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How to Reinstate a Suspended Driver License in North Carolina

Motorists receive a suspended drivers license in North Carolina if they drive dangerously, carelessly or negligently. However, many residents may reinstate drivers license credentials without needing to apply for a new driving credential. In addition to receiving a drivers license suspension, the state may revoke driving privileges if motorists commit more serious violations or if they are habitual offenders. When reinstating drivers license credentials after a revocation, residents may require a hearing. To learn more about the North Carolina drivers license reinstatement process, review the information below.

Why did I receive a drivers license suspension in North Carolina?

If motorists receive a suspended drivers license, then they cannot operate a motor vehicle for a temporary period of time. In most cases, motorists can complete the drivers license restoration process once they meet the specific terms of their suspension. If motorists receive a revoked drivers license in NC, however, they receive a total termination of their driving privileges. With a drivers license revocation, residents cannot reinstate their driving credentials unless they meet the eligibility requirements to do so. In most cases, drivers receive a driver license suspension or revocation for reasons such as the following:

  • Driving while impaired by drugs and/or alcohol
  • Refusing a chemical analysis
  • Failure to appear in court
  • Speeding by more than 15 mph in areas with speed limits over 55 mph
  • Reckless driving
  • Accumulating 12 or more traffic points in three years
  • Accumulating eight or more traffic points in the three years following a license reinstatement
  • Violating an ignition interlock restriction

Penalties of Driving with a Suspended License in North Carolina

If motorists drive with a suspended license in NC, the state may extend their driving license suspension or revocation by one or two years (for first or second offenses) or indefinitely for third or subsequent violations. If citizens drive with a license suspension and receive a conviction for a moving violation, they may receive an additional suspension or revocation for that offense. Residents may have multiple drivers license suspensions on their driving records at one time. However, eligible residents may obtain a provisional drivers license if they wish to receive limited driving privileges during their suspension period.

How to Reinstate Drivers License in North Carolina

The specific driver license reinstatement process varies depending on whether motorists need to reinstate a suspension or revocation. Generally, motorists must apply for drivers license restoration in person if they need to remove a revocation from their driving record, as motorists cannot reinstate a revoked driving license online or by mail. To reinstate a driver license suspension (rather than a revocation), motorists can generally submit all restoration fees by mail. However, the specific terms of the NC drivers license suspension may also vary. In some cases, residents with a suspended drivers license may need to enroll in a driver improvement clinic, complete a substance abuse assessment, install a vehicle ignition interlock device or attend a hearing before they may complete the reinstatement process. For this reason, motorists must check drivers license suspension terms before attempting to reinstate their license. To learn more about the NC driving license restoration process, review the sections below.

Reinstating a Drivers License in Person

After meeting the specific terms of the North Carolina driving license suspension, motorists may restore their driving privileges through the Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). To reinstate a drivers license after receiving a revocation, residents must visit a Driver License Office to pay all applicable restoration fees in person. When reinstating drivers license credentials in person, in addition to paying a restoration fee, drivers must furnish a service fee if they did not surrender their license to the NCDMV at the beginning of their suspension period. If reinstating a driving license after receiving a DUI conviction, applicants must also pay a DWI reinstatement fee. Furthermore, applicants with a suspended drivers license must submit the following information when reinstating their driving privileges in person:

  • Proof of identity (such as a current driver license or two other forms of identification)
  • Proof of automobile insurance, if applicable
  • Payment for all applicable drivers license restoration fees
  • Application for a new driver license, if applicable

Note: If motorists with a revoked drivers license in NC need to reapply for a driving credential, they may need to take all required licensing tests as part of the reinstatement process.

Reinstating a Driving License by Mail

In many cases, motorists may apply for drivers license reinstatement by mail if they do not need to reapply for a North Carolina driving credential. When reinstating a drivers license by mail, applicants must provide payment for all applicable fees, including a restoration fee, service fee and/or DWI reinstatement fee, if necessary. If eligible to pay NC drivers license restoration fees by mail, applicants may send payment to the following address:

NCDMV Fiscal Unit
P.O. Box 29615
Raleigh, NC 27626-0615

Can I operate a vehicle with a drivers license suspension?

Motorists cannot drive with a suspended license in North Carolinaunless the court issues them a limited driving credential. With a provisional drivers license (or a limited driving permit), motorists may only operate a vehicle when driving to and from work, school or a court-ordered substance abuse facility. Furthermore, applicants must pay a limited driving privilege fee in addition to all other applicable fees. However, motorists cannot drive with a license suspension until they meet the terms of their specific conviction. After receiving a DWI for the first time, for instance, motorists must wait at least 45 days before they may apply for limited driving privileges. If residents get a driver license suspension after receiving a DWI for the fourth time, they cannot apply for limited privileges for at least 10 years.

After a North Carolina drivers license suspension, how can I get limited driving privileges?

If motorists with a suspended drivers license wish to obtain limited driving privileges, they must first meet the specific terms of their conviction and contact the NCDMV to determine whether they are eligible to drive a vehicle. If you have a driving license suspension in NC and wish to obtain limited driving privileges, contact the NCDMV to find out if you are eligible to do so.

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