North Carolina Hardship License 2024 – All You Need to Know

Doug Edwards

Driving is an essential part of life for many residents of North Carolina. If you have had your driving privileges revoked as a result of a DWI conviction, you might be able to get some of these privileges back with the help of a hardship license. When you contact a North Carolina hardship license lawyer, they can review the facts of your situation and determine if this is an option for you.

What Is a Hardship License?

Typically, an average DWI charge can result in at least a 30-day license suspension. This time period can go up if you refuse your breathalyzer test, have aggravating factors in your DWI, and more. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you are unable to access alternative forms of transit for going to work, school, and other essential places.

Depending on your situation, a hardship license can make your life easier during your period of license suspension. Also called a limited driving privilege (LDP), if you obtain a hardship license in North Carolina, you are able to drive, even after your driver’s license is suspended for a DWI charge. It can be quite difficult to navigate your daily life without a car in North Carolina, and obtaining your hardship license can be a useful way to give you some autonomy back after your past offense.

It is important to understand that a hardship license does not give you complete driving privileges. The judge will grant you the ability to drive for essential tasks only, such as getting to:

  • Work
  • School
  • Medical treatment
  • Religious activities
  • Court-ordered community service

Your judge will limit how and when you are able to get behind the wheel. For instance, they will typically grant you the ability to drive during normal school or work hours, Monday through Friday, or make your allowances based on the employment schedule that you provide to them.

Who Can Get a Hardship License?

First, you need to recognize that not everyone qualifies for a hardship license. For instance, if you were under the legal drinking age of 21 at the time of your DWI, then you do not have the ability to get limited driving privileges. Your driver’s license will be revoked for one year.

To be eligible for obtaining this license, you need to have had a Level 3, 4, or 5 DWI conviction. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney is the most effective way to determine if you are eligible, as they can review all the facts of your case to see what options are available to you.

How Do You Get a Hardship License in North Carolina?

You cannot apply to get your hardship license in North Carolina until you have been given an official license suspension from the court. In other words, if you have just been arrested for a DWI and you anticipate getting your license suspended, it is still too early to take action.

Instead, you need to get in touch with an experienced DWI defense attorney who can guide you through the legal process of negotiations after a DWI charge. Once you have been sentenced for your DWI, you might find yourself without a license for a month, a year, or more.

Depending on the level of your DWI charge, your lawyer might be able to assist you with applying for limited driving privileges. To do this, you will have to first complete a mandatory substance abuse assessment by state-authorized substance abuse treatment providers or counselors. Your criminal defense lawyer can help connect you with one. You will also need to prove that you have a legitimate need to drive, such as getting to work or school.

Once you have proof that you completed the assessment and the need to drive on a particular schedule, and you have $200 available for the necessary fees, you can apply for your hardship license.

FAQs About North Carolina Hardship License

What Are the Requirements for a Hardship License in North Carolina?

If you want to obtain a hardship license in North Carolina, you will have to:

  • Pay $100 in fees.
  • Pay $100 in court costs.
  • Complete a substance abuse test.
  • Provide proof of car insurance.
  • Provide proof of your work or school schedule.

You also must make sure that you are eligible based on the circumstances of your DWI offense.

How Do I Get a Limited License in NC?

After you are given a license suspension from the court in North Carolina, you can then apply for a limited license. To do this, you will have to provide proof that you have:

  • Completed a substance abuse test
  • Car insurance
  • A schedule for work or school that you need to work around

Additionally, you must pay the relevant fees. Your DWI lawyer can help you with this process after you are sentenced.

What Is the North Carolina Fair Chance Act?

If you live in North Carolina, you might benefit from the state’s Fair Chance Act, which places restrictions on employers in the state from asking about an applicant’s criminal history unless they are deemed qualified to do the job. This means that criminal offenses from your past, such as DWI charges, cannot impact your initial screening stages for a position.

What Are the Hours for Limited Driving Privileges in NC?

The hours that you are allowed to drive with limited driving privileges in North Carolina will depend on your unique work or school schedule. Typically, if you have an average schedule, then you can only drive between 6:00 AM and 8:00 PM, Monday through Friday, during your period of license suspension.

North Carolina Hardship License Lawyer

If you want to explore the possibility of getting a North Carolina hardship license, do not hesitate to reach out to our office here at Edwards Law, PLLC. Doug Edwards has more than ten years of experience standing up for North Carolina residents who have been charged with a variety of misdemeanors and felonies, including DWIs. When you consult with us, we can help you understand your options for getting back on the road. Contact us today to learn more.