What is the Process for Getting a Limited Driving Privilege or Hardship License?

How Can I Get a Limited Driving Privilege?

The officer arrested you and then kept your license after your DWI booking. Now what? When can you legally drive again?

North Carolina law requires that any person arrested for DWI must surrender their license and not drive for 30 days. This is, for most people, absolutely mind boggling.  After being charged with DWI, our clients’ first concern is always “how am I going to get to work” or “pick up the kids?” Well, it depends.  Life does not stop just because you were charged with DWI.  If you voluntarily submitted to breathalyzer testing and your BAC level was below 0.16, your driving privileges are automatically revoked for thirty (30) days. However, you can submit an application for a limited driving privilege (LDP) after ten (10) days which is then valid for the next twenty (20) days. After that period, your driving privileges are restored.  This means that you are covered by the 20 day period until you are eligible to get your license reinstated.

During those first ten days, you cannot legally drive. But you can move quickly during that period to enroll in the required “assessment” and get all required documents so that you can have a Limited Driving Privilege on the 11th day. Our firm can help you through this process and prepare the required paperwork for the District Court judge’s signature and court filing. If you are visiting from another state, your license should be returned because the State of North Carolina has no jurisdiction to keep your license, since is issued by another state. However, your privilege to drive within North Carolina is similarly suspended for the same thirty (30) day period as residents.  You can legally drive anywhere else in the country unless your licensing state revokes your license.  It is only in North Carolina that your driving privileges have been suspended.

There are three (3) requirements that you must complete to submit a request for this “limited driving privilege” or “hardship” license. To be eligible, one must (1) complete an alcohol assessment (we can provide you with a list of local assessment facilities; the cost is $100); (2) submit a DL-123 form showing proof of vehicle liability insurance; and (3) submit a written statement from your employer or school showing when you need to be able to drive (unless you need only ”standard” driving hours).

After you get the above documentation to us, our office will draft the necessary court documents (including an affidavit for you to sign) and appear before a judge on your behalf. You do not need to be present. The court fee required is an additional $100 which you can also pay through the firm. We will pay it for you and file the license. We can then either have you pick up your new limited driving privilege at our office, or we can mail it to you directly, whichever is more convenient for you.

Here is a quick summary for easy reference:

Pre-Trial Limited Driving Privilege

When available?  10 days after your arrest date – Fee to NC: $100.00.

What’s required?  (1) Alcohol Assessment (not treatment) – Fee: $100.00.

(2) DL-123 Driver’s License Liability Insurance Certification from your insurance company (no effect on rates).

(3) Affidavit showing reasons for needing LDP (school, work, groceries, medical visits) – our office will prepare; then you sign before a notary public.

Standard hours?  Monday through Friday, 6:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Non-standard hours?  Requires statement from supervisor on company letterhead showing days and hours of your schedule; if in school, statement from administrator showing class schedule.

Legal fee? If you hire us to handle your underlying DWI, then it is included in the price; if separate, our attorney fee is $500.00.

Valid for how long?  20 days.

Return of license?  30 days after date of arrest. You have to pay a $100.00 Civil Restoration Fee to the Clerk of Court. Our office can collect fee and retrieve your license for you. If you go yourself, the Clerk’s office accepts only cash, money order, certified check, and credit cards. Personal checks are NOT accepted.

Try not to worry. We help our clients obtain a Limited Driving Privilege after being charged with DWI throughout Mecklenburg County, including Charlotte, Ballantyne, Blakeney, Dilworth, Meyers Park, North Davidson (NoDa), Matthews, Lake Norman, Davidson, and Huntersville.