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Having a Suspended License in North Carolina
If your license is suspended, don't panic. We'll guide you through the process to getting your license back. You'll be hitting the streets again in no time! Here's what you need to do:
- Find out the status of your driver's license: It's always smart to keep an eye on your driving record, but when a suspended license is in the mix, you need to know exactly where you stand. By ordering your driving record from the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you'll know that your license is suspended and what traffic tickets and corresponding points you have received (the North Carolina point system assigns specific point values to violations).
You can order your driving record in 1 of 3 ways:
- In person, and
- By mail
- Get a restricted driver's license: Some drivers with a suspended license in North Carolina are eligible for a restricted license. This lets you drive to and from essential locations, like from your home to your place of employment, while you are without your normal driver's license. A restricted license is not guaranteed to every individual with suspended driving privileges. Talk to an attorney if you believe you qualify for one.
- Get your license reinstated: The process for having your North Carolina DMV suspended license reinstated is not the same for everyone—it depends on your specific case, the reason for your suspension and other factors. The steps you may need to take after serving your suspension time include:
- Providing proof of enrollment in the proper course, if one was required (typically alcohol safety school for individuals who got a DWI, and a Driver Improvement Clinic if your suspension was due to points)
- Paying all necessary court fines
- Visiting your local DMV office
- Paying the reinstatement fee (generally $75 for drivers with DWIs, and $50 for drivers with too many points), and
- Reapplying for your driver's license
It goes without saying, but if your driving privileges are ever suspended, don't drive! There are serious consequences for North Carolina drivers who break this rule. If you are caught driving while your license is suspended, you could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. The consequences for this may include a fine and potential jail time, and the court determines the amount of your fine. As far as jail time, the following rules typically apply:
- If you have 0-4 previous convictions: Serving a minimum of 1 day in jail and a maximum of 45 days in jail
- If you have 5 or more previous convictions: Serving a minimum of 1 day in jail and a maximum of 120 days in jail
Another possible punishment for driving with a North Carolina DMV suspended license is additional suspension time. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your driving privileges could be suspended for another full year or more. You could even have your vehicle seized by getting a DWI while your license is suspended for a past DWI. It's helpful to read up on North Carolina DWI laws to know exactly what happens if you break the rules.
If you are ever found driving on a suspended license in North Carolina, think about hiring a lawyer to help you navigate the legal process and clear your name in the court system. You can also find out more about your suspension by contacting the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles by:
- Calling (919) 715-7000
- Sending an email, and
- Writing a letter
The DMV can offer you all the information you need about your driving history, whether it's the status of your driver's license or any North Carolina traffic tickets and violations you may have received.
As hard as it may be, the best thing to do when your driver's license is suspended is to serve out your suspension time, then follow the steps for getting your license back. Don't risk absorbing penalties for driving on a suspended license—it's just not worth it.