What is a Limited Driving Privilege (LDP)?
When arrested for DWI, one of the last things the officer does is to keep your license and inform you that your driving privileges are suspended for thirty (30) days. Understandably, this is the most immediate concern for clients when they make their initial contact with our firm. “When can I drive again?” “How do I get my license back?” “How am I going to get to work/school?” or “What do I do about picking up my kids?” We understand. The good news is that we can help you. You will be eligible for a limited driving privilege after ten (10) days, which is then valid for the next twenty (20) days.
How to Get a Pre-Trial Limited Driving Privilege (LDP)
During those initial ten days, you cannot legally drive, but you can move quickly to assemble all of the necessary documents and take the required “assessment” so that you can have your driving privileges restored on the 11th day. Our firm will help guide you through this process and prepare the required paperwork for submission to a District Court judge for signature and filing with the court. If you are from another State, your driver’s license should be returned to you as North Carolina has no jurisdiction to keep it. However, your driving privileges within North Carolina are immediately suspended for the same thirty (30) day period. Here’s what you will need to complete the application:
- Alcohol Assessment (cost is $100; assessment only for now; can complete recommended treatment later)
- DL-123 Form from your insurance company (confirms you have proper liability insurance on vehicle)
- Affidavit for your signature and Judge’s approval
- Extended Hours LDP – letter from job or school required
- $100.00 Filing Fee
1. The first requirement for the limited driving privilege (LDP) or “hardship” license is to get an “alcohol assessment.” Our firm can provide you with a list of facilities in the area that offer this service and make recommendations for the fastest service. While many of our clients question whether they actually need an alcohol assessment, it is a requirement imposed to be able to drive during the initial 30 day period regardless of your drinking history.
Of course, if you have had other drinking related charges or if your BAC level is considered high, the treatment plan will be longer and more extensive. These assessments are valid for six (6) months and are considered a “mitigator” if you are later convicted or elect to plead to the DWI charge. Of course, mitigators help to lower the level of punishment imposed by the judge.
An alcohol assessment is exactly that – an “assessment” of your drinking habits and alcohol consumption. When you first arrive at the center, you will be asked to answer a series of questions ranging from how often you drink to any family history of drinking problems. You should be truthful so that you get the best results. After you have completed this form, you will then meet with a counselor for an interview. You will then be asked additional clarifying questions, similar to the questionnaire you just filled out.
After you complete the interview with the counselor, he/she will make recommendations for classes to be completed. In most cases, the counselor will recommend between 16-20 hours of classes. Again, you do not have to complete those classes immediately for an LDP. Just the assessment itself is required. Of course, those classes will need to be completed eventually if you are found guilty or decide to plead to the DWI charge. For now though, we will just focus on getting you back on the road.
2. The next required document you will need to get is a DL-123, or proof of insurance. To obtain this form, you just need to call your insurance company and ask them to fax or email it to our office. The NC DMV will also accept a Policy Declarations Page in some cases, but this alternative may slow down the processing of your application. We prefer the DL-123 as time is critical.
3. The first two (2) documents are provided by our client. The last document we need is an affidavit that we prepare for you. An affidavit is a sworn statement which must be notarized. This affidavit states and confirms to the judge that you understand the restrictions of the limited driving privilege, that you have not had a previous DWI with the past seven (7) years, and that you are applying for the LDP to get to work or school.
If you have had a previous DWI in the previous 7 years, you will not qualify for this hardship license. Our office will draft the document and then notorize your signature. Once completed, we will assemble all of the relevant documents and go to court and appear on your behalf in front of a District Court judge for signature. We will then file copies with the court and NC DMV.
4. If you need an “extended” or “non-standard hours” LDP, you will need to obtain a written statement on letterhead from your job and/or school showing when you need to be able to drive. This option can be awkward or even result in loss of job, so we understand why clients try to avoid this issue.
It is important that you know that driving outside of the standard hours is a serious offense which will result in additional charges and count against you in the pending DWI case. Additionally, some judges who grant your privilege may even find you in contempt of court and sentence you to jail time.
5. In addition to the $100.00 assessment fee, there is an additional $100.00 fee payable in cash or certified money order at the courthouse. This fee is charged by the State of North Carolina for your LDP. If you want us to handle the payment, you can deposit funds with our firm, and we will pay it on your behalf when we go to obtain the judge’s signature and file your LDP with the court.
As you can see, there is a fair amount of effort required to get an LDP, and it all needs to be completed within ten (10) days from the date of your arrest. All this work and costs for twenty (20) days of driving. At the end of thirty (30) days after arrest, you will be eligible to have your original license returned – for another $100.00 fee to the State.
After that, you can drive at will until the outcome of your case is decided. If ultimately convicted or plead guilty, you will be able to get a “post trial LDP” in most cases. For instances where your BAC was 0.15 or greater, you will have to wait forty-five (45) days and install the interlock device before you can apply for a limited driving privilege.
Again, try not to worry. We realize that all of this material can get a little confusing. That’s why we put it on our website. We help our clients through this process every day. We can take care of you as well. Call us today at (704)351-7979 or contact us online and let’s get started.