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How to Get a Limited Driving Privilege After a DWI in NC

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.

Modified Transcript of “How to Get a Limited Driving Privilege After a DWI” for the Hearing Impaired

Speaker 1: You're listening to Law Talk with Bill Powers, your resource for answers to your most pressing legal questions. Attorney Bill Powers sits down with some of today's leading legal minds to discuss everything from legal issues and legislation to practice tips and policy. Now, here's your host, an NBTA board certified criminal law specialist, former president of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and renowned trial lawyer, Bill Powers.

Robert Ingalls: All right. Welcome back to a new episode of Law Talk with Attorney Bill Powers. I am Robert Ingalls, and I will be your guest host for this episode. It is my privilege to be here again with Mr. Powers. How are you today, sir?

Bill Powers: I'm well.

Robert Ingalls: Today, we're going to be talking about DWI limited privilege. How do you lose your license? What steps can you do to get it back? Should you hire an attorney to help you with that process? Bill is going to be giving us all those answers. Ready to get to it?

Bill Powers: I am.

Robert Ingalls: All right, so the first question that I have and the listeners probably have is in what situations does your license get taken away?

Bill Powers: Well, that assumes you actually have a license in the first place, which is normally one of the condition precedence of getting the limited privileges that you have a valid license or maybe it hasn't been expired more than a certain period of time, but we see them in driving while impaired cases normally where you have blown a certain number on the evidentiary device. We refer to that in North Carolina as the ECIR2.

We also see license suspensions related to what we refer to as a willful refusal or refusing to submit to blood or breath testing, and there's a timing issue involved because there are also times where you will see a suspension due to the number coming back on blood, which may be a delay.

As I think most people probably understand, it takes a while to get blood test results back from a lab, and so it may be several months before a suspension goes into effect for what we refer to as a 20-138.3 or 28-138.1, 2 or 3 type of offense, which is the general statute regarding driving while impaired, or driving while subject to impairing substances as a CDL operator, or as ... and I mentioned the 20-138.3 for being underage, which when you're not allowed to have any alcohol in your system. That can have an effect to your license as well, which may or may not fall within limited privileges, but you asked when suspension is taking place, so that's normally when you see it in a way to higher refusal where you're not supposed to be drinking and driving at all.

Robert Ingalls: For the listener, I will link those statutes in the show notes and on the blog for you.

Bill Powers: Sure.

Robert Ingalls: Those are the things that can get you suspended. Under what circumstances if you're suspended can a person then get limited privileges?

Bill Powers: Well, this is one of those areas of law that there are so many different possibilities and paths you can go down. There's not an absolute right answer. I think it makes sense to focus on some big picture, big ticket type of items, and when I'm speaking to someone on the phone, I'm normally trying to find out a little bit about what happened factually or procedurally in the case that caused the revocation or suspension. I want to confirm that there has indeed been a suspension. They're supposed to normally give you some paperwork saying, "I'm taking your license."

Then, we start the process of preparing the documentation and paperwork needed or necessary under the statutes to get the license back, so we may need an alcohol assessment. We may need a form from your insurance company. In North Carolina, we call that a DL123. In South Carolina, they call it something else. We may need documentation regarding where you work, the hours that you work, location, things of that nature.

Robert Ingalls: Perfect. Is there any specific things that a person can do on their own to qualify like if they've just been suspended? Let's say they were pulled over. They received a DWI. They were suspended. Is there something they can do today?

Bill Powers: There's something you shouldn't do today, and it happens with enough frequency that I feel it's probably important to talk about. I think sometimes people get out of jail and they think, "Well, I got to go to work, so I'm just going to go online and get me a duplicate." It happens. I know you're smiling, but it does happen. In legal, in specific legal language, we always say, "Don't do that," because it actually can cause more problems for ...

Robert Ingalls: If you were to get pulled over while you were driving with this duplicate license, is that going to get you in even more trouble?

Bill Powers: It could. In fact, depending on the time even, there are so many different ways, so I don't want to say there's an absolute, but you could be looking at another relatively serious, a separate offense as well as a violation of terms of release from jail. They normally tell you not to operate a motor vehicle until property license. The reason that I put a pause in there is that normally, when you're charged for driving while impaired and you have an .08 or higher, there's an administrative revocation or suspension for a 30-day period, but it's not absolute.

For example, there are times that you can challenge administratively, civilly the revocation, which in Charlotte, it actually takes place at the courthouse, but it's actually ... your other side is the attorney general's office as opposed to prosecuting office as opposed to a limited privilege that you may obtain after a 10-day period, so while they may revoke your license for 30 days for being charged or suspend, and by the way, I use the terms interchangeably. There is a difference, but most people ... I want to keep it basic as much as I can now already in this answer.

Part 2 >>

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