Driving is a privilege and not a right in North Carolina. You can have your driver’s license in Asheville suspended if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or other traffic violations. This is unfortunate as most people rely on driving for their daily activities. Therefore, a license suspension causes undue hardship.
North Carolina has operative rules when it comes to traffic laws and citations. If you violate the law, your license can be suspended or revoked. The effect of suspension is that your driving privileges are temporarily withdrawn for a specific period. But it may be reinstated once the terms of the suspension are fulfilled.
Fortunately, you can apply for a provisional (hardship) license in North Carolina. This license grants you limited privileges to drive for your essential tasks. However, obtaining this permit can be complicated, so you need a DUI attorney in Asheville to make the application process seamless. This article provides information about hardship licenses and how to obtain one in Asheville, NC.
An Asheville DUI Attorney Explains Provisional (Hardship) License
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the authority to issue, revoke and suspend driver’s licenses in NC. If your license gets suspended, driving in limited circumstances may be authorized.
A provisional hardship license in Asheville provides limited driving privileges in Asheville. It is a court order signed by a Judge. It allows you to operate a vehicle even if your driving privilege is suspended for DWI or other traffic citations.
The license comes from the court and not the DMV. However, the DMV sets rules on issuing the license and its duration. Once the permit is given, you can legally drive with it.
However, you are limited to driving for essential tasks such as:
- Your job
- Emergency medical treatment
- School or college
- Household maintenance
- Religious worship
- Completion of community service required as part of a sentence
- Attendance at court-ordered treatment or assessment, etc.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Hardship License in Asheville, NC?
To obtain the hardship license, you must file a petition with the court and attend a hearing. Do this in the district court of your county of residence. You must also comply with the following requirements:
- Pay a filing fee of $100 for the limited driving privilege.
- Complete an alcohol or substance abuse assessment (typically costs $100 and $10 driving record check fee).
- Payment of a civil revocation fee of $100, paid to the court’s clerk.
- Provide proof of current auto insurance via Form DL-123, obtained from the insurance company.
- Provide documentation of employment or school schedule.
The grant of the license is at the discretion of the Judge. If they approve your request, the judge will issue a court order for limited driving privileges.
When Can I Apply for a Provisional (Hardship) License in Asheville, NC?
The limited privilege license is available to North Carolina drivers with suspended or revoked licenses. However, do not assume that the permit is automatic or granted in every circumstance. Even if you qualify for it, a judge is under no obligation to give you one. The grant of the license is solely at the discretion of the Judge.
The following condition precedent will help you determine if you can apply for one:
If Your License Was Suspended Upon Arrest for DWI
If you are arrested for DWI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, you receive a license suspension. When charged, the magistrate will issue a Civil Revocation of your driving privilege for 30 days. You may get your full driving rights restored at the end of the 30 days.
However, the state may issue a limited driving privilege after the first ten days of the suspension. This hardship license is to last till the 30 days ends. Once the 30 days suspension is over, your limited driving privilege is no longer valid. This is because you are eligible to get your regular license back.
Your License in Asheville Was Suspended Upon Arrest for DWI and Refusal to Take a Breath Test
If you received a license suspension for a DWI arrest and refusal to take a breathalyzer, you are eligible to apply. In this case, the Civil Revocation rule also applies as described above. In addition, the DMV will also impose a one-year suspension of your driving privilege as a consequence of refusing a breath test.
If you are arrested for the refusal, you cannot get the hardship license until six months into the suspension. After that, however, you can contest the suspension at a hearing with the DMV after finalizing your case in court.
You Received a License Suspension for DWI Following a Blood Test
You can apply for a hardship license if your driver’s license is suspended following a blood test. If your blood test shows a BAC level of .08% or higher, your driving permit will be suspended.
The 30 days license suspension takes effect from the date of your blood test result. You can apply for the hardship license ten days after submitting your driving permit to the courthouse.
You Are Convicted of DWI With a Level 3, 4, or 5 Sentence
You can apply for a hardship license if convicted of DWI and given a level 3, 4, or 5 sentences. The DMV will suspend your driver’s license for one year from the date of your conviction. You will be eligible for the limited driving privileges, which cover the entire full year except if your blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds .015%.
In this case, you have to install and drive with an ignition interlock system. There will also be stricter limits on when and where you go. You must also wait atleast 45 days from the date of conviction to apply for the hardship license in Asheville.
Convicted of DWI and Were Under the Age of 21 at the Time of the Offense
If you were convicted of DWI and were under the age of 21 at the time of the offense, you would not qualify for the hardship license in Asheville. In addition, even if you turned 21 by the time of your conviction, you cannot get limited driving privileges.
Let Asheville Criminal Defense Attorneys Help You Apply for a Provisional Hardship License
The hardship license grants you limited driving privileges under certain circumstances. However, not everyone is eligible to apply for it. So even if you meet the criteria, the judge may choose not to grant you one. Therefore, you need a lawyer to navigate the process on your behalf.
If you are charged with DUI, you must protect your legal rights. At Asheville DUI Guy, we can help you apply for your hardship license and build defenses against your DUI charges. Reach out to our Asheville criminal defense lawyers for a free consultation today.