Defending Against a Commercial DWI in North Carolina
Holding a commercial driver's license (CDL) is essential for commercial drivers, from semi-truck to bus drivers. Commercial vehicles require a specific skill set and qualifications. As a result, those with commercial driver's licenses are held to a higher standard than drivers of non-commercial passenger vehicles. Similarly, drivers with commercial driver's licenses are held to higher standards than passenger vehicle drivers when driving while intoxicated (DWI). When a commercial driver is charged with a DWI, serious criminal and administrative penalties can result.
What Constitutes a DWI for CDL Holders?
For non-commercial drivers, the blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold is .08%. The standard is much more stringent for holders of commercial driver's licenses. Commercial drivers cannot operate a commercial vehicle when their blood alcohol concentration is .04% or higher. Even if a commercial driver's license holder is arrested for a DWI while driving their private vehicle, and the driver has a BAC of at least .08%, a DWI conviction can lead to penalties against their commercial driver's license.
First-Time Commercial DWI
When a driver with a commercial driver's license is convicted of a first-time DWI in North Carolina, the penalties are harsh. The driver's commercial driver's license will be suspended for up to one year, and they will face an automatic 30-day suspension of their commercial driver's license upon arrest. If the driver were transporting hazardous materials when arrested for a DWI, the CDL suspension period would last up to three years. For commercial drivers, being charged with a DWI can be devastating. Drivers may lose their job because they are automatically suspended from driving a commercial vehicle for 30 days.
Multiple Commercial DWI Charges
The penalties become more severe for second and third-time offenders. For example, a second conviction of a DWI with a commercial driver's license can lead to a permanent commercial driver's license suspension. Similarly, a conviction of driving on a suspended license or a hit-and-run accident after being previously convicted of a DWI can also lead to a permanent suspension.
What if My BAC Was Below .04%?
Even if your blood alcohol concentration was below .04%, you might still face charges for operating a commercial vehicle after consuming alcohol. A first-time offense can result in a 10-day commercial driver's license suspension. A second offense within seven years can result in a one-year suspension of your driver's license. In addition to these penalties, you could also suffer other criminal penalties, including having a permanent criminal record, fines, and potential jail time. For many commercial drivers, a DWI conviction will ultimately lead to termination from their employment.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled DWI Attorney in North Carolina
Have you been charged with a DWI as a commercial driver? If so, your future, freedom, and ability to earn a living could be in jeopardy. You will benefit from working with a skilled, aggressive attorney. Contact the North Carolina DWI defense attorneys at Coastal South Law to schedule a case evaluation.