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Revocation of your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) as a result of a DWI

What are the consequences of getting a DWI while driving a commercial vehicle?

In North Carolina, commercial drivers are held to higher standards than drivers holding regular driver’s licenses. Commercial drivers may be charged with Driving While Impaired (DWI) if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) meets or exceeds .04, whereas drivers in passenger vehicles are not considered impaired until their BAC meets or exceeds .08.

If you are convicted of driving a commercial vehicle while impaired, you may be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. Because this penalty could result in you losing your job, it is very important that you contact an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible.

What if your alcohol concentration is below .04?

Under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-138.2A, it is a Class 3 misdemeanor to operate a commercial vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol. If you are convicted of this offense, you may be fined one hundred dollars ($100.00) and disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for 10 days. A second conviction within a seven-year period disqualifies you from driving a commercial vehicle for one year.

What are the consequences of refusing to take an Intoxilyzer test?

Impaired driving in a commercial vehicle is an “implied consent offense.” By getting behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle and driving on North Carolina’s highways, you “impliedly consent” to having your breath, blood or urine tested. If you refuse to submit to one of these tests after being charged with impaired driving in a commercial vehicle, you may be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year.

Are the penalties different if you are transporting hazardous materials?

Yes. If you are convicted of impaired driving in a commercial vehicle, and at the time of the offense you were transporting hazardous materials, you may be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for as long as three years.

May your commercial driver’s license be suspended after being convicted of impaired driving in a passenger vehicle?

Yes. You do not have to be convicted of impaired driving in a commercial vehicle in order to have your commercial driver’s license suspended for one year. A conviction of driving a passenger vehicle while impaired may also result in a one-year commercial driver’s license suspension. However, it is important to keep in mind that your alcohol concentration must meet or exceed .08 when driving a passenger vehicle. Driving a passenger vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .04 will not result in a one-year commercial driver’s license suspension.

What are the consequences of subsequent DWI convictions?

If you have been convicted of a DWI and you are disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year, a second DWI conviction disqualifies you from driving a commercial vehicle for life. However, upon meeting certain conditions set by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), your lifetime disqualification may be reduced to 10 years. A third DWI conviction does not permit reinstatement after 10 years; the lifetime disqualification will persist.

How do you reinstate your commercial driver’s license after the disqualification period has ended?

Once your disqualification period has ended, you are generally required to pay reinstatement fees and apply for a new commercial driver’s license. The fees to reinstate your commercial license may vary depending on the circumstances of your conviction. Additionally, you may be required to retake the written test and/or driving test as a part of your commercial driver’s license application.

Why should you contact one of our attorneys regarding a DWI charge?

Because losing your commercial driver’s license may have negative consequences on your employment status, you should contact one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are fighting on behalf of North Carolina defendants in courtrooms in Mecklenburg County and throughout the greater Charlotte region almost every day. We will guide you through the process, identify the strengths and weaknesses in your case, and aggressively pursue the best resolution possible.

For a free consultation, contact J. Bradley Smith at Arnold & Smith, PLLC by clicking here or call him at (704) 370-2828.