Driving While License Revoked Laws in North Carolina

How Can An Officer Charge Me With Driving While License Revoked When He Didn’t Pull Me Over?  What are the Driving While License Revoked Laws in North Carolina 


 Bill Powers Criminal Defense Lawyers Charlotte NC

By: Bill Powers, Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyers in Charlotte North Carolina – Best Lawyers in America “Lawyer of the Year” Criminal Defense – Charlotte NC 2017

How Our Law Office Approaches Handling Driving While License Revoked in Charlotte NC

Despite the light rail and other forms of mass transit in Charlotte, if you have driver’s license revocation legal issues in North Carolina or no operator’s license, you know how hard it can be to find and keep a good job without the ability to drive legally.  Bill Powers

Driving While License Revoked or DWLR in NC can be a relatively serious charge.  That’s because under the North Carolina traffic laws if you are convicted of a moving violation during a period of revocation or suspension, and do nothing to obtain a valid NCDL, you’re adding to your problems.  What happens is DMV keeps adding periods of suspension.  That can really add up, if you keep getting conviction after conviction, with the incumbent suspension after suspension.

DWLR charges, especially if they involve something called “Imp Rev” or Impaired Revocation are taken seriously by Criminal Defense Lawyers Charlotte NC.   It would be a mistake to assume police officers in Charlotte, the Mecklenburg District Attorney’s Office, or Judges in the 26th Judicial District don’t care about DWLR.  That’s really true if people intentionally keep breaking the law.



What’s worse, if you’re revoked because of DWI Driving While Impaired, and keep driving, the consequences can be much more than an additional period of revocation or suspension.  DWLR Impaired Revocation is a separate criminal charge in North Carolina.

Attorneys in Charlotte NC who handle DMV License Revocation and Suspension Cases


Allegations of Driving While License Revoked Impaired Revocation citations are Class 1 misdemeanor criminal charges in North Carolina.  Class 1 criminal charges carry a possible 120 day maximum in North Carolina.  If you have a history of DWLR and a bad enough prior criminal record (PRL Prior Record Level) that’s serious stuff.  Bill Powers

Driving while license revoked, for traffic citations issued AFTER December 1, 2013 is considered a relatively low-level misdemeanor criminal offense.  If it involved unpaid tickets in North Carolina or things like that, DWLR is normally a Class 3 misdemeanor in North Carolina.  If the license is revoked for DWI Driving While Impaired in North Carolina, that is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

For DWLR Impaired Revocation criminal charges, the State of North Carolina must prove:

[T]hat the person’s license was originally revoked for an impaired driving revocation – NCGA 20-28(a)

What is an Impaired Driving License Revocation under the NC Traffic Laws?  Is it different than normal DWLR charges in NC? 

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Criminal defense lawyers in Charlotte NC often refer to impaired driving license revocations as DWLR Imp Rev.  In fact, that’s often how the ticket is written by police officers and entered into the official court system computer.

“Imp Rev” stands for Impaired Revocation in NC  

There are several different NC traffic laws that affect people charged with these offenses, including but not limited to:

  • NCGS (North Carolina General Statute) Chapter 20-13.2
    • Consume Alcohol or Drugs Driver UNDER 21 Years Old
    • Willful Refusal to Submit to Breath Testings, Urine or Blood Tests UNDER 21 Years Old
  • NCGS Chapter 16(a)(8b)
    • DWI on Military Base or “Military Installation”
  • NCGS Chapter 16.2
    • DWI Willful Refusal to Submit to Breath, Blood or Urine Testing
  • NCGS Chapter 16.5
  • NCGS Chapter 17(a)(2)
    • Impaired Driving Commercial Vehicle
    • CDL Commercial Driver’s License DWI Driving While Impaired
  • NCGS Chapter 17(a)(12)
    • License revocation for OPEN CONTAINER / Transporting an Open Container
  • NCGS Chapter 138.5


Criminal Defense Lawyers Charlotte NC - Transcript of Video of DWLR Impaired Revocation Charges in NC for the hearing impaired


Hi, I’m Bill Powers. I’m an attorney in North Carolina and I’m answering more questions that we find online.

These are just people just like you that post things on public message boards and they have questions.

As I can, obviously, I’d tell you if you have more specific questions, talk to a lawyer whether it’s us or someone else but we try to answer, or at least I try to answer questions, where we see commonly coming up over and over and over in our courts.

How can an officer charge me with a Driving While License Revoked, by the way, lawyers oftentimes refer to those as DWLR, Driving While License Revoked, when he did not even pull me over?

Had a series of DUIs in the back, in the past, have been in trouble for five or six years. Did not have legal tags on the vehicle, someone at dispatch ran in the tag.


MORE INFO HERE: 4 Things You Should Know How Lawyers Can Help


I came back to my car where it’s parked, wrote me a ticket for driving while license is revoked for an Impaired Driving Revocation and they took the tag.

Okay, first rule, don’t drive around with illegal tags.

