How DWI Can Affect Your Driver’s License2018-11-07T12:40:03+00:00

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How DWI Can Affect Your Driver’s License

A DWI Attorney Can Fight for Your Driving Privileges

You are going to lose your license if you’re convicted of a DWI. Now, keep in mind, a charge is not a conviction, and you should get your DWI day in court. Obviously, we recommend that you consult with one of our DWI attorneys for free and discuss ways to avoid a DWI conviction as soon as possible after a DWI stop.

Again, if you are convicted, how long you lose your license will depend on what level you’re sentenced. It could be for as little as one year if you’re sentence is a level five. A level one or level two conviction could result in the loss of your license for four years, and you could lose your license permanently if you’re convicted of Habitual DWI or have three or more DWI convictions within the last 10 years. Talk to our DWI lawyers if you are facing charges.

Need help? Arrange for a free initial consultation by calling (800) 930-0397.

DWI Limited Driving Privileges

But still, there is some hope, even if you are found guilty of DWI. You may petition the court and ask for limited driving privileges, if you are eligible.

Should limited driving privileges be granted, you will receive a form that allows you to drive to:

  • Work

  • School

  • Medical care

  • Any community service or alcohol counseling you may have to participate in

With some, but not all limited driving privileges, driving may be legally allowed to accomplish some basic household maintenance. For example, you may be able to go out and buy gas or groceries, or to pick up your dry cleaning. Obtaining limited driving privileges after a DWI conviction is a very specific process and it comes with some specific ground rules that have to be followed. Your DWI attorney will be more than happy to explain all of this in detail.

Petitioning for Limited Driving Privileges

You are eligible for limited driving privileges if you were sentenced under level three, four or five and you otherwise had a valid driver’s license. Judges can vary widely on the extent of the driving privilege that are offered after a DWI. Talk to your DWI attorney about the judge in question and discuss what level of discretion the judge has in granting specific privileges.

Now, if you didn’t have a driver’s license to begin with, you will not be eligible for a limited driving privilege after conviction. Also, if you received a Level one, Level two or Level A1 (aggravated) conviction, you will not be getting driving privileges. So, for example, if this is your first DWI conviction and even if your driving record is completely clean otherwise, if you had anyone under 18 years of age as a passenger in the car when you were stopped, you won’t get any privileges at all for a year. Many legislators simply weren’t aware of the impact this has on single parents who are caught with a person under the age of 18 in the car with them.

Get Driving Again After a DWI in North Carolina

You will need three documents before you may petition for limited driving privileges. You should have an assessment done before your trial to get credit for it as a mitigating factor. After the assessment, the counselor will have made a written recommendation to the court concerning your treatment. That recommendation is proof of your assessment, and you’ll need it when seeking limited driving privileges after a DWI.

You may also need an employer letter to explain the hours that you work. This isn’t a letter that needs to discuss your job performance, but is important that the letter is on a company letterhead and that it includes the different hours that you may work during the period of your DWI suspension. Make sure it includes your odd hours, as well, and not just the standard hours you work. For instance, you may work a swing shift one week, but different hours in subsequent weeks. You’ll want your employment letter to cover those hours so that you can petition for privileges during those times. The more hours you have in your letter allows the court reason to approve more hours for your limited driving privileges. For those of you who are self-employed, you can still get driving privileges. You’ll want to ask your DUI attorney about the documentation you’ll need in this case.

The final document you’ll need is proof of insurance. This comes in a form called a DL-123. You can get this form from your insurance agent, and it shows that you have valid insurance. This form is absolutely required. Nothing else will satisfy the court, including a copy of your policy or even an insurance binder. It’s worth noting that the form is only valid for 30 days, so don’t get it until you’re about to go to trial. That way, it should be good for you to immediately use to petition for limited driving privileges if it’s necessary for you to do so after your DWI trial. Of course, if your case is continued, you’ll have to get another form.

