According to the North Carolina legislature, possessing a driver’s license in this state is considered a privilege, not a right. Because of this, there are many different ways in which to have this have that privilege temporarily suspended, or lost altogether. The most common ways that this occurs can be boiled down to three basic scenarios:
- You are convicted of certain traffic offenses. Some convictions create an automatic suspension (accumulating too many points on your driver’s license; speeding 15 mph over the limit if you’re going more than 55 mph; or speeding more than 80 mph over the posted speed limit). Other convictions give the Department of Motor Vehicles the option of suspending your license (such as being convicted of reckless driving and speeding over 55 mph within the same year).
- Getting a Failure to Appear (“FTA”) in court.
- You are convicted of (or in some instances, simply charged with) an impaired driving offense. If you refuse to give a breath sample during a DWI investigation, have a blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of at least .08% or more, or a BAC of .04% while driving a commercial vehicle, your license is automatically revoked and suspended for 30 days If you are convicted of a DWI (whether by pleading guilty or after a trial), your license will be suspended for a year. Having multiple DWI convictions will also lead to longer suspensions or even a permanent suspension.
If your license is suspended for the first or second categories above, and you are pulled over while driving during that period of suspension, you will most likely be charged with Driving While License Revoked (“DWLR”). This is a Class 3 misdemeanor in North Carolina.
If, however, you are suspended under category three above and are caught driving, you will be charged with Driving While Revoked for an Impaired Revocation, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, the most serious class of misdemeanors in North Carolina.
The most important takeaway is this, regardless of the type of suspension you may be facing: it is absolutely critical that you consult with an attorney in any of the above situations instead of simply going online and paying off your ticket. Many people do not realize this, but doing so is admitting that you are guilty. Consult with an attorney experienced in handling such matters as soon as possible to protect your license.