When arrested for a NC DWI, you lose license for thirty (30) days. However, you can appeal this suspension within 10 days from arrest. Or you can get a limited driving privilege after ten (10) days from arrest. In addition to this suspension, you also lose license if you plead or are found guilty. So there are actually two (2) ways you lose license after a DUI. Few people know this fact. Therefore, it is often a surprise when we first meet. We explain further below.
License Revocation After Arrest
First, you do lose your license for 30 days upon release after arrest. Even if you do everything asked, you still get punished before being convicted. Of course, this reality goes against our usual understanding of how justice works. But DUI cases are different. In fact, you have better rights for almost any other crime. Refuse field sobriety testing and get arrested. Attempt roadside testing, you will fail the first time. Refuse breath testing and the State can force a blood sample. Even against your will. You get the idea here. So what are your three (3) options after the first suspension?
First, you can appeal your suspension. However, you have only ten (10) days from date of arrest. Otherwise, this option is lost. The North Carolina DMV has to respond after three (3) days but usually waives this right. As a result, your license is restored in full in about five (5) days. And there are no other costs as with other options. Consequently, this is by far the most popular option.
Limited Driving Privilege (LDP)
After ten (10) days from arrest, you can petition for a LDP. But there are additional costs. First, you complete a substance abuse assessment for $100.00. Next, you get us a DL-123 form confirming liability insurance. Then, we submit your petition to a District Court judge with a $100.00 DMV fee. Once signed, this is your “license” for twenty (20) days. And finally, you pay another $100.00 DMV fee to restore your license. As you might expect, this option is for those who miss the 10 day window for the DMV challenge.
The final option is to wait thirty (30) days and pay $100.00. While easy, this is the longest option.
Lose License After Conviction or Guilty Plea
Unless you win your case, there is only one option at end of DWI. And that is the LDP option with three (3) scenarios. First, if your BAC is below 0.15, you can immediately petition at your plea hearing. In fact, we submit your request after the judge imposes sentence. If approved, you drive home that day on your LDP. But if your BAC is 0.15 or greater, you must wait forty-five (45) days to get a LDP. Further, you must install ignition interlock in your vehicle. Finally, if you refused breath testing, you have to wait six (6) months before eligible for a LDP. Also, these two waiting periods are mandatory by statute. Even if they wanted to, judges cannot vary from this requirement.
You must absolutely follow the terms of your Limited Driving Privilege. Failure to do so can result in a conviction for Driving While License Revoked for Impaired Driving. This is a serious offense that can result in jail time. So be sure to keep your paperwork with you and follow the restrictions. Otherwise, very bad things can happen.