Losing your driving license is more than an inconvenience; it can dramatically affect your life. In North Carolina, suspended or revoked licenses are a serious matter governed by specific laws and regulations.
Whether you’re a driver facing a potential driver’s license suspension or worried too many traffic tickets may bring you a license revocation, understanding the ins and outs of the process is crucial.
So join us for a comprehensive guide on why licenses get revoked in North Carolina, the legal consequences, and what steps you can take if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.
Why Individuals Get a Revoked License in NC
Common Reasons for Revocation
In North Carolina, there are various reasons why a driver’s license might be revoked. Some of these reasons include being adjudicated as incompetent or involuntarily committed to treat alcoholism or drug addiction.
According to the North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 20, Section 20, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles will inquire into the facts to determine whether such a person is competent to operate a motor vehicle.
The license will be revoked if the Commissioner is not satisfied that the person can operate a vehicle safely. The individual has the right to request a hearing to retain their license until after the hearing takes place.
Specific North Carolina Laws Leading to Revocation
Various sections govern the revocation process within Chapter 20 of the North Carolina General Statutes.
For instance, if a person refuses to take a chemical test, their license can be revoked, and they have the right to file a petition in the superior court district for a hearing on the record.
You may be surprised to learn that accumulating too many traffic tickets can lead to the revocation of their driver’s license. The point system tracks traffic violations in North Carolina, and each offense adds points to your driving record.
Your license can be suspended or revoked once you reach a certain number of traffic ticket points within a set time frame. This can significantly impact your daily life, affecting everything from your commute to work to your ability to run errands.
Revoked licenses bringing about a suspended license can also occur under any of the following statutes involving driving offenses:
- G.S. 20-13.2: consuming alcohol/drugs or willful refusal by a driver under 21
- G.S. 20-16(a)(8b): military caught driving while impaired
- G.S. 20-16.2: refused chemical test
- G.S. 20-16.5: pretrial civil license revocation
- G.S. 20-17(a)(2): impaired driving or commercial impaired driving
- G.S. 20-138.5: habitual impaired driving
- G.S. 20-17(a)(12): transporting open container
- G.S. 20-16(a)(7): impaired driving out of state resulting in N.C. revocation
- G.S. 20-17(a)(1): manslaughter or second-degree murder involving impaired driving
- G.S. 20-17(a)(3): felony involving use of motor vehicle, involving impaired driving
- G.S. 20-17(a)(9): felony or misdemeanor death or serious injury by vehicle involving impaired driving
- G.S. 20-17(a)(11): assault with motor vehicle involving impaired driving
- G.S. 20-28.2(a)(3): The laws of another state and the offense for which the person’s license is revoked prohibits substantially similar conduct which, if committed in this State, would result in a revocation of license as listed under any of the above statutes.
Suspended or Revoked License Process in N.C.
The revocation process often begins with an initial suspension, followed by a formal revocation. During this period, the individual has the right to a hearing before the Division.
If the revocation goes through, you may petition the superior court for discretionary review of the revocation.
Immediate Actions to Take
If you find yourself facing a license revocation, it’s crucial to act quickly. Depending on the circumstances, you have the right to request a hearing before the Division or the superior court.
Working with a DWI attorney who understands the specific statutes and regulations that govern the revocation of licenses in North Carolina can help you understand and work through this complex process effectively.
Consequences of License Revocation
The legal consequences of revoking your license in North Carolina can be severe regarding your driving privileges.
According to the State’s General Statutes, if the State revokes your license, you may face additional penalties, including potential jail time, depending on the reason for the license revocation.
The revocation can also be extended if pending offenses could cause a driver’s license suspension.
Impact on Daily Life and Employment
Losing your driving license affects more than just your ability to drive; it can significantly impact your daily life and employment.
For instance, commuting becomes a challenge with a suspended license or revoked license, and some jobs may require a valid driver’s license as a condition of employment.
Limited Driving Privilege
Sometimes, a person whose driver’s license has been revoked may apply for a limited driving privilege. This privilege is subject to the judge’s discretion. A judge is more likely to give this privilege under specific conditions.
When a Judge May Grant Limited Driving Privilege
According to North Carolina’s General Statutes, a judge may grant a Limited Driving Privilege for good cause shown. This privilege allows a person with a revoked driver’s license to drive for essential purposes such as:
- Employment: Driving to and from work or as required for the job.
- Household Maintenance: Essential travel for taking care of the home.
