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Charlotte Law Blog

What Happens to My License After a DWI?

On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Driving While Impaired on Monday, August 10, 2020


A driving while impaired charge can feel like the end of the world. After a DWI, your license may be revoked for a variety of reasons, leaving you unable to drive to work, run errands, or travel.

Even worse, DWI cases often rest on the word of the officer who pulls you over. In the wrong circumstances, you can find yourself wrongfully charged or facing steeper penalties than you deserve. Contacting an experienced DWI lawyer can help you protect your rights and understand your options. With our team at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys on your side, you can trust that your case is in the hands of experienced, tenacious representation.

Call us today at (980) 237-4579 or use our online contact form to reach out to our experienced Charlotte DWI defense attorneys.

30-Day Civil Revocation Upon Being Charged

As soon as you are charged with driving while impaired, you will lose your license under the civil revocation law in North Carolina. If the officer has probable cause to believe you have committed the offense of driving while impaired, you will be subject to an immediate 30-day revocation period. Depending on the facts in your case, you may be eligible to fight the civil revocation, or apply for a pre-trial limited driving privilege after 10 days of the 30 day civil revocation.

After the 30 day civil revocation has expired, you are eligible to pay a $100 fine and reinstate your license, but you still may face long-term revocation if you are convicted.

Twelve Month Revocation if You Refuse to Submit to Breath Test

In North Carolina, DWI is an implied consent offense. This means that if the officer has probable cause to believe you are driving while impaired, you must submit to a breath or blood test. Refusal to submit to these tests carries serious consequences, and you can lose your license for up to a year, simply for refusing to take a breath or blood test.

Unfortunately, breathalyzer tests can often be inaccurate, reading BAC as higher than it is. Complicating matters, an officer can allege that you refused a test for a variety of actions, including smoking when told not to, refusal to remove objects from the mouth, being unruly or failing to follow instructions, and even failing to provide multiple test samples. If an officer or analyst believes you deliberately did not blow hard enough in the breathalyzer, this can also count as willful refusal.

In North Carolina, officers can also use your refusal against you in court, claiming that your refusal to submit to a test is evidence of your guilt.

Revocation If Convicted of a DWI

Conviction of a DWI charge can lead to long-term, and even a permanent revocation of your license. At a minimum, a first time offender will receive a twelve (12) month revocation of their North Carolina driving privileges. If convicted, and you are a repeat offender, you will face a series of escalating penalties for driving while impaired.

In addition to these penalties, you may face fines, community service, or jail time, depending on the circumstances of your DWI and your driving record.

Remedies to a DWI License Revocation

No one should fight a DWI case alone. Whether you think you’re guilty or not, DWI cases are rarely cut and dry, and an experienced attorney can help you understand the charges you face, your options, any possible defenses in your case, and how best to protect your rights.

30-day Civil Revocation

Your attorney can help you temporarily get your license back by filing a petition for limited driving privileges. After 10 days have passed, the judge may grant you permission to drive to work and for essential household purposes between the hours of 6am and 8pm, Monday to Friday, so long as you undergo a pre-trial substance abuse assessment, provide proof of insurance, and pay the required fees to the Clerk of Court.

Your attorney may also be able to challenge your civil revocation at a DMV hearing. You may be able to invalidate the revocation by showing that the officer failed to comply with all testing procedures as mandated by law.

Refusal Revocation

If you’re facing a 1-year refusal revocation, your attorney can help you file for a refusal hearing. At this hearing, you can challenge the allegation that your refusal was willful or argue that the officer did not have probable cause to believe you were driving while impaired or failed to inform you of your implied consent rights. A timely hearing request can restore your license while the hearing date is pending.

Post-Conviction Revocation

Working with an attorney can help you understand your options and build a strategy if you’re facing a potential conviction. Before conviction, an attorney can identify whether there are any viable defenses to your charges and point out errors and weaknesses in the state’s case against you. In very rare cases, your attorney may be able to negotiate a reduction of your DWI charge to reckless driving. After a conviction, depending on the facts in your case, your attorney may be able to help you petition for limited driving privileges or restoration of your license at a DMV hearing.

Contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys to Keep Your License

If you’re facing a DWI charge, contacting an experienced DWI attorney can mean the difference between a conviction and acquittal, or jail time and community service. With over 30 years of combined experience, the criminal defense lawyers at Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys have been defending Charlotte’s citizens in DWI cases with overwhelming success. Whether you’re guilty or innocent, DWI charges can change your life. It’s vital that you seek representation quickly.

To get started on your case, reach out to us online or call us at (980) 237-4579. Your rights matter: let us help you protect them.