After your DWI trial, your DWI lawyer is going to know whether you’re eligible for limited privileges, so follow the DWI attorney’s advice on what you need and when you need your documents so that you can petition the court as quickly as possible. As an example, if your BAC was .15 or higher, you’re not going to be eligible for limited driving privileges in the first 45 days, and, notably, the limited driving privileges will be much more limited than a standard limited driving privilege, and you will also be required to have an interlock device installed in your car during at least the period of your limited driving privilege.

Limited driving privileges are up to the judge to give, and while most judges will grant the privileges (they really don’t want you losing your job and becoming a burden on society), it’s important to understand that the final decision lies with the judge. You don’t have a right to limited driving privileges despite being eligible to petition.

North Carolina state law says that the judge who heard your case shall rule on your limited driving privileges request. Should that judge be unavailable for any reason, the law allows the Senior Regular Resident Superior Court Judge to consider your request, assuming you were tried in Superior Court, that is. If you were tried in District Court, the Chief District Judge may rule on your request.

When Driving Privileges Are Restored

Should the judge grant you limited driving privileges, you’ll get a form from the court with the judge’s signature and a raised seal. This form will authorize you to drive during certain hours, and possibly only along certain specific routes, and of course, for limited reasons. This form is a court order and you must have it on you any time you are driving. Otherwise, you could be convicted of driving while your license is revoked!

It may be difficult to understand, but keep in mind that the granting of limited driving privileges doesn’t change that your license was suspended. The Department of Motor Vehicles has you listed as having your license revoked. That revocation doesn’t go away during the hours the judge has allowed you to drive. The judge has simply given you permission to drive despite the revocation of your license due to your DWI. Should an officer stop you and run a license check, it will come back as revoked; however, the record should say that you have a limited privilege, but it won’t tell the officer the restrictions on your hours and driving. This is why you must have the court’s order that allows you to drive on hand; otherwise, you are not justified to be driving anywhere in the state of North Carolina, and you could then be arrested for driving while your license is revoked.. You’ll have to have the original order with the signature and the raised seal, and there’s no way around it. Even if you are able to produce it later, you could still be convicted. Worse, you could lose your privileges and the DMV could tack another year on to the revocation of your license.

Consult with Our DWI Lawyers Today

Again, we strongly suggest that you consult with a DWI attorney about your case as soon as possible. Our law firm has offices statewide, and we are prepared to offer you the DWI defense that you need. Also, you’ll lose your privileges should you be caught driving with any alcohol in your system. The officer is permitted to take your driving privileges away on the spot if this occurs.

Limited driving privileges are, of course, limited. This means that the judge will limit the times that you are allowed to drive. Standard work hours in North Carolina are recognized as 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may be granted permission to drive during all standard hours to work, school and for household maintenance. The judge could grant you a one-hour window to get to work and possibly a two-hour window in the evening to get home and take care of household issues. Regardless of what’s granted, it’s up to the judge in question. The judge may also restrict your privileges to certain predefined routes to work or school or to do your grocery shopping. Often, you’ll be granted permission to drive as needed to perform community service or attend treatment programs.

Non-standard hours may be granted if you work late at night and/or on the weekends. Non-standard household maintenance driving privileges aren’t allowed. Your DWI attorney should have some idea of how the judge feels about these requests and advise you appropriately. Basically, the judge can impose any limitation he or she sees fit. For example, your order could restrict you to driving a certain car, or it may restrict you to driving no more than 45 mph, but these aren’t typical restriction requirements.

An ignition interlock system on your car is something that may be a prerequisite to any driving privileges. If you blew a .15 or higher, the court will require that you install an interlock system in addition to not being able to get any driving privileges for the first 45 days. An interlock system is expensive and it must be installed on your car for the full year that your driver’s license is revoked. You will be able to rent the system and show proof that it is installed on the car before you are granted limited driving privileges.

Wish to Get Your License Back? Contact Dummit Fradin

These limited driving privileges are good for one year. After that one year period, your license isn’t automatically restored when your suspension is over. You still have to go down to the DMV and pay for your restoration. Until you pay the restoration fee at the DMV, your license will remain revoked.

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