- Education: Going to school or educational institutions.
- Court-Ordered Treatment or Assessment: Travel for court-ordered medical or psychological treatment.
- Community Service: If ordered as a condition of probation.
- Emergency Medical Care: In case of medical conditions in emergencies
- Religious Worship: Going to places of worship.
Eligibility for Limited Driving Privilege
A person convicted of impaired driving is eligible for a limited driving privilege if they meet certain requirements, such as holding a valid driver’s license at the time of the offense or having a suspended driver’s license that had expired for less than one year.
Restrictions and Conditions
The judge can impose various restrictions on the limited driving privilege, such as specifying the days, hours, types of vehicles, routes, and specific purposes for which the privilege is allowed.
The person applying must provide proof of financial responsibility acceptable under G.S. 20-16.1(g) and maintain this financial responsibility during the period of the limited driving privilege.
A judge is more likely to grant a Limited Driving Privilege if there’s a good reason for it, such as work or emergency medical care, and if the person meets certain conditions like having a valid driver’s license at the time of the offense.
The judge can also set specific rules about when and where you can drive.
The financial toll of having your driver’s license suspended or revoked can be substantial.
Not only are there costs associated with the legal process, but you may also face higher insurance premiums once you receive a reinstated drivers license.
Right to Hearing and Appeals
If you face a revoked license, you have the right to a hearing before the Division or the superior court.
The superior court checks if there’s enough proof to back up what the Commissioner says and if that proof lines up with the facts.
Understanding the consequences of license suspension or revocation can help you make informed decisions if you face this situation. It’s crucial to consult legal advice to navigate the complexities of North Carolina’s driving laws effectively.
How to Respond to a Revocation
If you find yourself facing a license revocation in North Carolina, the first step is to request a hearing to contest the validity of the revocation.
This request can be made at the time of your initial appearance or within 10 days of the effective date of the revocation.
The hearing must be conducted within three working days before a magistrate or five working days before a district court judge.
During the hearing, you can testify on your own behalf. The judicial official may accept as true any matter stated in the revocation report unless contested.
If you contest any condition, the judicial official must find by the greater weight of the evidence that the law met the condition. The decision of the judicial official is final, and you may not appeal to the General Court of Justice.
Appeal to Court
If you face a sustained revocation after the hearing, you have the right to file a petition in the superior court district for a hearing on the record. T
The review by the superior court determines whether there is sufficient evidence to support the Commissioner’s findings. The court also looks at whether the findings of fact support the conclusions of the law.
Return of License
After the applicable period of revocation, or if the magistrate or judge orders the revocation rescinded, you may apply to the clerk for the return of your surrendered license.
Your license revocation does not become a license suspension.
Importance of Legal Counsel
Consulting with an experienced DWI attorney brings invaluable legal advice if you find yourself at risk of license revocation. They can guide you through the complexities of North Carolina’s driving laws and help you take steps to prevent driver’s license revocation or a suspension period.
Being proactive and informed can often prevent a revoked or suspended license in North Carolina.
Reinstating a Revoked License
When You Can Apply for Reinstatement
If your license has been revoked, you can apply for a new one under specific conditions. For example, if your license was revoked for one year under certain subsections, you may apply for a new license after 90 days have passed.
Substance Abuse Assessment
If your original revocation was due to impaired driving, you must obtain a substance abuse assessment and proof of completion to be eligible for reinstatement.
Before you can reinstate your license, you must maintain financial responsibility as the law provides.
In some cases, you may only have your license conditionally restored. For instance, if your license was originally revoked for an impaired driving revocation, you can have it conditionally restored by the Division under specific provisions.
Requirements for Permanent Revocation
If your license was permanently revoked due to multiple offenses, you may apply for a new license after two years. However, you must provide proof that you have not been convicted of any moving violations during this period.
The Division may impose any restrictions or conditions on the new license they consider appropriate. These conditions can last up to seven years from the date of restoration.
It’s crucial to meet all the requirements and conditions the Division sets to regain your driving privileges.
We Can Help
At Cape Fear Law, we understand how challenging it can be to understand license revocation and reinstatement in North Carolina.
Our team is well-versed in the North Carolina driving laws and can guide you through each step of the process. From understanding why your license was revoked to helping you meet the requirements for license reinstatement, we’re here to offer the support and legal advice you need.
Don’t go through this difficult time alone; let us help you get back on the road legally and safely. Get in touch today and start moving forward with your life.