Being charged with a NC traffic violation can be as minor as getting a small fine or can be as serious as having your license suspended and possibly jail time for the most serious offenses.  Most drivers have a fairly good idea about what to expect for minor violations such as speeding, but the outcomes can be different for those who have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). For those who do have a CDL license, it bodes well for them to be aware of these differences because a temporary or permanent suspension of their license will affect their livelihood and how they provide for themselves and their families.

Whether or not a CDL license will be suspended, and for how long, depends on the type of violation. North Carolina characterizes suspendable violations into two categories: major and serious violations.

Major violations that result into a CDL suspension are DWI, having a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle, refusing to submit to an alcohol test as required by NC implied consent laws, leaving the scene of an accident, using the vehicle to commit a felony, driving a commercial vehicle with a suspended CDL license, causing the death of someone else because of negligent driving of a commercial vehicle, or using the vehicle during a felony involving manufacturing or distributing a controlled substance. If a license CDL driver is convicted of their first major violation, their CDL license will be suspended for one year. If convicted for a second major violation, then their CDL license will be suspended forever.

The other category relegated for CDL drivers is “serious” traffic violations. These include excessive speeding (15mph or higher over the legal limit), reckless driving, improper or erratic lane changes, following another vehicle too closely, violating a traffic law that causes a fatality, driving a commercial vehicle without a CDL, and driving a commercial vehicle without the proper class of CDL or endorsements. There is not a disqualification after a conviction of the first serious violation, but a second serious violation conviction within a 3-year period will result in a 60-day suspension. A third conviction within 3 years will result in a 120-day suspension. All offenses committed while operating a commercial vehicle count in determining the proper suspension, but serious violations committed while operating non-commercial vehicle are not included unless the violation causes their CDL or non-commercial driver’s licenses to be suspended.

If you hold a CDL license and you are charged with committing a North Carolina driving violation in Sampson or Duplin County, you need to contact a local traffic attorney that is well-versed in how a conviction will affect your CDL license, like Ludlum Law Firm. Some traffic violations such as a DWI can affect your CDL license even if that violation occurred in your private non-commercial vehicle. CDL license holders have invested a lot of time and energy into a profession that helps them to provide for their families. If you or someone you know is a licensed CDL holder and has received a traffic citation, have them contact our office for a free consultation. Our lawyers will help guide them through the best possible outcome and fight to let them keep their CDL license if possible.