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    CDL Suspension in North Carolina

    The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) uses federal guidelines to monitor drivers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) in the state.

    Your CDL can be suspended for several reasons, including:

    • Committing several traffic violations.
    • Railroad crossing violations.
    • Driving while intoxicated (DWI).
    • Leaving an accident scene.

    About Your Suspended CDL in NC

    If you have a North Carolina CDL, you are subject to different regulations than non-commercial drivers.

    These regulations are often more strict and include offenses that do not affect non-commercial drivers, such as violating out-of-service rules.

    NOTE: You MUST notify your employer if you were convicted of any traffic violation within 30 days.

    Types of CDL Suspensions

    Your CDL will be disqualified if you commit any of the following:

    • Major offenses, including:
      • DWI offenses, including refusal to test for blood alcohol content.
      • Leaving an accident scene.
      • Use of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) to commit a felony.
      • Vehicular manslaughter while operating a CMV.
      • Driving a CMV without an invalid CDL (revoked, suspended, or disqualified).
      • Using a commercial vehicle to manufacture, distribute, or dispense controlled substances.
        • Results in lifetime disqualification.
    • Serious traffic violations, such as:
      • Excessive speeding.
      • Reckless driving.
      • Erratic lane changing.
      • Driving without your CDL.
      • Driving a CMV that you are not endorsed to drive.
      • Unlawful use of a mobile phone while driving a CMV
    • Railroad crossing violations, including:
      • Failing to stop at tracks.
      • Failing to clear tracks.
      • Failing to ensure space or undercarriage clearance.
    • Out-of-order service violations.

    Length of NC CDL Suspensions

    If the NC DMV suspends your CDL, the length of the disqualification will be based on:

    • The violation type.
    • Your prior offenses.
    Reason for Suspension Number of Violations Length of Suspension
    Major offense 1st offense

    2nd offense
    1 year; 3 years if carrying hazardous materials
    Use of a vehicle to manufacture, dispense, or distribute
    illegal drugs.

    1st offense


    Serious Traffic Violations

    2 violations in 3 years
    3 violations in 3 years

    60 days
    120 days

    Railroad Crossing Violations

    1st offense
    2nd offense in 3 years
    3rd offense (or additional offenses) in 3 years

    60 days
    120 days
    1 year

    Out-of-Service Order Violations

    1st offense
    2nd offense in 10 years
    3rd offense in 10 years

    90 days
    1 year
    3 years

    Out-of-Service Order Violations (carrying HAZMAT or
    operating a vehicle designed to carry 15 passengers or more)

    1st offense
    2nd offense (or additional offenses) in 10 years

    180 days
    3 years

    In some cases, a lifetime suspension may be reduced to 10 years for second offenses.

    Check Your License Status

    Are you worried about the state of your CDL? You can check your NC driving record today to find out.

    Your record will show you your history of driving in the state, including tickets, accidents, traffic violations, etc.

    Driving with a Suspended CDL

    If you drive a CMV while your North Carolina CDL is suspended, your license will be suspended again for at least 1 year.

    This suspension will be longer if you:

    • Have previous suspensions for DUI, leaving an accident, or using a CMV in a felony.
    • Were driving a CMV with a hazardous materials placard.

    DWI / DUI CDL Suspensions in North Carolina

    Driving while intoxicated (DWI), also called driving under the influence (DUI) results in CDL suspensions.

    DWI violations include:

    • Driving a CMV with any detectable blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
      • Will result in an out-of-service order for 24 hours.
    • Driving a CMV with a BAC over 0.04%.
    • Driving any vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
    • Refusing to take a BAC test while driving any vehicle.

    Please see our DUI & DWI in North Carolina page for more information.

    NC CDL Suspension Hearings & Appeals

    The NC DMV offers hearings for drivers who’ve had their licenses suspended. Because a suspension of your regular license can result in CDL suspension, requesting a hearing can save you from CDL disqualification. To request an administrative hearing:

    • By phone: (919) 715-7000.
    • By mail:
        Driver License Hearings
        3116 Mail Service Center
        Raleigh, NC 27699-3116

    You can also able to appeal the decision of this hearing to the NC Superior Court. Appeals must be made within 30 days.

    NOTE: The DMV hearing and/or appeal DO NOT take the place of your criminal court hearing.

    Reinstate Your NC CDL

    Reinstatement generally involves the following steps:

    • Waiting until your disqualification period has ended.
    • Paying reinstatement and service fees.
      • (See “Fees to Reinstate Your NC CDL” below.)
    • Apply for a new CDL.
      • You may have to retake the written test or driving test depending on the reason your CDL was suspended.

    Once your license is reinstated, any driver’s license points leading to your suspension are canceled.

    Call the DMV at (919) 715-7000 for questions regarding your requirements for reinstatement.

    NOTE: You may also need to satisfy requirements handed down by the court.

    Fees to Reinstatement Your CDL

    The fees to reinstate your commercial driver license in North Carolina will vary based on your circumstances and your reason for suspension. Note that you may also need to pay additional court fees and penalties.

    The fees below are general license reinstatement fees exacted by the DMV:

    • Restoration of driver’s license:$50.
    • Restoration after a DWI conviction:$100.
    • Service fee: $50.
      • Does not apply if you surrendered your license to the DMV prior to the start of the suspension.

    Your fees may differ based on your CDL endorsement; contact your local DMV office for specifics to your case.

    Accepted Payment Methods

    You can pay your fee by:

    • Cash.
    • Money order.
    • Personal check.

    NOTE: These fees DO NOT include federal fines, court fees, course fees, or application fees that may be required for your reinstatement.

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