In fact, there are some cars in North Carolina, if you’ve ever seen them, it’s a patrol car and they’ve got a series of things across the front of a car, sometimes on the hood, and they’re cameras.

They actually have a 360 view of all the vehicles around them. I’ve seen some in Durham most recently and they’re not cheap cars.



Period of suspension or revocation; conditions of restoration. NCGA 20-19


I think they cost a lot for the law enforcement to get but they can, basically, the 360 view, look at every tag with using computers in a digital basis of every car going by irrespective of the speed.

Just check the tags to see is it valid, is it stolen, is the vehicle stolen, is the owner of the vehicle properly licensed. These computers now, I mean, we all carry a big one or in hand but they’re now ubiquitous.

They’re powerful and fast and they’ve got data that, in real time, can tell you go get that car. Even if they did necessarily see you driving, I would say, “Well, maybe they did. Maybe you just don’t know they saw you driving.”


Read More: How to Prepare for a Limited Driving Privilege in North Carolina?


The bigger question is can they prove that you’re operating the motor vehicle at a trial. Let’s say they did not actually pull you over but they did see you operating a motor vehicle.

Years ago, I had a client, great guy, who in, similar set of circumstances, had some trouble with the law and for whatever reason, his license had been revoked.

He happened to live in the same neighborhood as a law enforcement officer. Small little jurisdiction.

He would drive to work and he’s a hardworking guy and the police officer would water his grass or play with his kids in the front yard, would see him drive by, knows his face because he’s a neighbor, had pulled him over several times before and he would just go down and swear out warrants.


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The answer to the question or at least, the inquiry here is can they do that? Absolutely. A law enforcement officer doesn’t have to be wearing the badge at every second of the day.

If they see a known criminal offense, they know the person to be revoked and now, in this instance, they actually went back and checked and went to the DMV and looked on his computer in his car, they keep the car at home. Lo and behold, it was revoked. He’ll issue a citation and mail it to you so the answer is yes, they can.

Now, there may be a dispute as to whether they actually saw you driving.

Now, I’m not saying that at 55 miles an hour and it’s at nighttime and it’s raining that a police officer sees the vehicle goes by, looks at the tag and says on the computer, “The person who owns that car is revoked,” and just send you a ticket.

No, they’d have to show that you are actually the person in operation.


DWLR Imp Rev Driving While License Revoked Lawyers in Charlotte NC


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That’s what we referred to as a prima facie or first fact. That’s Latin, prima facie, first fact. At trial and that’s operate a motor vehicle, in this instance, while revoked.

Now, a good question is what is Driving While Licensed Revoked? Well, they’ve relatively recently have changed the law and we’ve seen this North Carolina.

This is a pretty complicated area so if you’re watching this video sometime in the future, the law may have changed but right now, as I’m shooting today, there are, generally speaking, two types of Driving While License Revoked.

There’s Driving While License Revoked that’s related more to non-payment of a ticket, a failure to appear, a failure to comply, maybe having too many tickets, having some sort of administrative revocation or suspension for going too fast or having too many tickets at the time period, something like that.


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That’s one type of Driving While License Revoked that while serious and while may cost you a lot of money and end up having additional periods of revocation or suspension, that’s different than Driving While License Revoked Impaired Revocation which is something they’ve added more recently.

It’s a higher, more enhanced level of punishment.

That one, you actually look at the possibility of going to jail because judges don’t like it nor the prosecutors when you’re driving around on a revoked license and the reason the license is revoked is because you had a DWI.

That’s serious. I think both of them makes sense to talk to a lawyer but that one is special because you’re not just looking at losing your license of additional period of time, you’re losing your liberty.

Possibly your job, if you’re sitting in a jail.

Yes, they can issue citations even though they don’t necessarily pull you over.

That doesn’t mean that they can prove it in court. It’d be smart not to conflate the two that yes, they can issue a citation but that doesn’t mean they can prove it.

Third, does it make sense to retain a lawyer?


MORE INFORMATION: NC Laws – Texing While Driving


Yes, especially if it’s Impaired Revocation. Even if you are eligible for reinstatement, there are times that there are glitches in the system.

Maybe the assessing agency mailed off your compliance of the alcohol assessment treatment but DMV didn’t recognize that and maybe your license wasn’t properly revoked at the time.

There are a lot of little things that we like to check off or go through and say, “Operation, was it actually suspended? Was it eligible for reinstatement? What are the nature and the circumstances of the offense itself?”

We offer free consultation, that’s what we do, we help people.

704-342-HELP. If you have questions about your license, license revocation, license suspension, reinstatement.

Are you eligible for reinstatement? Are you limited privilege?

Give us a call. We don’t charge you if we talk to you about these kind of cases and we keep everything confidential and if we can help you out, we’ll let you know.

704-342-HELP. Hope to hear from you.


Bill Powers

Bill Powers – Attorney at Law – Charlotte, NC – 704-342-HELP


How Can An Officer Charge Me With Driving While License Revoked When He Didn’t Pull Me Over? 1710D


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