A driver’s license is something almost everyone relies on every day and oftentimes, people forget having a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. In North Carolina, any person operating a motor vehicle must have a valid driver’s license and must carry the license while operating the vehicle at all times. Many traffic violations, such as Driving While License Revoked (DWLR), are misdemeanors, which are criminal charges. If convicted, you could face jail time or a license suspension for a significant amount of time.
North Carolina law separates DWLR into two categories – “DWLR Not Impaired,” which is the appropriate charge when the original suspension/revocation was not the result of an impaired driving offense and “DWLR Impaired Revocation,” which is the appropriate charge when the original suspension/revocation was the result of an impaired driving offense.
DWLR Not Impaired
Prior to December 2013, a DWLR was classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carried heavy fines and up to 120 days in jail. As of December 1, 2013 any person with a revoked license operating a motor vehicle is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. A Class 3 misdemeanor is less serious than a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, you face a license revocation of one year if it is your first DWLR, along with heavy fines. If convicted a second time, the revocation period is two years. A permanent revocation is issued for a third or any subsequent DWLRs.
This form of DWLR is a subsection from the existing North Carolina General Statue G.S. § 20-28(a). Any person whose license is revoked due to impaired driving offense (DUI/DWI) and drives a motor vehicle is guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. This type of DWLR carries a mandatory license suspension of one year, which could be added time to an original suspension stemming from your impaired driving conviction. In addition to your license being revoked, you could be facing up to 120 days in jail if convicted of this type of DWLR. If the person’s license was originally revoked for an impaired driving revocation, the court may order as a condition of probation that the offender abstain from alcohol consumption and verify compliance by use of a continuous alcohol monitoring system, of a type approved by the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety, for a minimum period of 90 days G.S. § 20-28(a1).
Once convicted of any form of DWLR, reinstating your license could become a greater obstacle than you might imagine. You must pay any fees set by the court and wait a period of time (depending on what your revocation period is) to be able to apply for your license. In addition to fees and waiting periods you must complete any treatment or assessments if they are recommended. If you are being charged with a DWLR in North Carolina, we strongly suggest consulting with an attorney to discuss your options.
NOL (No Operator’s License)
The charge of NOL is different from DWLR and can range from an infraction to a Misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. Generally, you can be charged with NOL if you do not have a valid driver’s license (because either your license is expired or you just have never had a valid driver’s license to begin with) OR if you are not physically carrying a valid driver’s license on you.
For more information, see N.C.G.S. § 20-35