North Carolina Driving While Impaired: Limited Driving Privileges

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A North Carolina DWI (Driving While Impaired) arrest will result in an automatic “civil revocation” of a person’s driving privileges in North Carolina. If the person holds a NC driver’s license, the person’s license is revoked for 30 days and the person may not drive in any state, including North Carolina. If the person holds a NC driver’s license, the license will be physically confiscated from the person.

If the person holds a driver’s license from another state, the person’s driving privileges in North Carolina will be revoked for 30 days, but the person may drive in any other state outside of North Carolina. That’s because the initial civil revocation only affects the person’s NC driving privileges. If the person holds a driver’s license from another state, the police should not (although they sometimes do) confiscate the physical license.

If the person otherwise had a valid license at the time of the DWI, the person – in most cases – will be eligible to apply for a Limited Driving Privilege (LDP) during the initial 30 day civil revocation period. A limited driving privilege is always in the discretion of the presiding judge, so it is not automatic. But in cases where a person has an otherwise clean driving record and has complied with the statutory requirements, the person will most likely be granted a limited driving privilege on day 10 of the civil revocation period. The person’s LDP will expire on day 30 (in most cases) when the person becomes eligible to get back his or her driving license and full privileges to drive in North Carolina.

In order to apply for the LDP during the civil revocation period, the person must 1) get a Substance Abuse Assessment (here are some Wake County substance abuse providers) and pre-enroll in a treatment program. This will cost about $100 plus perhaps an additional $25 for pre-enrollment. The person must also 2) order a DL-123 form from the person’s insurance carrier. There’s no reason to explain to the insurance agent why you’re ordering a DL-123. Simply order it and have it sent to your lawyer (my fax number is (919) 249-1396) by fax or print one out. The person must also order a 7 year driving record from the DMV. This is used to show that the license was valid at the time of the arrest, and there were no recent DWIs. (Your lawyer should be able to order your Driving Record for you.)

You (or your lawyer) will need to fill out a few forms – a Petition for Limited Driving Privileges and an Order – for the 30-day Civil Revocation LDP. The privilege permits the person to drive for household or work or school-related purposes Monday through Friday, 6 am to 8 pm. The privilege also provides for extended LDP periods, but such extended LDP periods require separate proof to show that they’re necessary.

If the person drives on a revoked license without a valid LDP or drives outside of the LDP privileges, the person can be charged with a Driving While License Revoked (DWLR) which in North Carolina is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Therefore, it’s important not to drive without an LDP while the license has been revoked.

If your DWI results in a conviction (either by plea or after a trial), your license will be revoked for at least a year, as many as 4 years, and possibly “permanently”. Depending on the kind of revocation, you may be eligible for a LDP during the revocation period. Whether you get an LDP will depend on the number of DWIs you’ve had, the severity of the DWI you were convicted of, and the circumstances surrounding whether there was a “refusal” to blow into a the Intox EC/IR (breathalyzer machine) that’s used in North Carolina.

If you have any question regarding the LDP, feel free to contact Raleigh DWI Lawyer Damon Chetson at (919) 352-9411 weekdays, evenings, or weekends.

For more on how to apply for a limited driving privilege, visit this link.