If convicted of DWI can I obtain a Limited Driving privilege for work purposes?

Limited Driving Privileges for Gainful Employment

Rightfully, NC Law has made it abundantly clear that drinking and driving is not worth the risk. DWI offenders are faced with potential jail time, probation and cost, insurance hikes starting at 400%, and license revocation for at least one year.

The Good!

NC DWI law makes it mandatory for offenders to obtain an Alcohol Assessment and Counseling in order to qualify for reinstatement of their driver’s license. This sort of legislative detail focuses on the problems with alcoholism and rehabilitation before a valid driver’s license can be reinstated.

NC Sentencing Categories of DWI

NC sorts DWI offenders into 5 categories ranging from levels 1 to 5 (depending on the seriousness of the offense) based upon Grossly, Aggravating, and Mitigating Factors. The lowest or less serious offenses fall into categories 3 through 5, and these offenders are eligible for a limited driving privilege at the discretion of court.

The Bad!

DWI offenders falling into conviction Levels 1 and 2 (the most serious offenses) are NOT eligible for any type of driving privilege for one year after the date of conviction. No exceptions. No eligibility PERIOD.

The Ugly!

For example, Sara a 25 year old single parent works two job as a waitress and receptionist. One day while off from both jobs, Sara decides to have two cups of wine with her friends before picking her 15 year son up from school. (A TERRIBLE DECISION) Sara is charged with DWI at a NC License Checkpoint and registers a .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration. Sara is later convicted of a Level 1 DWI because her son, under the age of 18, was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of offense. Sara automatically loses her license for One year from the date of conviction (the day Sara said, “I Plead Guilty” in court) and she is not eligible for a Limited Driving Privilege to drive back and forth from work.

The Problem!

Sara cannot get to work. She can’t afford public transportation and she’s left with the decision to drive to work illegally, risking a Probation Violation and being charged with Driving While License Revoked (a Class 1 Misdemeanor) or being fired from both jobs.

One Possible Solution!

  • Give the court discretion as to Level 1 and 2 DWI offenders based on the factors surrounding the offense. Certain factors may include:
  • Nature of Job
  • Financial Hardship
  • Dependents
  • Criminal Record
  • Nature of DWI (Fact surrounding the offense)
  • Any aggravating and mitigating factors

When faced with the choice of going to work and DWLR revoked, many choose the latter and end up with court dates on top of court dates. There has to be a better way.

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