Like all but one of the other states, North Carolina’s state law allows officers and prosecutors to charge a Rocky Mount resident with drunk driving automatically if they test for .08 or greater blood alcohol content, assuming the test was properly administered. While not impossible, someone who has under a .08 BAC is less likely to be accused of drunk driving and, thus, less likely to lose his or her license.
Such is not the case for commercial drivers, including truckers and drivers of other large commercial vehicles. While they may not face criminal charges, if they have .04 or more BAC, drivers can still face the loss of their ability to drive commercial vehicles. One important note, however, is that this lower BAC applies only when a person is operating a commercial vehicle.
Even for a first time offense, the penalty for violating this provision is a one-year disqualification from operating a commercial vehicle. The disqualification is longer if the person was hauling certain hazardous materials. A second offense is a lifetime ban from commercial driving, although a person may ask for relief from the ban after 10 years.
In effect, this means the loss the driver’s livelihood for at least 12 months. At worst, the offense can scare away insurance companies and prospective employers and customers from ever working with the driver again.
A driver accused of testing at .04 BAC or greater has a lot at stake, even in the absence of a criminal charge. This sort of traffic offense must be taken seriously, and the driver will want to evaluate all potential legal options.