The Thirty-Day Civil Revocation and the Pretrial Limited Driving
Privilege Date: March 26, 2020 – Updated October 27, 2021
• What is a thirty-day civil revocation?
• What is a Pretrial Limited Driving Privilege?
• How do I obtain a Pretrial Limited Driving Privilege in NC?
Relevant Statute: North Carolina General Statute § 20-16.5
When the Civil Revocation Applies
In North Carolina, thirty-day civil revocation occurs most frequently when a law enforcement officer charges a person with the offense of Driving While Impaired (DWI), and when the person has a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) automatically revokes a driver’s license for thirty days as a result of the civil revocation. Civil revocations also can occur when the person is charged with an offense similar to DWI, such as driving after consuming alcohol while under twenty-one years of age. These offenses are called implied consent offenses.
The civil revocation also can apply in cases when the officer alleges that the person charged with an implied consent offense refused to submit to a breath or a blood test. In other words, a civil revocation occurs when a person is charged with an implied consent offense, like DWI, and when the person either refuses to take a breath or blood test or the person has a BAC of 0.08 or greater.
The Scope of the Privilege
During the first ten days of the thirty-day civil revocation, the defendant cannot drive at all. From the tenth day of the revocation to the thirtieth day, the Defendant is eligible for a Pretrial Limited Driving Privilege. This privilege allows the Defendant to drive whenever needed for work and school purposes. It also allows the defendant to drive for household purposes Monday through Friday during the hours of 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. We call these hours standard working hours. Household purposes cover transportation that is necessary to maintain one’s home and life. I most commonly give my clients examples of going to the bank, the doctor, the grocery store, and childcare.
The Requirement and the Process for Obtaining a Privilege
To obtain the Pretrial Limited Driving Privilege in NC, most defendants will find it necessary to seek the advice of an experienced DWI defense attorney. The Defendant must complete a substance abuse assessment prior to applying for the pretrial privilege. The Defendant also must obtain a copy of his or her driving record, produce proof of insurance, and provide documentation relating to hours of employment if the defendant works outside of the standard working hours described above. The next steps require filing a petition requesting the privilege, preparing the details of the privilege, and having a judge sign the privilege. Preparing the petition and the privilege and obtaining the judge’s signature are tasks that generally are reserved for attorneys to complete. Finally, prior to obtaining the official signed and sealed privilege, the Defendant must pay a $100 fee to the court.
How to Get Your License Back
After thirty days of the civil revocation, the defendant can pay $100 at the Clerk of Court to lift the civil revocation and obtain his or her full license again. The Clerk will return the physical license upon payment, and the DMV will officially lift the suspension shortly thereafter. The defendant would only lose his or her license again as a result of the DWI case if he or she were convicted.
In summary, a civil revocation results when a person is charged with a DWI-related offense and when that person has a BAC of 0.08 or higher or refuses to take a breath or blood test. The defendant cannot drive during the first ten days of the revocation but then can obtain a limited driving privilege in NC for the next twenty days. On the thirtieth day, the Defendant can reinstate and retrieve his or her full license. Please contact my office if you are dealing with a civil revocation and you either need advice or assistance obtaining a Pretrial Limited Driving Privilege in NC.