How to Get Your Driver’s License Back After DWI

Thousands of people in North Carolina have their driver’s license suspended each year, often due to a drunk driving charge or allegation. Of course, this puts an incredible burden on people who need their license to get to work, drive their kids to school, and run necessary errands. If your license is currently suspended, our DWI lawyers in Raleigh are sharing how to get your driver’s license back and what your options are.

A Driver’s License Suspension Due to DWI Arrest

In North Carolina, if you are pulled over for suspicion of impaired driving (such as swerving) and you refuse to take a breathalyzer or submit to field sobriety tests, you will not face adverse consequences to your license. However, you may still be arrested based on suspicion of DWI which will result in an immediate license revocation of 30 days. Following your arrest, you will be asked to take a blood test to determine whether you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher or the presence of schedule one drugs, including legally prescribed opiates in your system. Refusal to take this test will result in an immediate one-year suspension of your driver’s license.

Driver’s License Suspension After a DWI Conviction

The state will automatically suspend a driver’s license following a DWI conviction, and the length of time is dependent on whether this is your first offense.

  • First offense – One year suspension;
  • Second offense – Two year suspension;
  • Third offense – Permanent revocation, if a previous conviction is less than five years old;
  • Fourth offense (felony) – Permanent revocation;

Limited Driving Privileges While Your Driver’s License is Suspended

In certain cases, you may petition the court to allow for occupational or limited driver’s license privileges to be re-instated. You must attend a hearing and the judge may grant your petition with specific conditions in place. Typically, this allows you to drive to and from work, school, church, or medical appointments between dawn and dusk. These privileges are available to people who have not held a restricted or suspended license within the past three years for other offenses nor do they have additional pending traffic offenses. You may be eligible for restricted driving privileges caused by a DWI if:

  • You are facing a one-year suspension of your driver’s license for refusal to take a blood test, but you don’t have a DWI conviction.
  • You have no prior DWI convictions within seven years of the current charge or conviction.
  • Your charge is a Level 3, 4, or 5 DWI

It’s important to note that in some cases, such as if you were deemed a “high-risk driver” due to high BAC or reckless driving in conjunction with the impairment, you may be required to wait 45 days after your conviction to petition the court and you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.

License Restoration After a DWI Conviction

After your first or second DWI offense, you may get your license back, though once your mandatory driver’s license revocation has ended, it is not automatically reinstated. You must apply with the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) to have your license restored and pay a license restoration fee of $140.

For individuals facing a four-year or permanent revocation of a driver’s license due to multiple convictions, you may apply for a conditional restoration if the following requirements are met:

  • You have fulfilled two years of your license revocation without any convictions of alcohol, drug, or trafic offenses.
  • You are not an excessive user of drugs, alcohol, or prescribed medicines.
  • You are not using controlled substances illegally.

In addition to meeting these requirements, you must also pay any fees and follow any conditions and restrictions the NCDMV has placed on your driver’s license for up to five years.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a DWI Lawyer in Raleigh

If you have been charged with a DWI or have been convicted and would like to have driving privileges restored, we can help. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have helped countless clients have charges dropped or reduced as well as successfully petitioned for driving privileges to be restored. Call us at (919) 845-6688 to speak with an attorney 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or fill out the form below to learn more.

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