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As if you didn’t know, impaired driving in a commercial motor vehicle is an extremely serious offense that carries not only higher insurance points than a DWI in a regular motor vehicle, but it can result in the loss of your commercial driver’s license (CDL). A DWI in a regular motor vehicle is distinct and separate from a DWI in a commercial motor vehicle, because the elements are different.

Pursuant to N.C. G.S. 20-138.2, this offense is committed when a person drives a commercial motor vehicle upon a highway, street or public vehicular area while under the influence of an impairing substance or after having consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol whereby the person’s blood alcohol concentration is 0.04 or more after driving or with any amount of a schedule I controlled substance in his or her blood or urine.

N.C.G.S. 20-4.01(3d) defines a commercial motor vehicle. Whether the commercial motor vehicle is operated for private, non-commercial purposes is irrelevant. Moreover, the fact that a person is legally entitled to use alcohol or a drug is not a defense to a charge of DWI in a commercial vehicle.

A DWI in a commercial motor vehicle is a misdemeanor and carries six levels of punishment depending on the defendant’s level and any statutory aggravating and mitigating factors. Aggravated Level One is the most serious level which carries a punishment of up to three years in prison. Level five is the least serious and carries a punishment of not more than 60 days in prison.

A person convicted of DWI in a commercial motor vehicle will receive a license revocation by the NC DMV for one year if their blood alcohol concentration level is 0.06 or higher.   As with any DWI, the commercial driver will be subject to a host of conditions and fees, including a substance abuse assessment, treatment, revocation fees, restoration fees, court costs, possibly community service fees and/or probation fees and fines.

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