The Process To Fight The 30 Day Civil Revocation
In North Carolina, if you are charged with driving while impaired (“DWI“) and refuse to submit to a breath test or blood test, or receive a result of .08 or greater then you will be subject to an immediate 30 day civil revocation of your driver’s license. While you have a right to a criminal trial on the final issues in the criminal charges, the civil revocation of your driver’s license is immediate. While you can get a limited driving privilege after ten days, you also have the possibility of immediately petitioning to reverse the revocation. While limited privileges will allow you to drive to work, school, the grocery store, and anywhere necessary for the maintenance of your household, if you choose to fight the civil revocation and win the petition to reverse the revocation, you get your full license restored immediately.
In order to initiate a civil revocation, a law enforcement officer must demonstrate that he had “reasonable grounds” to believe that you were driving while impaired and either willfully refused to give a breath sample or had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit (.08). If the Chemical Analyst believes you deliberately did not blow hard enough, or if you refused a test then the Chemical Analyst must create and send the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) a statement swearing that the person willfully refused. This is called an “affidavit” and it must contain facts explaining the probable cause for you to be subjected to the Implied Consent requirements and must state that you were notified of your Implied Consent rights. If the DMV does not receive a properly executed affidavit then the DMV has no statutory authority to revoke your driving privileges for the refusal.
After an affidavit and revocation report is filed, the magistrate inevitably finds probable cause and enters an order revoking your driver’s license for 30 days (this is called a “Revocation Order”). Contesting a civil revocation is particularly vital if you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) because you will lose your CDL immediately and then be disqualified for a year regardless of the fact that your criminal case has not been heard.
You only have ten days in which to request a hearing to contest this civil revocation and one year disqualification from a CDL. This request must specify “the grounds upon which the validity of the revocation is challenged” and the hearing itself will be limited to the grounds detailed in the request. Contesting the revocation report is important because, if it is not challenged, the judge may simply accept any fact listed in the revocation report as true. However, if contested, the judge must find that each condition of revocation was met by “the greater weight of the evidence” in order to sustain the revocation. At the end of the hearing, the judge must enter an order either sustaining or rescinding the revocation. This decision is final and not appealable. Civil revocation hearings in North Carolina can be overwhelming and complex but there are ways to fight them and the attorneys at Dummit Fradin have a stellar track record of fighting for their clients in civil revocation hearings.
It is also important to remember that while you are subject to a civil revocation for driving while impaired you will be eligible for a limited driving privilege after ten days if you held either a valid driver’s license or a license that had been expired for less than one year. Additionally, you must have obtained a substance abuse assessment and have agreed to participate in any treatment programs that were recommended as a result of the assessment.
Once these steps have been completed, you must file a petition requesting a hearing at which you may then request the driving privilege. Then, a judge may hold a hearing and issue an order allowing driving privileges for the limited hours and purposes. This hearing provides you with the opportunity to present the driving privilege and any documentation showing when and where you work or go to school. If those times are outside of the standard 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Monday through Friday then they must be specifically approved on the driving privilege.
Obtaining these driving privileges is absolutely essential when faced with a civil revocation because the ability to drive is so crucial to maintaining education, employment, and daily life. That’s why getting an experienced attorney is so important. The attorneys at Dummit Fradin are routinely able to obtain driving privileges for their clients so that they can maintain their lives while under a civil revocation.