGS §20-17.4, this 30-day suspension automatically triggers a one-year suspension to drive a commercial vehicle.

A second DWI under §20-138.2 results in a permanent loss of a commercial driver’s license. Not only would you lose your job, but there are also other consequences from a DWI conviction.

CDL Suspension Even in Personal or Non-Commercial Vehicle

The penalties for a DWI with a CDL still apply even if you are operating a non-commercial or personal vehicle. However, the legal intoxication limit is 0.08% in these circumstances.

You should know that even without a tractor-trailer, a truck cab is considered a commercial vehicle.

Impaired Driving With a CDL

It isn’t only alcohol intoxication that results in a commercial driver’s license suspension. If you drive while under the influence of marijuana, cocaine, or even over-the-counter cold medicines, you’ll still lose your CDL for one year on a first offense.

You’ll face harsher consequences if you are charged with both a DWI and any bodily amount of a Schedule I drug, including marijuana.

Additional Penalties from DWI With a CDL

When you face a possible conviction under NCGS §20-138.2, you could lose your commercial driver’s license for one year on a first offense and permanently with a second charge.

Depending on the severity and nature of your offense, you could also:

  • Serve jail time
  • Pay a steep fine
  • Perform community service
  • Receive probation
  • Have a permanent criminal record that shows up on background checks

Your Insurance Premiums Increase

A DWI with a CDL conviction means that you’ll pay a lot more for insurance. Insurance companies consider a drunk driving conviction as high-risk. You might also have to pay for an ignition interlock device on all your vehicles after your one-year suspension is over.

You Get Points Against Your License

A DWI under §20-138.2 increases your risk of losing your license due to points assessed against you. You should know that states with a point rating system share their information. For example, a moving violation with three points assessed by the Georgia DMV is added to your total points in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) tracks your points. If you get 12 points against your license in three years, your license is suspended. The DMV will also suspend your CDL if you accumulate eight points within three years after having your license reinstated after a suspension.

Some common points to be aware of:

Aggressive driving and you hold a commercial license Six Points
Passing a stopped school bus Five Points
Hit and run with property damage Four Points
Speeding ten MPH or more over the speed limit Three Points
Illegal passing or stop sign/stop light violation Three Points

North Carolina drivers who have their licenses suspended for a second time must wait ten years before applying for a new one.

How to Fight a DWI for a CDL

You have the right to a vigorous defense when you face a DWI conviction. While you have the option of defending yourself, a DWI lawyer in North Carolina has a deep understanding of state laws. You may have a better outcome when you have an attorney to guide you through the legal process.

Contest the Revocation

You may request a hearing if your license is revoked. You must submit your request during your first court appearance or within ten days of the proposed revocation using a form from the DMV. The cost of the hearing is $450, with a CDL disqualification for an additional $200.

Seek a Dismissal

DWI charges for a CDL can be dismissed under certain circumstances, including:

  • Improper arrest process
  • Illegally obtained evidence
  • Improperly administered test
  • Improperly maintained or calibrated breathalyzers

Get a Free Consultation

If you have a commercial driver’s license and face a potential DWI conviction, talk to an experienced DWI lawyer. You’ve worked hard to get your CDL and have so much to lose if convicted.

Call Randall & Stump Criminal Defense Attorneys at 980-237-4579 for a free consultation.