As you may know, under the state’s implied consent laws, the state can revoke a person’s driver’s license if that person refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test. This issue comes up once the police officer has probable cause to believe that the person in question has committed DWI. This is often called “willful refusal”. Click here to read more about breathalyzer refusal.
Many people have questions about whether or not they can get a limited driving privilege when the state revokes a person’s license for willfully refusing a breathalyzer test. A person can get a limited driving privilege, but they have to wait for six months. In addition, if the person was charged with DWI, the underlying DWI charge must have been resolved.
It is also important to note that a DWI charge and a willful refusal charge are two separate charges. As such, a true refusal will result in a one-year revocation, regardless of how any underlying DWI is disposed of. This means that the revocation will occur even if the person is acquitted of DWI or the DWI is dismissed.
Who is eligible for a limited driving privilege?
A person revoked for willful refusal under N.C.G.S. 20-16.2 may be eligible for a limited driving privilege if:
- At the time of the refusal, the person held either a valid driver’s license or a license that had been expired for less than one year;
- At the time of the refusal, the person had not within the preceding seven years been convicted of an offense involving impaired driving;
- At the time of the refusal, the person had not in the preceding seven years willfully refused to submit to a chemical analysis under this NC’s implied consent laws;
- The charged DWI did not involve death or critical injury to another person
- Subsequent to the refusal the person has had no unresolved pending charges for or additional convictions of an offense involving DWI
- The person has obtained a substance abuse assessment from a mental health facility and successfully completed any recommended training or treatment program
It has been six months, I meet all of the requirements listed above, and my DWI charge has been resolved. Can I get my license back?
Maybe. If the underlying DWI charge was dismissed or you were acquitted of DWI, you are eligible. If you were convicted of DWI, you may be eligible. If convicted of DWI, you are eligible if you were sentenced at Level Three, Level Four, or Level Five.
If I am granted a limited driving privilege for a breathalyzer refusal revocation, will I face any restrictions?
Yes. Like other limited driving privileges, the driver must use the privilege for certain essential purposes. Some examples of this include driving to work, court-ordered community service, medical treatment, education, household maintenance, and emergency care. The court may or may not set specific hours.
If you have been charged with DWI/DUI in North or South Carolina, contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. Gilles Law offers free consultations for DWI/DUI.