Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License

Many of us rely on driving our own vehicles to get to and from work and to run personal and family errands. Having a suspended driver’s license can be devastating on many different levels. If you’ve been charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license, your freedom and future are in jeopardy. You could face jail time, fines, and a permanent suspension of your driver’s license.

Taking the charges against you seriously and hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your legal rights. Attorney Joel Hancock has extensive experience fighting for clients charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license. He has a proven track record of successfully defending clients in a wide range of traffic violation cases and an in-depth understanding of the North Carolina court system. Don’t hesitate to contact Hancock Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss how he can fight for you.

Why Are Driver’s Licenses Revoked in North Carolina

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the legal authority to revoke or suspend driver’s licenses. The DMV may revoke a driver’s license if the driver accumulates too many points on their driving record or is convicted of a traffic-related offense, such as a DWI.

Generally, driver’s licenses are only suspended when a driver fails to maintain insurance, pay a fine, or appear in court for a traffic violation. A driver’s license could be suspended in North Carolina for many different reasons, including major and minor offenses. Some of the most common reasons the DMV will revoke a driver’s license include the following:

  • Driving a commercial vehicle without the required commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • Leaving an accident scene
  • Failure to have the required amounts of auto insurance
  • Failure to pay child support obligations
  • Failure to pay court fees
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol (DWI)
  • Accumulation of points on a driver’s license within three years
  • Speeding 

The DMV is required to mail drivers a written notice of the suspension, clearly stating when the suspension will start. If a driver continues driving after his or her license has been suspended, he or she can face serious charges and be fined or imprisoned if convicted. 

Driving While License Revoked (DWLR)

Driving While License Revoked (DLWR) is a serious misdemeanor traffic offense in North Carolina. Police officers and prosecutors take driving while license revoked charges seriously and will frequently prosecute drivers to the full extent of the law. Even if your original suspension was for a minor reason, such as failure to pay fines, you could still face harsh penalties. 

The crime of DWLR is a Class 3 misdemeanor. However, under the revised law, a violation doesn’t always result in an additional driver’s license suspension. Prosecutors will need to prove that you were driving a motor vehicle on a highway and that you knew that your driver’s license had been revoked at the time. The statute broadly defines highways, including most roads in North Carolina.

Impaired Driving Suspension

Having a motor vehicle when your driver’s license has been suspended for impaired driving (DWI) is a violation. You can be charged if you receive a required notice that your driver’s license has been suspended. This criminal charge is considered a class one misdemeanor. If you are convicted, your driver’s license will likely be suspended again.

Driving without Reclaiming a Driver’s License

 In North Carolina, if a driver is charged with a DWI, their driver’s license will be immediately revoked. Drivers can attempt to reclaim their driver’s license after they are arrested. However, if the allocated time frame has expired and they haven’t reclaimed their driver’s license and are found to be driving, they can be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor. This type of violation may or may not result in another revocation of the driver’s license.

Driving after Failure to Appear for a DWI

 If you’ve been charged with a DWI, it’s important that you show up for mandatory Court appearances. Failure to appear for a DWI court date after receiving a notice from the DMV that your driver’s license has been suspended is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. If you are convicted, you could face an additional suspension of your driver’s license.

The Penalties for Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License

The penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license are severe in North Carolina. Although most charges are misdemeanor-level offenses, you will still have a permanent criminal record if you are convicted. Having a conviction related to driving on your record could make it difficult for you to be hired or advance in certain professions. Other penalties include the following:

  • Up to 120 days in jail
  • Significant fines as directed by the judge overseeing your case
  • A driver’s license suspension of an additional one year for a first-time offense
  • A driver’s license suspension of an additional two years for a second-time offense
  • A lifetime driver’s license revocation for a third offense

Additionally, your insurance premiums will almost certainly increase significantly, burdening you financially. Specifically, those convicted of driving with a suspended or revoked license can receive eight additional points on their vehicle insurance policy. Under North Carolina’s Safe Driver Incentive Plan, a further eight points could increase insurance premiums up to 220 percent.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in North Carolina

If you’ve received a traffic ticket for driving with a suspended or revoked license, speaking to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible can help significantly. You could face jail time, fines, additional driver’s license suspension, and a significant insurance premium increase if convicted. Don’t hesitate to contact Hancock Law Firm to learn how Joel Hancock can fight for your rights.