Ignition Interlock: Limited Driving Privileges and DMV Conditional Restoration

After a DWI conviction, NC DMV places certain alcohol concentration restrictions on drivers. In addition, NC DMV also requires an ignition interlock for drivers whose licenses are restored following a conviction for DWI if: 

  • You had an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher; or

  • You were convicted of a second offense of DWI, which happened within seven years of the offense for which your license was revoked; or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

There are several ignition interlock providers in North Carolina. Our clients choose between (1) Smart Start, (2) Monitech and (3) Alcolock. The cost of ignition interlock varies per provider but generally costs about $70-$150 for installation and $75 per month. There are also calibration and removal fees.

Limited Driving Privileges:

Limited Driving Privileges with the Ignition Interlock restriction are issued 45 days post-conviction in cases where the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was 0.15 or greater. Those privileges allow driving Monday - Friday from 6am to 8pm for work purposes. Additional work hours may be permitted outside the “standards” hours with a letter from the driver’s employer. No driving is permitted for “house hold purposes” when the BAC was 0.15 or greater.

DMV Hearings:

Two DWI convictions within 3 years causes a revocation for 4 years. However, DMV allows drivers to request a conditional restoration hearing after 2 years. If conditionally restored, ignition interlock will be required for 3 years. A third or subsequent DWI causes a permanent revocation. DMV allows drivers to request a conditional restoration hearing after 3 years in these circumstances. If conditionally restored, ignition interlock is required for 7 years. Generally, other than the ignition interlock restriction a conditionally restored license allows drivers to drive 24/7.

Tips for Ignition Interlock Success:

  1. Always rinse your mouth with water before starting your car/before each subsequent blow.

  2. Avoid high sugar foods or foods with traces of alcohol. Rinsing well after eating is VERY important. Especially after consuming foods with high sugar.

  3. Avoid using hand sanitizer or other fragrances that contain alcohol in your car

  4. If your job involves using chemicals/materials/tools that may include alcohol, such as a mechanic, consider changing your clothes or washing off well before starting your car.

  5. If you have taken any medications such as cough syrup, or used mouth wash containing alcohol, wait to start your vehicle.

  6. If you blow and fail, rinse your mouth and blow AGAIN. It is VERY important to have a second or third blow to prove it was just a mouth alcohol contamination.

  7. If you blow and fail, log what you ate that day and how you conducted the breath tests. This will be helpful at a potential DMV hearing.

If you have any questions regarding Driving While Impaired, Ignition Interlock, or DMV Hearings, feel free to call our office for a free consultation. We handle DMV hearings in both Central and Eastern North Carolina. Attorneys Kristi Haddock and Melissa Botiglione may be reached at 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.