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Can I Drive After Getting Arrested for DWI or DUI?

Not every arrest for DWI in North Carolina results in a revocation or suspension.

And even if your license is revoked, there may be options available to legally drive after an arrest or being charged with DWI.

"We find people often make assumptions based on what they’re heard about the NC DWI laws, not fully understanding what may or may not be important to their individual case. We provide answers to your important questions."

- Bill Powers, Charlotte DUI Lawyer

Is My Licensed Revoked After a DWI?

To be clear, in many instances, DWI charges do result in license “revocation” just for being charged if you blew .08 or refused to blow (willful refusal).

But, getting arrested for DUI does NOT in ALL instances suspend or revoke your license.

Frankly, it can be a bit complicated.

DWI Charges in Charlotte – Guide Navigating the Legal System Legal

In part, that’s because of the nature of driving while impaired charges, the implication of a fair amount of technology and science, and how intricate the North Carolina DWI laws can be in a real-world application.

During the first consultation, clients often ask two big-picture questions:

  1. Am I going to jail?
  2. Can I drive or get a hardship license?

It is possible, again in certain circumstances, to get jail time even for a first offense and no prior record. **

DWI Sentencing – NC DWI Quick Reference Guide

** Each case is different and unique. Do not assume anything. Do not rely on the advice of a well-meaning friend, co-worker, or family member. Jail may or may not be a realistic, worst-case outcome. The individual circumstances of you and your case are important considerations.

Talk to a criminal lawyer!

Can I Drive?

A DWI arrest in Charlotte or in one of the other towns in Mecklenburg County like Pineville, Matthews, Huntersville, or Davidson, can have immediate consequences.

While there is mass transportation available to some in Mecklenburg County, a substantial number of people in Charlotte commute to work.

That especially true if you live on the outskirts of town or in a surrounding county like Iredell, Gaston, or Union County NC.

What’s the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

Going to work, buying groceries, taking kids to school, and maintaining your life and household, is very much tied to your ability to get around.

"This isn’t New York City or Chicago, where a lot of people don’t have a driver’s license, let alone own a car. We have light rail; but in Charlotte, most people drive to work."

- Bill Powers

What Happens if I Drive While I’m Suspended?

If your license is revoked or suspended in North Carolina by the North Carolina Department of Transportation – Division of Motor Vehicles or “NC DMV” or otherwise, you should not drive.

It could result in an arrest for Driving While License Revoked or “DWLR.”

"DWLR due to an impaired revocation or ‘DWLR Imp Rev’ is serious stuff in North Carolina. Don’t risk it! There may be ways to legally drive."

- Bill Powers, Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer

DWLR Impaired Revocation is a Class 1 Misdemeanor in North Carolina and subject to a maximum 120-day punishment in jail.

Should I Blow? What Happens if I Refuse?

A conviction for Driving While License Revoked may further subject the offender to an additional period of revocation and may also limit your ability to obtain a Limited Driving Privilege in the future.

A DWLR on your driving record, even with the entry of a Prayer for Judgment or “PJC” may serve as evidence of operation, which could result in denial of reinstatement at a DMV hearing or “restoration hearing.”

Furthermore, suspension or revocation by NC DMV may or may not have a substantive effect on an out-of-state license.

A lot depends on whether the “home state” participates in the “interstate compact” and/or gives full-faith-and-credit to North Carolina’s administrative revocation consistent with N.C.G.S. 20-16.2.

Even if your license remains valid in your home state, North Carolina may legally suspend or revoke your ability to drive in North Carolina.

Can I Get a Hardship License?

A valid out-of-state license does not supersede NCDMV’s ability to preclude operation while within the territorial boundaries of North Carolina.

The license laws of NC and rules-of-road within our jurisdiction apply, even if you are licensed in another state like South Carolina, Virginia, or Tennessee.

We Understand the Importance of Driving

After discussing the grossly aggravating factors and possible worst-case outcomes if convicted, our defense lawyers begin a legal analysis, looking for answers to questions:

  1. Is there a valid driver’s license?
  2. Is the license revoked or suspended by NC DMV?
  3. Was the license revoked prior to the DWI arrest?
  4. When did the suspension or revocation go into effect?
  5. What caused the suspension or revocation?
  6. Did the charging officer seize the driver’s license?
  7. Did the Licensed Chemical Analyst or “LCA” comply with the Implied Consent Laws?
  8. Was there lawful authority to demand a breath sample?
  9. Was there lawful authority to demand a blood sample?
  10. Was a Search Warrant issued?
  11. Was the Search Warrant valid?
  12. Was there a supporting Affidavit for the Search Warrant?
  13. Were the blood sampling testing protocols followed?
  14. Was the blood sample properly collected and stored?
  15. Is there a valid Chain of Custody for the blood sample?
  16. Was there a “willful refusal?”
  17. Was a blood test “compelled?”
  18. What force was used to obtain a blood test?
  19. Was there Probable Cause to arrest?
  20. Were there Reasonable Grounds to request or demand a breath or blood sample?
  21. Did the LCA read the Implied Consent Notice Rights?
  22. Consistent with N.C.G.S. 20-16.2, were the test results submitted to the Clerk of Court?
  23. Did the Clerk of Court transmit Notice to NC DMV?
  24. Has NC DMV revoked or suspended the license due to DWI charges?
  25. Are there other reasons the license is revoked or suspended?
  26. Is there a legal basis to challenge the 30-day Revocation?
  27. Is a pretrial Limited Privilege an option?

What You Need to Know About Driving While Impaired

Part 2 >>

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I am so fortunate to have had Bill Powers on my case. Upon our first meeting, Bill insisted that through the emotions of anger, sadness, confusion, and betrayal that I remain resilient. He was available to answer questions with researched, logical, truthful answers throughout our two year stretch together. I went to any lengths for my case because he won my trust almost immediately... J.R.
★★★★★
My daughter had a second DUI and when it all seemed hopeless, Bill was able to get the charges dropped. This is a man who is extremely knowledgeable, yet still keeps his integrity which was impressive to me. He handles himself with dignity. If you hire him, you will have the best of the best, along with his expansive intellect and wisdom about the law. Lisa
★★★★★
Bill Powers’ staff has handled several traffic citations for me over the years, and they exceeded my expectations each and every time. Would highly recommend anyone faced with a traffic citation or court case contact his office and they will handle it from there. M.C.
★★★★★
Bill and his staff are flat out great. I (unfortunately) was a repeat customer after a string of tickets. These guys not only took care of the initial ticket for me, but went the extra mile and reduced my problems from 3 to just 1 (very minor one) on the same day I called back! I would recommend them to anyone. A.R.