Limited Driving Privilege After a DWI Arrest

North Carolina law requires that any person arrested for DWI must surrender their license. That is a very scary proposition. How will you get to work or school? How will you pick up your children? Not surprisingly, our clients’ first concern during the initial phone call or office consultation is normally, “when can I legally drive again?” Try not to worry. We can help get you back on the road by petitioning the Court for a Limited Driving Privilege (LDP).

Here’s how it’s done. If you voluntarily submit to breath testing, your driving privileges are suspended by law for thirty (30) days. However, after ten (10) days, you can submit an application for a limited driving privilege (LDP) which, if granted, is then valid for the next twenty (20) days. After that period, your driving privileges are restored, and you can retrieve your original license for a $100 civil revocation fee.  In some cases, we may be able to have your license reinstated earlier and while avoiding paying these fees.

During those first ten days, you cannot legally drive. During this period, our firm will help you prepare the necessary paperwork and documentation for your limited driving privilege. This process will require two things from you and two things from our office. You will have to get a required “substance abuse assessment.” We can recommend some providers here in the Charlotte area. They will charge you a fee of $100. You do not have to complete the recommended treatment. All you need at this point is the assessment which will be sent over to our office. The second thing you will need to do is to request your insurance company to email or fax to our office a Form DL-123 which confirms you have active vehicle liability insurance in place. Then, our firm will prepare the application along with the required Affidavit reaffirming there are no other pending DUI charges and that your license was in good standing at the time of your arrest.  You will have to sign the required Affidavit in front of a notary. We will have you come by our office to sign or can email it to you for signature in front of a notary public.

On the eleventh (11th) day after your arrest, one of our lawyers will go to the courthouse and appear on your behalf in front of a District Court judge and submit your application for approval. If approved, we will then pay the required $100 fee (you can submit that fee through our law firm) to the State of North Carolina and file it with the Clerk of Court. Once filed, we will provide the approved LDP paperwork to you to keep with you anytime you are on the road. If stopped by the police, you will present these filed papers just as if it were your actual license. These documents show that you have the privilege to drive in the state. This LDP is valid for the next twenty (20) days, after which time you can pay an additional $100 and get your original driver’s license back.

Standard or Non-Standard Privilegecharlotte patrol officer

For a “standard” limited driving privilege, you must restrict your driving to and from work or school to Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. No additional explanation or documentation is required for this privilege. However, if you need to drive outside of these times, you can apply for a “non-standard” limited driving privilege. That application requires something written on letterhead from your work or school showing why you need extra hours. It must also contain a signature from a person in authority. This requirement can be awkward or even prohibitive. As a result, many persons may simply try to not get caught. Such risk is excessive.

If you violate the limited driving privilege, whether standard or non-standard, it is considered to be driving without a license (DWLR) and is a very serious offense. Such charge while there is a pending DWI will have both independent and collateral consequences on your DWI level of punishment. We absolutely do not suggest any our clients “chance it.”

Out of State Resident Charged with NC DWI

If you are visiting from another state, your physical license should be returned to you, because that plastic card technically belongs to your resident state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent). The state of North Carolina has no jurisdiction to keep the card, although this mistake is rather commonplace. Regardless, your driving privilege to operate a motor vehicle in North Carolina is suspended for the same thirty (30) day period as if you were a legal resident. Only your privilege to drive in North Carolina is affected. You can still drive in any other State unless and until you receive some contrary notification from your home jurisdiction.


We realize this is a confusing process. Don’t worry. We have helped many clients over the years and will be happy to answer your questions so that you can legally drive again as quickly as the law allows. Call us today and let’s get started.  The longer you wait to give us a call, the longer you will be without a license. Call us today at (704) 334-7897 or contact us here.

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