What Happens When You Receive a DWI as a Commercial Driver?

Commercial-driver-CDL-DWI

As a commercial driver, you have a very important responsibility in your transportation role on public roads. Someone who holds a Commercial Driver’s License, also known as a Class A license or CDL, is held to a higher standard and more stringent requirements on the road. This is true not only when driving for work but also when driving for non-commercial purposes. Receiving a Driving While Impaired (DWI) charge carries escalated consequences even if the case never results in a conviction.

If you have a CDL in North Carolina and have been charged with a DWI, you need to consult with an attorney. The punishment can be severe. Attorneys at Coolidge Law Firm who are experienced in this area of the law can help immeasurably in assisting you in this process.

CDL DWI Before Trial

For someone without a CDL or for a commercial driver who is driving a non-commercial vehicle, with a blood alcohol level of .08 immediately faces a 30-day license suspension. For a commercial driver who is operating a commercial vehicle, however, a breath/blood test of .04 or higher is all that is required to trigger the 30-day suspension.

30-Day Suspension

The 30-day license suspension is dictated by the N.C. Civil Revocation Law. This 30-day revocation of license also occurs if the driver refuses to provide a breath or blood sample. No conviction is needed and the state doesn’t need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt for the suspension to occur. Any civil revocation for a DWI automatically requires a one-year disqualification to drive a commercial motor vehicle in addition to the standard 30-day suspension.

If the CDL holder had a prior conviction that resulted in a suspension, such as for DWI, hit and run, or driving on a suspended CDL, the civil revocation could result in a permanent CDL suspension.

Challenging the Civil Revocation

These suspensions usually occur immediately after being charged. But, the North Carolina General Statute 20-16.5 provides a limited opportunity to challenge the civil revocation. The timeframe to file a challenge is within 10 days of the start date of the revocation, so it must be filed quickly. If you miss the deadline to file, you waive the ability to file a challenge forever. In addition to the timeframe being limited, the basis of the challenge is also limited as set by the statute. Because of these requirements and restrictions, it is wise to secure an attorney who is experienced in these types of civil revocation hearings.

Commercial Driver Convicted of DWI

Upon conviction, a CDL holder faces a standard one-year suspension of his/her C license as well as a one-year disqualification of his/her CDL. Though there is the option to obtain a Limited Driving Privilege (LDP) for the C license, there is no option for an LDP for commercial driving purposes. The DWI conviction prohibits Class A driving for one year.

A CDL holder who has a prior conviction for a DWI, Hit and Run, Driving with a License Revoked, or other specific prior offenses can face a permanent CDL suspension. Essentially, the CDL holder can be disqualified for one year based on the initial civil revocation before trial, and receive an additional one year disqualification later for a DWI conviction.

After Conviction

It is difficult to work as a commercial driver if you have a record of a DWI conviction or a civil revocation. Employers and insurance companies look at you as being a high risk. The DMV can place restrictions like a blood alcohol content level or .04 or .00 on the driver, or set forth the requirement of an interlock device. If a DWI conviction or civil revocation causes a permanent CDL suspension due to a prior conviction, you will have very few options and usually will need to wait a minimum of 10 years before petitioning the DMV to reinstate a Class A license.

Contact Raleigh DWI Attorney Today

If you have been charged with DWI, you need to contact Coolidge Law Firm as soon as possible in order to challenge your civil revocation, especially if you have a CDL. Missing the opportunity to file a challenge puts you in a position of having significant and long-lasting consequences. We serve all of Wake County including Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Durham, Garner, and Wake Forest. Speak to a Raleigh DWI attorney today at (919) 239-8448 or complete the contact form below.

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