How to drive, after a DWI!

Everyday we use our cars to travel the Triad region.  We go to work, grocery shopping, take our kids to and/or pick our kids up from events or friends.  Driving has become an essential tool in everyday life.  That being said, the Raleigh, Durham, and surrounding areas lack the mass transit systems that are seen in other major metropolitans.  Without these mass transit systems, losing your license, even for a matter of weeks, can have a devastating impact on your ability to have a normal life.  So, what does someone do when the driving privileges have been revoked from a DWI?

North Carolina law says your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days if you:

  1. If you under 21 years of age and have a BAC greater than 0.01;
  2. Have been charged with a DWI with a BAC of 0.08 or higher; or
  3. Have been charged with a DWI with a BAC of 0.04 if you are driving a commercial vehicle.

Hiring an attorney who is experienced in handling DWI, is one of the most important steps you need to take when charged with a DWI in Wake County.  An attorney maybe able help you obtain your pre-trial limited driving privilege as soon as 11 days after your arrest date for the DWI (depends on length of suspension).  N.C.G.S 20-16.5 outlines the specific tasks that you must complete in order to obtain your limited driving privilege; those steps are discussed below.

Below are the requirements that must be meet in order to obtain a limited driving privilege:

  1. At the time of the DWI offense, you must have had either a valid driver’s license or a driver’s license that had been expired for less than a year;
  2. You cannot have another pending DWI charge, or a new conviction for a DWI since the date of arrest in the current case;
  3. You must have had your driver’s license revoked for at least 10 days if the revocation is for 30 days, or at least 30 days if the revocation is for 45 days; and
  4. The accused impaired driver has obtained a substance abuse assessment from a mental health facility and registers for and agrees to participate in any of the recommended training or treatment.
  • We will assist you in finding a provider during your FREE consultation.

If you meet the required above conditions, we will help you file a Petition for Limited Driving Privilege.  A hearing date is set, usually the day after the petition is filed, where we provide the necessary documents along with Limited Driving Privilege Order.  If you finish all of the necessary tasks prior to your first hearing date, we may be able to file and get your privilege reinstated at the first hearing.  The documents and tasks are:

  1. Proof of insurance using a form called a DL-123 from your insurance company;
  2. Proof of completion of a substance abuse assessment;
  3. A certified copy of your 7-year driving history from the DMV.  The downloaded copy off of the DMV website is not sufficient, but you can pick one up same day at the DMV records office.
  4. A cashier’s check or cash in the amount of $100 payable to the Clerk of Court.

Once hired, you will not be required to be present at the hearing for your limited driving privilege.  You are required to present at all DWI hearings. 

Scope of Limited Driving Privilege:

  1. Standard working hours are from 6 AM to 8 PM, Monday – Friday.  During this time, you are allowed to travel and from work, maintenance of the household, educational purposes, attending alcohol assessments, treatments of driving school.
  2. You may not drink while driving or have any alcohol in your body while driving.  This means you must have a BAC of 0.00.
  3. You may not drive while having a controlled substance, unless such controlled substance was lawfully obtained and taken in accordance with the issue prescription.
  4. A limited driving privilege does not include the privilege of operating a commercial motor vehicle.  Please review N.C.G.S. 20-4.01(3d) or call us if you are unsure what is defined as a commercial motor vehicle. 
  5. At any time, a driver with limited privileges may drive for the purpose of obtaining emergency medical care.  Urgent care visits may not qualify. 
  6. If you work, or go to school, outside of those normal hours, bring a letter from your employer/school showing your non-standard work/school hours and days.

Understand that the limited driving privilege is only good for a period of time determined by the judge.  At the expiration of the privilege you must return to court and pay the Clerk of Court an additional $100 reinstatement fee to have your license full reinstated while waiting for the trial.  If you do not have your driver’s license reinstated, and you are pulled over, you can be charged with driving on a suspended license as a result of an impaired driving revocation.  This charge is a class 1 misdemeanor. Jeff Dobson is a skilled DWI attorney who handles cases in Wake, Durham, and Lee Count.  Jeff will help you understand all the required steps necessary to get you back to driving.  For a free consultation contact Dobson Law Firm, PLLC today.  

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