This article explains what happens to your driver’s license and driving privileges immediately following a DUI arrest and after any subsequent conviction. It can help you understand what to do when being arrested, how to act afterwards, and the consequences of your choices. It includes information on:
- Automatic driver’s license suspensions after DUI arrests and convictions.
- The limited driver’s license you can apply for after a DUI suspension in North Carolina.
- The advantages and importance of hiring an attorney after your DUI arrest.
Just by virtue of operating a vehicle on a public street or highway in the state of North Carolina, you give what the law calls implied consent. This means you have already agreed to submit to any analysis of your blood or breath should a police officer suspect you of drinking and driving.
This makes it very easy for the police to determine if you have been drinking and driving, or driving after taking illegal drugs. If they do discover this, you will be arrested, most likely spend the night in jail, and have your ability to drive seriously impacted while you await a conviction or exoneration at trial.
What Happens To My License After I Am Charged With A DUI In North Carolina?
Driving While Impaired (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) are serious charges as drunk and inebriated drivers present a very real risk on the roads. This means law enforcement takes these cases very seriously and so should you.
When you are arrested for a DUI in North Carolina and you are released from jail, your driver’s license is automatically suspended for 30 days. This suspension is automatic and cannot be appealed or bypassed once you have been charged with a DWI/DUI.
After those 30 days are up, you can go back to the clerk’s office in the county in which you were arrested and pay a $100 civil revocation fee. This will allow you to get your license back and drive on that while your case is pending. This is exactly the kind of situation an experienced attorney can help you safely navigate to help you get back on the road.
The consequences are even more serious if you are convicted.
I Was Convicted For A DUI In North Carolina. What Happens To My License?
Regardless of whether you were driving up until the trial or judgment, your license will be suspended for an entire year if you are found guilty of Driving Under the Influence.
Once the judge has found you guilty, your license will be suspended for one year from the date of conviction. This can leave many drivers in the complex situation of figuring out how to continue working or commuting without a car.
However, there are some provisions in the law that recognize an individual’s obligations and responsibilities. There is a possible suspension alternative for limited driving privileges that is commonly referred to as a work license.
How Can I Get Limited Driving Privileges Or A Work License In North Carolina?
When your license is suspended for a year after a DWI or DUI conviction in North Carolina, you can apply for limited driving privileges. If you are successful, you will still be able to legally drive, but your ability to do so will be severely limited.
Within a limited driving privilege license, the times, purpose, and geographical locations you are allowed to drive in are all limited. For example, the judge may allow you to drive back and forth to work, to any alcohol or substance abuse classes you have to take, and for specific family or household “maintenance” duties. These last include grocery shopping, taking your children to the doctor, a family member to the hospital, or going to church. If those are the terms of your work license, then you will not be able to drive to or from anywhere else.
Obtaining such a license is not automatic, and is one of the most important reasons to hire an attorney as soon as you are charged or arrested for DUI/DWI in North Carolina. An experienced attorney will be able to not only help you understand your rights but also make sure you claim them within the required timeframe.
That is why it is essential to consult a DUI or DWI-specialized attorney as quickly as possible after an arrest or conviction.
Do I Need To Request A Driver’s License Hearing After A DUI Arrest, And Can My DUI Attorney Do This For Me?
In some states, there is a DMV hearing process after a DUI arrest, but not here in North Carolina.
In certain very specific circumstances you might need to apply for a hearing, however, and that is certainly something for which you will want to hire an experienced attorney. Remember the implied consent rule discussed at the start of the article? It requires that you submit the breath or blood required for an alcohol or drug test should the police ask for it when you have been pulled over.
If you nevertheless refuse to blow into the breathalyzer or surrender a blood sample to law enforcement, North Carolina law states you automatically have your driver’s license suspended for a year. A year can easily be longer than most DUI/DWI convictions require.
However, you do have 10 days after you refuse the test to apply for a refusal hearing. At the refusal hearing, your attorney will argue to the judge your failure to submit to the chemical analysis was not intentional or present some other defense for your behavior. Severe asthma, bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or some other medical condition could prevent you from supplying a breath sample, for example.
If your attorney is successful, then the automatic one-year suspension of your license goes away. Additionally, since you refused to blow, you will have one more angle/element in your favor at the eventual DUI trial.
How Can I Save My Driver’s License After I Missed The Window For A DMV Refusal Hearing?
Unfortunately for you, if you miss that 10-day period in which you can ask for a refusal hearing, there is nothing you or your attorney can do about the suspension. Your license will then be suspended for a year.
That is why it is so vital you hire an experienced and skilled DUI defense attorney in North Carolina. Not only will they ensure you hit such crucial deadlines, they will make sure you have the strongest arguments in your favor at any hearing or trial you have to go to.
This gives you the best chance at keeping your driver’s license for as long as possible or having your suspension period be as short and painless as it can be.
For more information on Driver’s License Consequences After A DUI Charge, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (252) 572-4495 today.