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
Have you Received a Traffic Citation in Charlotte, NC?
If you received a traffic citation, you need to speak with an experienced traffic ticket attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.