In North Carolina, when charged with a DWI, you not only have to face the uncertainties of being charged with a serious offense, but you also have to face the reality of having your driver's license suspended for at least 30 days - regardless of whether or not you're ultimately convicted of DWI.
Driving Privileges While Your License is Suspended
Even if you are convicted of DWI, you may be eligible to receive a Limited Driving Privilege (LDP) that allows you to drive during the period of your driver’s license revocation. This means, assuming you are eligible, there is a way for you to drive legally while your driver’s license is revoked. However, if you are granted a LDP, there will be limits to not only when you may drive, but also for what purposes you may drive.
Are You Eligible to Apply for a Limited Driving Privilege After a DWI?
If your license has been suspended after being arrested for DWI in Mecklenburg County, you can apply for a limited driving privilege if you meet ALL of the following requirements:
- At the time of your DWI arrest, you had a valid driver’s license or a license that had been expired less than a year;
- Your license is only revoked because of your current DWI charge;
- Since the current DWI offense date, you have not been charged with or convicted of a different DWI, nor do you have a different DWI pending;
- You have not been convicted of DWI in the 7 years prior to the current DWI offense date;
- Your license has been revoked for at least 10 days if the revocation is for 30 days or for at least 30 days of the revocation is for 45 days;
- You have completed a substance abuse assessment;
- You show proof of insurance; and
- If convicted of DWI, you were sentenced at a Level 3, Level 4, or Level 5.
If you refused a breathalyzer or blood testing for DWI when being investigated, a limited driving privilege will only be granted if the following requirements are met in addition to those outlined above:
- At the time of the current refusal, you had not willfully refused to submit to a chemical analysis in the preceding seven years;
- Your driver’s license has been revoked for at least six months since the refusal; and
- The underlying charge for which you were requested to submit to a chemical analysis was disposed of without a conviction or, if convicted of DWI, you were punished at a Level 3, Level 4, or Level 5 and you have complied with at least one of the mandatory conditions of probation listed for the punishment level imposed.
If your North Carolina driver’s license has been revoked because of a conviction for driving by a person less than 21 years old after consuming alcohol or drugs, N.C.G.S. 20-138.3(d) does allow you to apply for a limited driving privilege if you meet the following requirements in addition to those outlined above:
- You were 18, 19, or 20 years old at the time of the offense;
- You have not previously been convicted of driving by a person less than 21 years old after consuming alcohol or drugs; and
- At the time of the offense, you had not willfully refused a chemical analysis (i.e. breath test or blood test) in the previous seven years.
If you do not meet the requirements above, in all likelihood you will NOT be able to receive a LDP.
Applying for a Limited Driving Privilege in Mecklenburg County
To apply for a limited driving privilege, you must file an application in duplicate with the Mecklenburg County Clerk of Court. After review by the District Attorney, the clerk will then schedule a hearing before a district court judge where the judge may issue a limited driving privilege.
For those convicted of underage DWI in North Carolina, you must complete AOC-CR-312 to apply for a limited driving privilege. If a substantially similar conviction occurred out of state, you would need to complete AOC-CV-352.
Scope of Limited Driving Privileges
Generally, a limited driving privilege will permit you to drive Monday through Friday from 6AM - 8PM solely for the following essential purposes:
- Household maintenance
- Court-ordered treatment or assessment
- Community service as a condition of probation; and
- Emergency medical care
If you have non-traditional working hours, you can apply for extended hours upon establishing to a judge that you are in fact required to drive for essential work-related purposes outside of the traditional hours.
In addition to the standard working hours and specific purposes restrictions, there are other limits to your driving privilege as well. To begin, your limited driving privilege does not permit you to drive if you have any amount of alcohol or other controlled substance, unless that controlled substance is lawfully obtained and taken as prescribed, remaining in your body. Additionally, this limited driving privilege does not authorize you to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
If you do violate any of the restrictions of your limited driving privilege, not only will you likely lose your limited license to drive during the period of your revocation, you will also likely be charged with driving while license revoked (DWLR) in violation of N.C.G.S. 20-28.
Questions About DWI Limited Driving Privileges? We Can Help.
As you can see the eligibility and application process for a limited driving privilege is a daunting task. Something as small as missing a deadline, producing the wrong information, or forgetting to include a necessary piece of information can cause you to lose the ability to receive a limited driving privilege. Therefore, if arrested for a DWI, it is imperative that you contact an attorney not only to help you through the criminal aspects of your DWI but to also help you receive a limited driving privilege.