North Carolina Driver’s License Restrictions for those Convicted of DWI

When the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) restores a person’s North Carolina driver’s license after it has been revoked for DWI the license is restored subject to certain specific conditions for BAC and ignition interlock. (See Do I have to get interlock if I have a DWI? for more info)

First Time DWI in North Carolina

If your license was revoked for impaired driving and this is the first time your license has been restored your license is restored subject to the condition that you not operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 at any time after driving. 

If your license was revoked for DWI under 21, your license is restored subject to the condition that you not operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.00 at any time after driving. 

As part of getting your license back you must agree to submit to a chemical analysis (breath, blood or urine test) at the request of a law enforcement officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that you are operating a motor vehicle in violation of your license restrictions. You must also agree to be transported by the law enforcement officer upon his/her request to the place where a chemical analysis can be administered.  Unfortunately the law says that driving is a privilege, not a right so they can do this sort of stuff post-DWI conviction.

If you drive in violation of license restriction that is the equivalent of operating a motor vehicle without a license.  So if you blow above the 0.04 (or 0.00 depending on your respective driving conditions) you commit the offense of failure to comply with a license restriction which is a Class 3 criminal misdemeanor in North Carolina.  The police must complete an affidavit indicating the restriction was violated and then mail the affidavit to DMV. Upon receipt of a properly executed affidavit the NC DMV must notify you that your driver’s license is revoked for one year.

Ignition Interlock Violation Penalties

In addition to imposing alcohol concentration BAC restrictions the NC DMV must require ignition interlock for drivers whose licenses are restored following a conviction for impaired driving if:

  • You had an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more.
  • You were convicted of a second offense of DWI, which happened within seven years of the offense for which your license was revoked; or
  • You were sentenced to an Aggravated Level One DWI.

An ignition interlock restriction requires the following:

  • You may operate only a vehicle that is equipped with ignition interlock.
  • You must personally activate the ignition interlock system before driving the motor vehicle.  So obviously someone else can’t blow into the ignition interlock for you.
  • You have an alcohol concentration restriction of 0.04 or 0.00 depending on the facts of your case.

If you violate an ignition interlock restriction you commit the offense of driving while license revoked for impaired driving (DWLR).  This is a Class 1 Misdemeanor in North Carolina.  If a magistrate finds probable cause for driving while license revoked based on an ignition interlock violation, the magistrate must notify you that your license is suspended pending the resolution of the case and must require you to surrender you license.  The magistrate must also inform you that you are not entitled to drive until the case is resolved.

Contact a Wake County DWI Lawyer

If you violated a BAC condition or an ignition interlock condition as part of your post-DWI driving privilege please contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel for a free consultation.  Raleigh DWI Lawyer Wiley Nickel handles DWI cases and DMV issues in the Wake County, North Carolina area.  Our office is located in Cary, NC and our office number is 919-585-1486.



Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.