Being charged with a North Carolina traffic violation can be as minor as getting a small fine or as severe as having your license suspended and possibly jail time for the most serious offenses.

Most drivers have a reasonably good idea about what to expect for minor violations such as speeding. Still, the outcomes can differ for those with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). For those who do have a CDL, it’s good to be educated about these differences because a temporary or permanent suspension of their license can impact their livelihood. Here are three things you need to know about a commercial driver’s license suspension.

Reasons for Penalties and Charges

Specific actions and inactions cause professional drivers’ fines, traffic charges, and license suspensions. Such factors include:

  • Alcohol or drug-related charges
  • Carrying over the limit of cargo in weight
  • Driving while uninsured
  • Failure to stop at weigh stations
  • Habitual traffic violations
  • Logbook violations
  • Safety regulation violations
  • Speeding
  • Traffic violations while operating a personal vehicle

Types of commercial driver license suspension violations.

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

Major violations that result in a CDL suspension include:

  • 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 licensed 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, 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 no disqualification after a conviction of the first serious violation, but a second serious violation conviction within three years will result in a 60-day suspension. A third conviction within three years will result in a 120-day suspension.

All offenses committed while operating a commercial vehicle determine the proper suspension. Still, serious violations committed while operating a non-commercial vehicle are not included unless the violation causes their CDL or non-commercial driver’s licenses to be suspended.

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How we can help!
If you hold a CDL license and are charged with committing a North Carolina driving violation in Sampson or Duplin County, you need to contact an experienced local traffic attorney, like Ludlum Law Firm, on how a conviction will affect your CDL license.

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 provide for their families.

If you or someone you know is a licensed CDL holder and has received a traffic citation and is potentially facing a commercial driver’s license, 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.