CDL / Commercial Driver's License Issues in North Carolina

CDL Issues and Pitfalls Discussed by the Raleigh, North Carolina Traffic Lawyers at Kurtz & Blum 

A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) is a special privilege and a source of livelihood.  There are special traffic rules that govern CDL holders outside of normal traffic laws.

When a driver obtains a CDL they give up certain rights in order to hold such a privilege.  First, anyone who holds a CDL automatically agrees to submit to a chemical analysis.  Your CDL will be suspended and disqualified for one year if you willfully refuse a chemical analysis.  Second, if you submit to a chemical analysis and the result is a 0.04 or high, your CDL will be suspended for at least thirty days.  This suspension will continue until you comply with any requirements the court imposes regarding a civil revocation.  Third, if you submit to a chemical analysis and the result is less than 0.04 but you have a detectable amount on your breath, you will be placed out of service for twenty-four hours.

Your CDL will be disqualified for ten days if you are convicted of a first offense of driving a commercial vehicle after consuming alcohol.  A second or third conviction of such offense within seven years of the first conviction will result in a one year suspension and disqualification.  For a fourth conviction in a seven year period, your CDL privilege will be disqualified for life and your privilege to drive will be suspended for one year.

Other offenses for which a single conviction will affect your CDL include:

  • Driving While Impaired (BAC at least 0.08)
  • Driving While Impaired (BAC of 0.06) in a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)
  • Driving While Impaired (BAC of 0.04 or 0.05) in a CMV
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving a CMV you were driving
  • Using a CMV to commit a felony
  • Vehicular manslaughter offense occurring while operating a CMV
  • Driving a CMV during a period your CDL was revoked, suspended, cancelled, or disqualified
  • A second conviction of any of these offenses will result in a lifetime suspension of your CDL
  • If any of these offenses occur while you are driving a CMV that is placarded for hazardous materials, your CDL will be disqualified for a minimum of three (3) years

Your CDL will also be disqualified for life if you use a CMV to commit a felony involving controlled substances. Your CDL will be suspended for no less than 60 days if you are convicted of two “serious traffic violations” within a threeyear period and for no less than 120 days if you are convicted of three such offenses. 

"Serious Traffic Violations" include:

  • Excessive speeding (15mph or more above posted speed limit)
  • Reckless driving
  • Following too close
  • Erratic lane changes
  • Traffic offenses committed in a CMV in connection with fatal traffic accidents
  • Driving a CMV with obtaining a CDL
  • Driving a CMV without having your CDL in your possession
Our traffic attorneys help people throughout Wake County, North Carolina.  We frequently handle offenses arising out of the following cities: Wendell, New Hope, Apex, Knightdale, Raleigh, Zebulon, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Cary, Garner and Morrisville.