Civil Revocation of License for North Carolina DWI

by | Apr 20, 2020 | Blog Posts, DWI, NC Criminal Defense

Oftentimes, a person charged with DWI in North Carolina faces an immediate 30-day civil revocation of their driver’s license. This blog breaks this topic down and addresses only the 30-day civil revocation. If a person is convicted of DWI, they will also face a minimum one-year license suspension upon conviction.

Like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a DWI attorney.

When does the civil revocation occur?

Civil revocation for implied consent offenses is governed by N.C.G.S. 20-16.5. A person’s driver’s license is subject to revocation if:

  1. A law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person has committed an implied consent offense, such as DWI; and
  2. The person is charged with that offense; and
  3. The law enforcement officer and the chemical analyst comply with the procedures of S. 20-16.2 and G.S. 20-139.1 in requiring the person’s submission to or procuring a chemical analysis; and
  4. The person either:
    1. Willfully refuses to submit to the chemical analysis;
    2. Has a BAC of .08 or higher within a relevant time after the driving;
    3. Has a BAC or .04 or higher at any relevant time after driving a commercial motor vehicle; or
    4. Has any alcohol concentration at any relevant time after driving and the person is under 21 years of age.

Length of revocation

A person’s license will be revoked for at least 30 days. Once the 30 days have passed, the person must pay a $100 fee to the clerk of court to reinstate and retrieve their license. The person’s license will remain revoked until they pay this fee, even if more than 30 days have elapsed.

What if I had my blood drawn?

A civil revocation may occur after the results of the blood test are available if the requisite BAC is met. Note that if there was a blood draw due to a refusal, the license may be revoked immediately as a result of the refusal.

What if my blood test came back positive for drugs only (no alcohol)?

In such a case, a person will not be subjected to the 30-day civil revocation.

Objection to revocation

You may request a hearing to contest the validity of the revocation. The request must be made in writing, within ten (10) days of the revocation or at the person’s initial appearance. The hearing is conducted by a magistrate, unless the person requests that the hearing be conducted by a district court judge.

Limited driving privilege

You may petition a district court judge in the county in which your charge is pending for a limited driving privilege if the following criteria are met:

  1. At the time of the alleged offense, the person held either a valid driver’s license or a license that had been expired less than a year;
  2. The person does not have an unresolved pending charge involving impaired driving except the charge for which the person’s license is currently revoked under G.S. 20-16.5 or additional convictions of an offense involving impaired driving since being charged with the violation for which the license is currently revoked;
  3. The person’s license has been revoked for at least 10 days; and
  4. The person has obtained a substance abuse assessment from a mental health facility and has registered for and agreed to participate in any recommended training or treatment program.

If you have been charged with DWI or another traffic or criminal offense in North Carolina and are seeking legal counsel, contact us to discuss your options.

DISCLAIMER – This forum is intended for general questions and comments about the particular law or topic. Comments are public and are not protected by confidentiality or attorney-client privilege; therefore, they can be used against you in court. Please refrain from revealing your identify or specifics about any actual criminal case. No attorney-client relationship is created in this forum.

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