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License suspensions and revocations: The administrative penalties of a DWI

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | DWI

When you face charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in North Carolina, a conviction can lead to two types of penalties. The first is criminal penalties, which include jail time and fines. The second type is administrative penalties, such as a requirement to install an ignition interlock device in your car and the loss of your driving privileges.

If a court suspends your driving privileges for a DWI offense, it could either impose a suspension or a revocation. What’s the difference between the two, and which one will you face on conviction?

License suspensions

Also known as a “civil license revocation,” a license suspension is a temporary loss of driving privileges. Under North Carolina law, if you’re charged with DUI, the immediate consequence is typically a 30-day civil revocation of your license if you register a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher or if you refuse to take a chemical test. For drivers under 21, any amount of alcohol can result in a suspension.

After the civil revocation period, you may be eligible to have your license reinstated, possibly with conditions such as installing an ignition interlock device.

License revocations

On the other hand, license revocation is the complete termination of your license. This can occur for various reasons, such as accumulating multiple DUI offenses. Your first DWI offense can also lead to a license revocation under certain circumstances.

Subsequent offenses carry more severe penalties, with a second DUI leading to a four-year revocation and a third DUI resulting in permanent revocation.

When does a DWI lead to one or the other?

The severity of the DWI charge plays a significant role in deciding whether you’ll face suspension or revocation. Factors include your BAC level, whether you have prior DWI convictions, and if there was an accident involving injury or death. The presence of aggravating factors (such as reckless driving while drunk, having a minor passenger during the offense, etc.) can also increase the likelihood of a revocation.

If you face a DUI in North Carolina, it’s essential to understand your rights and the legal process. A DWI attorney can help explain the intricacies of your case and your rights under the law. The legal professional can also represent you in court and fight for your desired case outcome.