Being charge with violating the North Carolina Driving While Intoxicated law comes with it many different areas the Defendant should be concerned with. As a Raleigh DWI Attorney and Durham DWI Attorney, I cover each of these areas with my clients as a part of my North Carolina DWI Defense representation, to ensure they are fully aware of what to expect. One of the more common questions I get is in reference to losing their driving privileges. Obviously, in this day and age, it is very hard to get by without being able to drive. Unless you live AND work in a large city, it's likely going to be hard to manage your commute to work, groceries, daycare, etc if you aren't able to legally drive. This article will explain exactly what happens with regards to the Defendant's driving privileges and what options are available.
The first thing a Defendant quickly realizes upon being charged with a North Carolina DWI is the fact that their license has been taken, and their driving privileges suspended, for 30 days. While I, along with most any other criminal defense attorney agree this is unconstitutional on several fronts, to date it is still part of North Carolina Law. Now, the Defendant has the option to petition the court for a Limited Driving Privilege after 10 days of suspension. There are several documents that must be obtained that should be discussed with your DWI attorney. However, once the Privilege is procured, it will permit the Defendant to drive Monday through Friday, 6AM until 8PM for the next 20 days. If the Defendant has a need to drive outside those days/times, for work or school, an exception may be available from the Judge. The privilege comes with a $100 court cost.
After the 30 day suspension, the Driver can get their license back from the courts, however that carries with it an additional $100 court cost. Once the license is retrieved, and the court cost paid, the driver can drive on that license without limitation until the disposition of their case.
At the point their case is handled, one of two things will happen. If the Defendant is found not guilty of violating North Carolina's DWI law, or the charges were reduced to something less than a DWI(not likely to occur) then the Driver may continue driving on their license without restriction or limitation. If the Driver is convicted of DWI, their license is suspended for 12 months (and surrendered to the court)as a result of the North Carolina DWI Sentencing Structure. At that point, the Driver can petition the court for a Limited Driving Privilege.
One thing to consider when attempting to get a Limited Driving Privilege have having been convicted of a North Carolina DWI, if the Defendant had a blood/alcohol concentration of .15 or above, there are two additional restrictions for those Drivers. First, the Defendant cannot petition the court for the Privilege until 45 days have passed since the conviction. Second, the Driver will be required to have installed an Interlock device in their vehicle and provide proof to the court that it was done. This device is a requirement for any Defendant convicted of a DWI with a blood/alcohol concentration of .15 or above for 1 year at the point they start driving. So, whether the Defendant petitions for the Privilege, or just waits out the 1 year suspension after the DWI conviction, at the point they start driving, they must have the Interlock device installed for one year.
If you are facing a DWI charge in North Carolina, speak with a local DWI lawyer about the specifics of your case.
Disclaimer - Information and advice offered in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is specific to North Carolina law. The viewing, receipt and/or exchange of information from this article does not constitute an Attorney-Client Relationship. For assistance regarding your particular legal question speak with an Attorney practicing in the field from which your questions derives.