If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked due to traffic offenses or a DWI conviction, it can drastically affect your life. Getting to and from work, going to the grocery store, and maintaining a social life are all much more difficult. Fortunately, getting your driver’s license back isn’t as difficult as you may think, especially with the help of a traffic offense lawyer. To help you get started, we’re outlining the steps you need to take depending on your situation.
Reasons for Driver’s License Suspensions in North Carolina
First, let’s look at the most common causes for having a suspended driver’s license and the basic steps necessary to get your license reinstated.
Suspended License Due to Failure to Appear
If you have a court date scheduled for a misdemeanor traffic offense, such as aggressive or reckless driving, or driving without insurance, and you fail to appear, you have 20 days to contact the court and reschedule. Otherwise, your driver’s license will be suspended, though in some cases, the judge will immediately have your license suspended and skip the 20 day “grace period.”
Getting your license back after a “failure to appear” requires:
- Attending your court appearance and finalizing the ticket.
- Paying an administrative penalty for missing the initial court appearance.
- Paying your traffic ticket and any court fees associated.
- Following up with the Department of Motor Vehicles and paying any reinstatement fees for your driver’s license.
The combined fees can often cost over $500 in order to get your driving privileges reinstated.
Driver’s License Suspension Due to Traffic Violations
Getting a speeding ticket, running a stop sign, or failing to yield may not seem serious, but multiple violations can lead to a suspended driver’s license. For each driving violation, points will be placed on your license, and if you receive 12 points in three years, your license will be suspended for 60 days or longer if there have been multiple suspensions on your record. Once you have satisfied the terms of your suspended license due to traffic violations, you must pay a $70 restoration fee and you may have to pay a $50 service fee if you did not surrender your license to the court when it was suspended.
You will most likely not have to apply for a new license or take any tests to get your driving privileges back after traffic violations.
Driver’s License Suspension Due to a DWI
In North Carolina, even the accusation of driving while intoxicated, or DWI, leads to having your license suspended.
- An arrest based on the suspicion of DWI results in an immediate license suspension of 30 days.
- Refusal to take a blood test at the police station results in an immediate one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
- The first DWI conviction results in a one-year suspension.
- A second conviction is a two-year suspension.
Once your driver’s license suspension has been completed, you must apply to the North Carolina DMV to have your license reinstated and pay a license reinstatement fee of $140.25 as well as any service fees if you need a new license.
Getting Your Driver’s License Back After a Permanent Revocation
If you have been convicted of three or more DWIs, your license will be permanently revoked. However, you may apply to have your driver’s license restored if specific conditions are met, including:
- At least two years without a license
- No drug or alcohol offenses for a minimum of two years
- You do not use controlled substances illegally, nor are you an excessive user of prescribed medication or alcohol.
A hearing will be scheduled where you can appeal to have your driving privileges restored. If these conditions are met, and the court finds you are sufficiently safe to drive, you must pay specific fees as well as follow any conditions placed on your license restoration for a specific period of time.
Applying for Limited Driving Privileges
In specific instances where your license is suspended or revoked, you may apply for, and be granted, limited driving privileges. You must petition the court and attend a DMV hearing with a judge who may grant your petition and place conditional privileges that only allow you to drive to and from:
- Medical appointments
- In the event of an emergency
If your license is suspended due to a DWI, you are only eligible for limited privileges if you have a Level 3, 4, or 5 conviction and you have no prior DWIs within the past 7 years. Also, if your DWI includes aggravating factors, such as a 0.15 blood alcohol content or reckless driving, you will have to wait 45 days after your conviction to apply and an ignition interlock device may be required.
Schedule a Consultation with a Traffic and DWI Lawyer in Raleigh
If you are facing traffic tickets or a DWI, or your license is currently suspended, we can help. Our experienced attorneys will petition the court on your behalf and advocate for your best interests both in and out of the courtroom so you can have a better practical outcome. Schedule a consultation with a lawyer today by calling 919-615-2473 for our Raleigh office or 919-365-6000 to reach our Wendell office, or fill out the form below. We look forward to helping you with your legal needs!
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