If you end up getting convicted of driving while impaired (DWI), either through entering a guilty plea or losing at trial, your driving privileges will be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles for at least one year. The Judge in the courtroom does not have control over this suspension, and can not reduce the length of the suspension despite how they may feel about your case.
The penalty for a first DWI offense or refusal to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test is a one-year license suspension. A second DWI offense carries a four-year license revocation, and a third offense or felony can lead to a permanent revocation. Luckily, a license suspension or revocation may not mean the end of your driving privileges. You may be eligible to drive under a limited driving privilege that will specify certain hours that your are allowed to be on the road for work and/or home maintenance needs. With help from Jesse and Reba Scharff and the Raleigh attorneys at Scharff Law Firm, you can enhance your odds of earning limited driving privileges after a DWI conviction.
Obtaining Limited DWI Driving Privileges
If you need to drive for your job, for school, or to take care of your family, a suspended driving privilege can significantly damage your prospects. You may not have been able to avoid conviction and sentencing for a DWI, but it may be possible to prevent further damage to your life with limited driving privileges or some sort of hardship limited privilege. A limited driving privilege can be critical to salvaging your job, relationships, and future.
There are several categories of limited driving privileges depending on the circumstances of the driver’s DWI case. A pretrial driving privilege occurs during the 30-day automatic license suspension that follows your arrest. On the 11th days after your arrest, your attorney can petition the courts for a limited driving privilege that will last for the next 20 days of your pre-trial suspension. You must have had a valid license at your time of arrest, had no prior DWI convictions in the last seven years, proof of insurance, proof of a substance abuse assessment, and a $100 fee. On day 30 after your arrest, for another payment of $100 to the courthouse, your limited privilege period will end, and your full driving privileges should be reinstated while you await the conclusion of your case.
A driver may also be able to obtain a limited driving privilege after a trial and conviction for DWI with certain satisfied requirements. A driver must show that the privilege is for good cause, such as:
- Home maintenance
- Court-ordered courses or treatment
- Mandatory community service
- Emergency medical care
- Religious worship
It’s up to the Judge to determine whether a pre-trial or post-conviction limited driving privilege should be granted. The driver cannot have had a 0.15 or higher BAC level at the time of the offense to qualify for immediate limited driving privileges after a conviction. If you’ve blown higher than a .14, you may have to wait 45 days after your conviction to obtain a limited driving privilege. If you have refused to participate in a breath test after your arrest, you may have to wait 6 months before a judge will consider a limited driving privilege after your conviction.
In North Carolina, the courts will require an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle for second and subsequent DWI offenses or if your first DWI offense showed a BAC of 0.15 or higher. In cases involving a second or third conviction for DWI, an ignition interlock system is a requirement for driving with limited privileges after a period of suspension. In using an interlock device, a driver must provide a breath sample before the car’s engine will start. If the test shows a BAC over a certain level, the vehicle will not start. It’s the driver’s responsibility to pay for the device, which can be expensive up front and cost a monthly fee.
Some vehicular homicide crimes result in permanent license revocation. However, DMV may conditionally restore your driver’s license after it has been revoked for at least five years if you prove that (1) in the five years preceding your application for a restored license, you have not been convicted of a motor vehicle offense, an alcohol beverage control law offense, a drug law offense, or any criminal offense involving the consumption of alcohol or drugs; and (2) that you are not currently a user of alcohol or drugs.
Scharff Law Firm: Trusted Raleigh DWI Attorneys
To find out if you may be eligible for DWI driving privileges, request a free case consultation with Scharff Law Firm. While we can’t guarantee results, we can promise to aim for the best outcome for your particular case. We’ll help you understand your driver’s license revocation so you can better prepare for the future as a convicted DWI driver in North Carolina. When you need a dependable team of DWI attorneys in Raleigh, NC to fight for your right to drive, call (919) 457-1954.