How to Get Your License Back after a DUI/DWI Charge

When you are charged with DUI/DWI in North Carolina, one of the first consequences is that your driving privileges are suspended. At this point, you need to talk to an experienced Asheville DUI lawyer to start fighting the charges and also start the process of getting your license back.

As you will learn here, this is a long and complex process, so the sooner you hire an attorney to handle your case, the better.

How Long Will Your License Be Suspended?

Our state has very harsh laws for offenses involving driving under the influence. They are reflected not only in the criminal and administrative sentences but also in the length of time you won’t be able to drive after being charged.

Thus, the license suspensions for driving while impaired are:

  • 1 year for the first offense
  • 1 year for refusing to take a Breathalyzer and/or blood test
  • 4 years for the second offense
  • Permanent for third and subsequent offenses.

In Some Cases, You May Obtain a Limited License

Your lawyer may help you obtain limited driving privileges before your license is fully reinstated. This is possible in the following situations:

  • You face a 1-year license suspension for refusal to submit to testing but do not have a DUI/DWI conviction.
  • You had no prior DUI/DWI conviction during the last seven years.
  • You are charged with Level 3, 4, or 5 DWI.

If the judge grants this petition, you will have the right to drive between specific locations, usually your home and:

  • Your place of work
  • School
  • Medical facilities
  • Church.

Also, your driving privileges will be allowed only between dawn and dusk.

Conditions for Getting Your License Reinstated after DUI/DWI Charges

Your Asheville DUI attorney will explain to you the specific conditions for getting your license back after being charged with driving while impaired. They usually involve:

1. Completing a Substance Use Assessment

You will have to undergo a DWI substance use assessment, which aims to identify the extent of the substance use and how much it influences your daily activities, including driving.

This assessment is in the form of an interview its outcome can be:

  • Getting the certificate of completion if your alcohol use is not considered habitual
  • Having to undergo an alcohol and drug education course
  • Having to undergo a substance treatment program.

The certificate of completion is the document required to have your driving privileges reinstated.

2. Alcohol Concentration Restriction

Once your driver’s license is restored, you must obey new rules regarding the maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Here are the specific restrictions:

0.00 BAC:

  • For 3 years if you had a prior DWI conviction within the last three years
  • For 7 years if you had two prior DWI convictions, one of which during the last five years
  • For 7 years if you were charged with aggravated Level 1 DWI and had your license reinstated one or more times in the past.


Getting license restored after a DUI

0.04 BAC:

  • For 3 years for the first DWI
  • For 7 years if you were charged with aggravated Level 1 DWI and this is your first request for license restoration.

3. Ignition Interlock Device

You may obtain your driver’s license back on condition of installing an ignition interlock device on your car. You will be responsible for paying:

  • The price of the device
  • The installation cost
  • Ongoing maintenance and calibration of the device.

You will be obliged to use the device for:

  • 1 year if your BAC was 0.15 or more when you were charged
  • 3 years if you had a prior DWI conviction in the last 7 years
  • 7 years if you were charged with aggravated level 1 DWI.

4. Paying License Restoration Fees

When you are eligible to have your driver’s license reinstated, you will have to pay the following fees to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV):

  • $140.25 reinstatement fee
  • $70 restoration fee
  • $50 service fee.

Applying for Conditional License Restoration after Permanent Revocation

An experienced Asheville DUI attorney may help you get your driving privileges back even after your license was permanently revoked. There are two specific scenarios in this situation:

Restoration of License after 2 Years

You may apply for the reinstatement of your license two years after it was revoked if you meet all these conditions during this period of time:

  • You have not been convicted of any offense related to motor vehicles, alcohol, or drugs
  • You are not an excessive user of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications.
  • You are not illegally used any controlled substance.
  • You have not consumed alcohol for 12 months before applying for reinstatement, as proven by a continuous alcohol monitoring device.

Restoration of License after 3 Years

Three years after the permanent revocation of your license, you may petition to have it reinstated if, for this period:

  • You have not been convicted of any motor vehicle, alcohol, or drug offense
  • You are not an excessive user of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications
  • You are not illegally using any controlled substance.

An Experienced Asheville DUI Lawyer Can Help You Get Your License Back!

The process of getting your driver’s license reinstated is long and complex. Any mistake in this process can render it futile. Thus, you should talk to an experienced Asheville DUI lawyer and receive constant guidance during this period.

You can understand your legal options during a free case review with us, so call us at 828-759-5556!

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