If you are a truck driver, getting a Charlotte traffic ticket can be more serious than you think. Not only could you face a jail sentence and large fine, but you could be jeopardizing your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and your ability to work as a trucker. In addition, your employer could have a rule about terminating its drivers for traffic violations. However, an experienced traffic attorney can help you avoid these harsh consequences.
What Is Required to Obtain a Commercial License in North Carolina?
Under federal law, a truck driver who crosses state lines must be at least 21 years old. North Carolina has its own special requirements for people who want to obtain a commercial license to drive a truck. Our state follows the federal system of three classifications of CDL based on the size and other characteristics of the truck. Some of the requirements for obtaining a commercial driver’s license include:
- Meet the requirements for a driver’s license in North Carolina and have proof of your residence and two pieces of identification.
- Provide proof of liability insurance for the vehicle you plan to drive.
- Certify with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) that you have a clean driving record.
- Provide a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate certifying that you are medically fit to drive a truck.
- Take a written driver test.
- Take a driving skills test.
- Pay the fee for a commercial driver’s license.
Traffic Violations That Can Result in Your CDL Suspension
If a trucker commits many traffic violations, North Carolina law allows double the amount of any fine or other penalty. In addition, a truck driver can lose his license temporarily or permanently for certain offenses. How long a person would have his CDL suspended would depend on whether the violation is classified as major or serious. In addition, a CDL will be suspended for life for using any vehicle in the commission of a felony involving the manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance.
Certain traffic violations—whether they involve a commercial motor vehicle or other vehicle—are major violations that will result in a one-year suspension of a CDL for a first offense. Both commercial and non-commercial traffic tickets are included. A second violation would come with a lifetime suspension of a trucker’s license. However, a truck driver may be able to get his CDL reinstated after 10 years. Some of these major violations include:
- Being under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
- Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or higher while driving a commercial vehicle
- Refusing to take a blood alcohol test
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Using the vehicle to commit a felony
- Causing a fatality while operating the truck, such as motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, and negligent homicide
You would not have your CDL suspended for a first violation of a serious traffic offense. However, a second serious violation within three years would result in a 60-day suspension and a third violation within three years would require a 120-day suspension. Traffic violations while driving a non-commercial vehicle are not included. Traffic violations that are classified as serious include the following:
- Speeding excessively, which includes any speeding 15 miles per hour or more over the speed limit
- Driving recklessly
- Making improper or erratic lane changes
- Following too closely to the vehicle in front
- Violating a North Carolina motor vehicle traffic control law other than a parking violation that results in a fatality
- Driving without a CDL or without a valid one in the trucker’s position
Our experienced traffic attorneys at Browning & Long, PLLC are here to help you build a strong defense to your Charlotte traffic ticket so that your ticket is dismissed or reduced to a less serious violation that will not affect your CDL. To learn more about what we can do to help, start an online chat to schedule your free initial consultation.