DWI Suspension Length

Hi, I’m attorney Derek Gray of Graystar legal. We are a criminal law firm in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and this is our FAQ series. So today’s question is going to deal with DWIs. Specifically, how long will my license be suspended if I’m convicted of a DWI?

What The Law Says

So first and foremost, I always like to start with the law itself. This refers to North Carolina general statute 20-19 precisely. So the first question you must ask yourself is, “Is this my first, second, or third conviction? So if this is your first conviction, your suspension period will be one year. Okay. And this will be from the date you’re convicted in court to one year following that period.

Limited Driving Privilege

On the bright side, you will likely be eligible for a limited driving privilege. This will allow you to drive during the period of suspension for specific reasons. For example, you will be able to drive for work purposes, maintain household religious purposes, and comply with the conditions of your DWI. But it’s not a regular driver’s license; you will typically be able to drive Monday through Friday from 6 am to 8 pm. But it depends on what your work schedule is like, too; there are chances that you can get additional hours. But again, I reiterate this is not a regular driver’s license. So first DWI conviction, there is a one-year suspension. Now, if you have two DWI convictions, or the DWI you’re being convicted of is your second conviction, within three years, you are looking at a four-year suspension. Now, after two years, you’ll be eligible for a DMV hearing; you’ll have to go before a DMV hearing officer. And they’ll determine whether or not they’ll allow you to be reinstated. A restricted license will be restricted in some form or fashion. Typically, they’ll make you do maybe cam alcohol monitoring, which means continuous alcohol monitoring. It may be a condition that you have an alcohol interlock device on your vehicle.

But that’s if they grant the motion and allow you to get your license back after two years. But that second conviction within three years is a four-year suspension. And lastly, if you’ve been convicted or been convicted of three DWIs; specifically, the most recent conviction occurring within a five-year time period of the offense date of this new conviction, you will be put in a state of permanent suspension per the DMV. If you’re on permanent suspension, you are eligible for a DMV hearing after three years. Again, this is not a guarantee that you will get your license reinstated.

Going Before the DMV Hearing Officer

You’ll have to go back before the DMV hearing officer. And they’ll be concerned about things such as you have been driving during the period of suspension, so they’ll check your DMV, driving history, if you’ve had improper equipment, if you’ve had, it shows up that you were involved in an accident. So things that typically wouldn’t penalize you will be used as proof or evidence that you’ve been driving during a period that you’re supposed to be suspended, which will come back to bite you. Further, they will look at things such as criminal convictions, have you been convicted of any substance abuse issues or anything like that, that would show that you are still using or consuming some illegal substance or alcohol, which is obviously going to be their a concern if you were permanently revoked for driving while impaired convictions. Again, if they allow you to get your license back, this will likely be on a restricted or probationary period. Typically, that period is about three years. If, after that time period, you’ve complied with all of their conditions to their satisfaction, then they can reinstate your license fully.

Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney In North Carolina

Suppose you have any other follow-up questions about what we discussed today. Don’t hesitate to ask us a question below, or feel free to reach out. I’d love to talk about it. I’d love to help, take care. If you are in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, area and need legal representation against a charge, speak to a criminal defense attorney at McMinn, Logan & Gray.

In the meantime, peruse other practice areas:

Author Bio

Derek M. Gray

Derek Gray is a Partner of McMinn, Logan & Gray, a North Carolina criminal defense law firm. With more than 15 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Derek received his Juris Doctor from the North Carolina Central School of Law in 2007 and is a member of the North Carolina State Bar Association. With his experience as a former Assistant District Attorney, he has represented more than 1,000 criminal defense clients in North Carolina and received more than 100 5-star Google ratings.

Justia | State Bar Association| Google