How to Get a Limited Driving Privilege After a DWI - Part 5
Jan 11, 2018
Has your license been suspended or revoked? If so, you're in the right place.
North Carolina Attorney Bill Powers has been representing clients in DWI license suspension and revocation matters since 1992. In this episode, Attorney Powers answers the questions that matter to you when your license has been suspended or revoked.
Now, that doesn't mean the judge can't give you active time on jail. It just was required, so if you had DWLR, and that's what lawyers refer to most of the times, and you had a P, which was permanently revoked, it meant something. There are permanent revocations, and there are permanent for a time, and that doesn't mean permanent in my dictionary, but ...
Robert Ingalls: If someone has been permanently revoked, it's probably still worth making a phone call to you?
Bill Powers: Yes, and I will ... The first thing we do is we pull a copy of the driving record. We have an account with DMV, and we pay a fee for that. We normally need your name, date of birth, social security number. People ask, "Why do you ask for my social security number?" I say, "They want it," and then we look at it, and you read them from the back page to the front page from the bottom to the top. I don't know if that ... Is that how they read Japanese or some language? You read them from the bottom to the top because ... and there's a top header section that tells what the status of your license is, and so we make sure ... I'm being somewhat facetious, but I'm sort of not.
I do read them from a certain date and forward, and we start seeing ... It depends on how complex these things, and I've seen record checks that make the rainforest of South America weep with the amount of paper because you have 20 pages, especially as you've gotten older and if you have a history of DMV. Every little ticket you've gotten shows up, and then there may be letters going from the division of motor vehicles to you advising you need a suspension, so that together with the privilege. Sometimes, they can't even fit them inside the court file we refer to as the shock in North Carolina.
By the way, if anyone knows the etymology of shock relating to a court file, I'd love to know. Everyone just calls it that. Statewide, by the way. It's like, "Let me see the shock." I think it has to do with like an ear of corn and shocking it off. It's got a clear little cellophane in front, that type ...
Robert Ingalls: I was thinking maybe an oyster because it's got that little opening on the side.
Bill Powers: Yeah, and like an oyster, if you open it wrong, can cut your hands.
Robert Ingalls: It can.
Bill Powers: There's a complex reading of these things, and here's another key point when you say permanent revoked. If you have an outstanding ticket, and you've not taken care of it, and they do what's called an indefinite suspension or revocation, it is permanent until you take care of that, that underlying offense, so that means forever, and I have people say, "Well, I never had a North Carolina license. How can they suspend it?" Let me disabuse you that. They figured out a way. They assign a number, and they say, "Bill, your number is 123456, and now that we have assigned you a number, don't drive here at North Carolina."
Robert Ingalls: We take that number back.
Bill Powers: Right, and I have people say, "Well, I'm licensed in South Carolina." I'm like, "Great. Don't drive in North Carolina."
Robert Ingalls: Don't cross the line. Are there any situations where a driver cannot apply for limited driving privileges?
Bill Powers: Yes, there are times where you're not even eligible to apply. Lawyers were held to a standard. When we present the paperwork to the court, we are in fact asserting that we believe you're otherwise eligible. That is part of the record review. That's also why ... I guess I'm older now, so I can say as an old-school lawyer, I still pull the full record from the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles, DMV. As much as they will give us, I'd like the full and complete record so I can see the history.
Then, if I have the complete record, I can tell you whether you are eligible or not. There are some companies out there, private agencies that they're data trolls. They troll different court systems, and they will do an unofficial record which ... My response to that is, "Do you want an official driver's license based on the North Carolina law and DMV, or do you want an unofficial driver's license that if it's wrong, there's a problem?" I don't know. I don't mean any offense to those companies. There's a purpose for them for a quick and dirty type of stuff, but when it comes to preparing for a privilege and you being able to drive to work, I go old school, and then I get that from DMV.
Robert Ingalls: Now, it sounds like there's a lot to this process. Is that something that you could do yourself like could I apply for a limited driving privilege myself if I needed it?
Bill Powers: Sure. You always can, and I see people do it. It makes me nervous because if it's done incorrectly, it can cause further problems. It can get expensive if you do it incorrectly because they won't just allow you to correct things without refiling and they tend to charge a new filing fee. Yes, it can be done. In fact, on our website and other materials, we provide links to the Administrative Officer Court's forms. They're called AOC forms. There's a form for a pretrial limited driving privilege and a petition for limited driving privilege. There's a form conviction, post-conviction DWI. There's a form for a willful refusal limited driving privilege. There's a privilege for an ignition interlock limited driving privilege. There's even a privilege for certain speeding tickets.
Yes, you can, but it makes me nervous because I fear you could spend a long time sitting up there and trying to figure out how to do it, and the court system really isn't allowed to ... DAs, prosecutors aren't allowed to explain your options in law, and the judges either review the materials and accept it or don't, and I think you're at a disadvantage. Yes, you can. It's just one of those more complicated areas. This isn't a simple speeding ticket or an inspection violation. I'm sure there are some people completely confident and able to do it. It's just I know how hard we work at doing it and how I ... If we ever have a typo or something, we redo it. So then, we had to refile it, so it's deceptively complicated.
Robert Ingalls: All right, so you've answered all the questions I had. You have any last words on the subject?
Bill Powers: Well, don't be afraid to call a lawyer. We at our office offer a free confidential consultation. I will point you in the right direction. If I think we could help you out, I'll tell you. If I think you can handle it yourself or maybe go another direction, I'll tell you that too. Our lawyers are here to help. We truly do want to help people, and when we don't charge for a consult and it's confidential, why not?
Robert Ingalls: All right. Well, thank you, sir.
Bill Powers: My pleasure.
Robert Ingalls: All right.
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