How Can I Get My Driving Privileges Back After a DWI?

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Do I have to perform the field sobriety tests when I’m pulled over for DWI in NC?”

Driving while impaired, DWI, is a serious charge. If you are convicted, you will have some penalties, including the loss of your driving privileges for a period of time. If you are unable to drive, you will likely face many hardships in your life. You will have trouble getting to and from work, so your livelihood might be impacted. It will be difficult to get to doctor’s appointments and driving to stores. You will not be able to drive your children to school. There are some instances that might allow you limited driving privileges.


What are Limited Driving Privileges?

Driving is a privilege and not an automatic right. If you are found guilty of DWI or some other type of serious offense, you lose your right to drive, usually for a period of time. Limited driving privileges allow you to drive in a limited capacity even though your license was suspended. Sometimes called a hardship license, limited driving privileges give you the legal ability to drive for specific reasons and at certain times. For example, someone might be granted limited driving privileges to drive to and from their job location and only at certain times of the day.



Temporary Driving Privileges

If you are charged with DWI or other similar offense, your license is immediately suspended, and you are not allowed to drive until the case is resolved. If you qualify, you may be eligible for restricted driving privileges after 10 days. To qualify, you must not have had a prior DWI conviction in the last seven years or have any other pending DWI cases and must pay the current fee.


You will also need to show proof of auto insurance and complete a substance abuse assessment. However, this option allows you to drive only for 30 days. At the end of that time, you will need to pay a reinstatement fee. It is important to note that if you are later convicted of DWI, your license will be suspended, and you will need to go through a different process to be able to drive.


Limited Driving Privileges After a DWI Conviction

If you are convicted of DWI, it means that you were found guilty. You will face a driver’s license suspension or revocation based on the conviction. Although you were convicted, you might still be able to seek a limited license. You will need to fulfill all of the same requirements as you would for a temporary license, as well as any requirements specific to the conviction. For example, you may need to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. It is important to note that in some situations, a limited license is not allowed, and in some cases, there is a waiting period of at least six months to request limited driving privileges. Keep in mind that not all requests for limited driving privileges are granted.


If you are facing DWI charges, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. Please contact us today to get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.






The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.



Increasing Alcohol Ignition Interlock Use | Transportation Safety | Injury Center | CDC

driving under the influence (DUI) | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (


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