How to prepare a Limited Driving Privilege in North Carolina



License Suspended?  Need to Drive?  How to prepare a Limited Driving Privilege in North Carolina


Many people don’t realize the true value of a Driver’s License. . .until they lose it –  Bill Powers 


The North Carolina General Assembly gives the North Carolina Department of Transportation / Division of Motor Vehicles the authority to issue, revoke, and suspend Drivers Licenses in North Carolina.

Judges in North Carolina, under certain specific and narrowly tailored circumstances, may authorize driving in limited circumstances.

Lawyers often refer to such dispensation as a Limited Driving Privilege, especially as they may relate to Impaired Driving.

While many people associate DWI DUI Impaired Driving as the sole source for such Driving Privileges, there are actually several different types of Driving Privileges or Permit:

  • Pre-Trial Limited Driving Privilege
  • Post Conviction Limited Driving Privilege
  • Willful Refusal Limited Driving Privilege
  • Ignition Interlock Limited Driving Privilege
  • Out-of-State DWI Conviction Privilege
  • Speeding Limited Driving PERMIT


Take a look at the Powers Law Firm PA website, blog posts, and links for more information regarding each of the listed types of Limited Privileges.


Driving While Impaired – Limited Driving Privilege – Basic Requirements and Forms in North Carolina

Obtaining a Limited Driving Privilege in North Carolina can be a complicated process; but, as lawyers we seek to provide help. . .and information.

Here are some basic forms and documentation that are required.

If we serve as Legal Counsel to you, we normally need three copies of each form.

The following materials are not merely recommendations.  They are requirements.  If you fail to provide the appropriate documentation, obtaining a privilege will be delayed.


Restoration Fee for 30 Day Civil Revocation 

When charged with Impaired Driving, the normal protocol requires an immediate 30 Day Civil Revocation pursuant to N.C.G.S. 20-16.5.

Following the 30 Day Suspension, a fee is assessed and paid to the Clerk of Court.

Such Fee is separate and distinct from fees associated with a Pre-Trial Limited Driving Privilege.

  • The Civil Revocation Fee MUST BE PAID prior to obtaining a Limited Driving Privilege
  • NOTE:  A Pre-Trial Limited Driving Privilege is a separate legal filing
  • The Fee is Paid to the Clerk of Court
  • The Fee is $100


Filing Fee – Limited Driving Privilege 

The Clerk of Court collects a Filing Fee in the amount of $100 for the Limited Driving Privilege.

  • Such fee is separate and apart from the Pre-Trial Limited Driving Privilege filing fee of $100
  • Such fee is separate and apart from the Civil Restoration Fee of $100


DL-123 – Proof of Financial Responsibility




Download:  DL-123 Bill Powers SAMPLE FORM 2017



Substance Abuse Assessment: 

Take note, in asking for a Substance Abuse Assessment lawyers are not trying to be rude or imply that someone has a problem.

Indeed, the majority of people charged with Impaired Driving, both nationwide and in North Carolina, have had little or no involvement in the Courts.

Assuming reported statistics are correct, first-time offenders are really “only time” offenders.

Most people charged would never dream of Driving While Impaired.  For a wide range of reasons, the pending DWI charges are an aberration.

An Alcohol or Substance Abuse Assessment has been deemed, by the North Carolina General Assembly, as a condition precedent to obtain a Limited Privilege.


If you were arrested for DWI, it certainly doesn’t hurt to do some self-evaluation.  That’s how I view the Assessment.  It does not mean you are a bad person or have a problem.  It’s a chance to learn and grow – Bill Powers 


You may hear Lawyers, Judges, and Prosecutors refer to an “Alcohol Assessment.”    The formal name and purpose is to determine the potential for Substance Abuse issues.

Traditionally Drunk Driving or DUI Driving Under the Influence related to Alcohol alone.

Nowadays we recognize the fact that people may be “impaired” by lots of different things, including legal and illegal substances.

In fact, some people charged with Driving While Impaired in North Carolina are “impaired” by more than substance at the same time.

Charges that we call DWI are meant to include everything that impairs the ability to operate a vehicle, to an appreciable extent, even if those substances are prescribed and otherwise lawful to consume.

In addition to punishing those convicted of the offense, North Carolina hopes to help people grow from the experience.

Again, a Substance Abuse Assessment is not intended to embarrass you.  The Courts seek the results of the Assessment, making certain people comply with any and all recommendations.

