What Leads to a Driver’s License Suspension?
Earning a driver’s license is a rite of passage for many people, especially teenagers in North Carolina eager for freedom. Abiding by traffic laws is key to avoiding the temporary or permanent loss of a license. There are several offenses for which law enforcement may take your license, and there are steps you can take to get it back.
Violations and Consequences
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles can suspend or revoke a driver’s license under several circumstances, including a driving while intoxicated conviction, refusing to take a blood or breath test when suspected of DWI, or reckless driving. These suspensions also applies if these offense happens out of state, including South Carolina. Additionally, a license may be suspended if a driver accumulates enough points on his or her license. In North Carolina, once someone accrues 12 points over a three-year period, the DMV may revoke his or her license.
The Suspension Process
The DMV will notify people of their license suspension in writing. The letter should outline the length of time for which the license is suspended. The suspension period will vary depending on the offense. For example, a license will be suspended in the following circumstances:
- People who have been charged with driving recklessly
- People who were speeding at least 15 mph over the limit and going 55 mph or faster
- People who are speeding at least 10 miles an hour over the limit when the speed limit is 70 mph or higher
- People who were convicted of a misdemeanor death by vehicle
- People who have committed their first DWI offense
- People who refused to take a breath or blood test.
- People who are driving while their license is revoked or suspended
- People who fail to pay a traffic ticket
In suspensions prompted by license points, the length of time depends on how many suspensions the driver has incurred. A first suspension may be no longer than 60 days, a second suspension may be no longer than six months and any suspensions afterward will be at least one year.
Getting Your License Back
In order to get a license reinstated, there are several things drivers may do. Depending on the circumstances, a motorist may choose to fight the offense that merits the suspension by hiring an attorney prior to their court date.
After the fact the suspension can be challenged by requesting a hearing with the DMV. If the ticket stands, a driver may be able to request a hardship license, which grants limited driving privileges. At the end of the suspension period, drivers can pay restoration fees and apply for a new license. The process may require the driver to take the written or driving test again.
In North Carolina, fees to reinstate a license could cost hundreds of dollars, in addition to any court costs or other fees and the problem is compounded if you receive additional tickets driving on a suspended license, which could result in a permanent revocation of your driving privilege. At Nosal & Jeter, LLP we regularly work with clients to help them avoid license suspension or fight for them at a DMV hearing to get their driving privileges back.
Source: DMV.org, “Suspended License in North Carolina,” 2014