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DWI Driving Privileges

Below is a general discussion of the driving privileges available to persons cited with DWI in Mecklenburg County NC. While the DWI lawyers of Rosensteel Fleishman Car Accident & Injury Lawyers intend this article to be informative it is not exhaustive and the reader should be aware that each case is unique and would be reviewed by a Charlotte DWI Attorney at Rosensteel Fleishman Car Accident & Injury Lawyers. Please also note that in North Carolina many people will use the term “DUI” in reference to an impaired driving charge, while in many states “DUI” and “DWI” are separate charges in North Carolina we have only Driving While Impaired or “DWI”.

DWI Driving Privileges in Charlotte North Carolina

When a person is cited with Driving While Impaired (DWI) in North Carolina the individual often has two (and sometimes more) license suspension issues to deal with. These suspensions can interact with each other and sometimes create complicated legal questions that require litigation. This article will discuss some of the common issues we see in dwi suspensions and the privileges that are possible.  While Charlotte judges are often willing to grant a driving privilege, it is a decision that is made individually in each DWI case.

What Triggers the need for a DWI Driving Privilege?

If a person is charged with Driving While Impaired and the individual has an alcohol concentration of a .08 or higher according to a breath test or a blood test conducted by the state, the charge automatically results in an initial thirty-day revocation of the individual’s driving privilege. This revocation typically begins on the day of the DWI stop (or sometimes the next day if the stop occurs late at night which is common in Charlotte DWI cases). The initial thirty-day civil-revocation also applies to people who refused to participate in the alcohol test.

A refusal to participate in the alcohol test triggers the initial thirty-day civil-revocation, but it also triggers a full one-year suspension.  There is a privilege available for that type of suspension, but not for the first six months of the one year.  If you have been charged with a DWI in Charlotte and you are also potentially facing an alcohol test refusal suspension it is important that you speak with an attorney at Rosensteel Fleishman immediately to deal with the suspension in the best way possible.

A conviction on a DWI leads to a one year suspension, depending on the alcohol level of the person convicted he or she may be eligible for a privilege right away.

There are other types of suspensions that are less common than those mentioned above. The other suspensions are often a result of prior convictions or other factors that interact with the DWI charge to complicate the DWI privilege situation.  Because a DWI privilege is so important and also because the situation can be complicated, it is important to consult with our DWI defense attorney soon after your original charge.

The Limits on a Charlotte DWI Driving Privilege

Attorney Rosensteel (our Charlotte DWI defense lawyer) is, in most cases, able to procure for out clients a limited driving privilege. For all three of the above listed privileges there are certain limitations on the driving that is allowed.   A limited driving privilege allows our clients to drive to specific destinations during the hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. To get our clients a limited driving privilege our lawyers need to be able to show that our clients meet the eligibility requirements of the law. As such, our DWI attorneys can argue that the client is eligible for a driving privilege for the purposes of:

-Employment (geographic limitations can apply)

-Maintenance of household (childcare and grocery shopping would be included)


-Court ordered treatment or assessment for drugs and alcohol

-Community service ordered as a part of the sentencing process

-Emergency medical care

Typically in a Charlotte DWI case we can get alternative hours for out client’s driving privilege if they are necessary for things like a late work shift, but these alternative hours must be approved by a judge. While the driving privilege itself is not guaranteed, if the driver qualifies, it is unusual for a Judge to deny the privilege in a Charlotte DWI case. In all cases the person who drives in accordance with the limited privilege must have no alcohol in his or her body. The presence of alcohol would void the privilege and can lead to another DWI charge.

Eligibility for a Charlotte DWI Driving Privilege Upon Revocation

-The driver must have been validly licensed at the time of the DWI offense or have a license that has been expired for less than a year.

-The driver must be a first offender with no other pending DWI charges.

-Must have been sentenced to a level three four or five of the NC DWI sentencing levels.

-Must have completed a substance abuse assessment and filed it with the court.

-Must have proof of liability insurance.

Timing of the Privilege

A person can apply for a limited driving privilege under the thirty-day civil-revocation after ten days of suspension.

A refusal suspension requires a waiting time of six months.

A DWI conviction suspension begins immediately and for people with an alcohol concentration of under a .15 the privilege can be immediate.  A .15 or higher requires a forty-five day waiting period.

While this article is meant to be informative, it is not meant to incorporate all of the facets of what is a very complicated law.  DWI in North Carolina is a heavily contested and complex area of the law, each factual situation has individual legal issues that should be addressed by an experienced DWI lawyer.

Receiving a Mecklenburg County – Charlotte DWI is a serious matter. Our Charlotte DWI attorneys have the know how, experience and acumen to handle your case. In every case we will let you know your cost up front – with no surprises. That is our promise to you.  At Rosensteel Fleishman Car Accident & Injury Lawyers we frequently work with both in state and out of state clients.  For our clients’ convenience we accept payment over the phone with Visa or MasterCard.

Call (704) 714-1450 to make an appointment to speak with a Charlotte DWI attorney, or stop by the office during regular business hours. We will schedule an appointment that meets your needs.

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