As such, a Substance Abuse Assessment:

  • Required for ALL Impaired Driving Related Offenses
  • Normally takes approximately 1 Hour
  • Costs Approximately $100
    • Plus $10 Driving Record Check Fee
    • Follow Up Education, Treatment, and Counseling are Extra
  • Consists of a Self-Assessment Questionnaire and Follow Up
    • SASSI – Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory
  • Duly Authorized Agency / Assessor as recognized
  • Must Follow American Society of Addiction Medicine criteria




What is an SASSI?




Click Here for:  North Carolina Authorized Assessing Agencies 


Proof Non-Standard Hours of Operation 

“Standard” Hours of Operation are set by the General Assembly are listed as Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. through 8:00 p.m.

If you need to drive outside those days or hours, the Court will require documentation.

You should NOT assume the Court will grant all requested hours or days for Work, Treatment, and Household Maintenance.


Lawyers normally ask for a letter or proof explaining abd otherwise setting forth, with SPECIFICITY:

  • Name and Address of Employer
  • Name and Title of Employee
  • Type of Work, Duties
    • If Self-Employed, Appropriate Documentation
  • Hours of Operation
    • Including “On Call” and “Emergency” Responsibilities
    • Shifting Schedules
  • Location of Job
  • Name and Location of Church / Religious Worship
  • Name and Location of Educational Facility
  • Name and Location:
    • ADET Alcohol Drug Education Traffic School
    • Community Service Coordinator
    • Mental Health Treatment Facility


Limited Driving Privilege Impaired Driving or Open Container or Underage Alcohol Violation

Take a look at and download the following forms.





While it is VERY important to read and understand all the requirements, Lawyers are primarily interested in the personal information including:

  • Name and Address of Defendant
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Hair Color
  • Eye Color
  • Date of Birth

In representing clients, Lawyers would normally be aware of the “File No.” or what is referred to in North Carolina as the “CR Number.”

Attorneys can also fill in the other, more technical aspects of the Privilege prior to presentment to the Court, including the:

  • District or Superior Court Division
  • Drivers License No.
  • State
  • Date of the Offense
  • Date of Conviction
  • Type of Conviction
  • NCGS General Statute Reference


DOWNLOAD HERE: North Carolina Limited Driving Privilege Bill Powers 2017 SAMPLE FORM


North Carolina Limited Privilege Requirements


You should NOT assume a Limited Privilege is automatic or granted in every circumstance.

In addition to a fair number of statutory requirements, the Privilege itself is always in the discretion of the Court. . .the Judge.

It is an Order of the Court and must therefore be followed to the letter of the law.

Here are some of the more technical requirements:

  • You must have held either
  • No Conviction of Offense
    • Involving Impaired Driving
    • Preceding Seven Years
  • Level of Punishment by Court
    • Level 3
    • Level 4
    • Level 5
  • Subsequent to the PRESENT OFFENSE for which privilege sought
    • NO OTHER CONVICTIONS of Impaired Driving
    • NO OTHER UNRESOLVED charges of Impaired Driving
  • Records of the Division of the Motor Vehicle AND the Clerk of Superior Court in THIS COUNTY
    • Searched
    • No Other Revocations At This Time
  • Obtained and Filed with the Court
    • Substance Abuse Assessment
  • Court Furnished
    • Properly Executed
    • DL-123
    • AND is Satisfied with Financial Responsibility
  • OR Executed DL-123
    • No Requirement to Furnish Proof of Financial Responsibility


Limited Privileges are LIMITED – There are Restrictions 




TAKE NOTE:  Courts and Prosecutors take the Requirements and Restrictions for a Limited Privilege VERY seriously.  You should too.



CLICK HERE:  Misdemeanor Sentencing Chart NC 2017



You will be held the the Conditions and Requirements of the Limited Driving Privilege

It says and otherwise provides LEGAL NOTICE that:

  • I have received a Copy and Acknowledge Receipt of All Conditions
  • I will be subject to Arrest if I Violate the Conditions of the Privilege
  • I will lose my license if I Violate the Conditions imposed by the Court
  • I must keep a Copy with Me
  • Violation of ANY Restriction Constitutes the Separate Offense of DWLR
  • Failure to Complete Community Service Revokes Privilege
  • Failure to Pay Fee for Community Service Revokes Privilege
  • Failure to to Complete or Pay may result in Probation Violation of Conditions Imposed by Court



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