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For commercial drivers, strict DUI laws

If you are a commercial driver in North Carolina, your commercial driver's license (CDL) is your livelihood. Any serious traffic violation, including a DWI, can put your license and your job in jeopardy. To protect yourself while driving in or through North Carolina, it is important to understand the laws you are required to adhere to.

First, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) creates the regulations for commercial drivers, and North Carolina has adopted them as well. With regard to driving while intoxicated, commercial drivers are held to a much higher standard than the average motorist. Whereas noncommercial drivers have a blood-alcohol content limit of 0.08 percent, the limit for commercial drivers is 0.04.

Next, it is important to understand who is held to the commercial DUI regulations. People who hold a CDL and their employers are typically required to adhere to federal regulations. To give you an idea of who falls into this category, some examples are: churches, governments at all levels, any company that hires people to drive commercial vehicles and for-hire motor carriers, among others.

Finally, you should always understand the consequences of a being charged DUI as a commercial driver. First, according to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, if you have any amount of alcohol in your system while driving -- even if it is below the 0.04 percent -- you will not be allowed to operate a commercial vehicle for 24 hours. If your BAC is higher than 0.04, you will be subjected to the same criminal procedures as other drivers. The ultimate consequence for a commercial driver charged with DUI, however, is that it could result in the loss of your CDL and the loss of your job.

If you have been charged with commercial drunk driving, it is very important to speak with an experienced DUI attorney. The right attorney can help you understand your options and protect your rights.

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