Christina Rivenbark & Associates ATTORNEYS AT LAW

The risks of driving on a suspended license in North Carolina

In many ways, motor vehicles have become a necessity of modern life. The average adult likely requires their own vehicle to get to and from work, perform daily chores, such as shopping, and even maintain a healthy social life.

Losing your license can leave you in a precarious position, where you depend on taxis, paid ride apps or public transportation. Unfortunately, none of these systems are completely reliable, leaving you at risk for chronic tardiness and developing a reputation as someone who can't show up on time. That could affect both your social life and your career.

The potential impacts of not having a license may lead some people to break state law by deciding to drive while their license remains suspended. Doing so in North Carolina is against the law and has consequences you likely want to avoid.

Driving on a suspended license is a misdemeanor offense

Choosing to get behind the wheel while you do not have a valid driver's license in North Carolina is a serious misdemeanor crime. The state calls this offense driving while license revoked (DWLR). Anyone who gets caught driving on a suspended or revoked license will face serious consequences for that decision.

Simple DWLR is a Class 3 misdemeanor in North Carolina. The potential penalties include up to 20 days in jail and a fine of $200. However, if your suspension was the result of impaired driving, getting caught driving during your suspension period is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which could result in up to 120 days in jail and a discretionary fine.

There are two other forms of DWLR, including driving without reclaiming your license from the state after a suspension and driving after receiving notice of an impending suspension. There are potential penalties for those decisions as well.

You may have the right to seek a limited license if you need to drive

North Carolina lawmakers understand that the average citizen requires transportation to go about the daily necessities of life. However, there are also reasons that lawmakers have chosen to include license suspension and revocation as potential penalties for certain driving and civil offenses. People can lose their license for simply being unable to pay court fees and fines.

A total loss of one's license could have profound and lasting consequences for the individual who loses their license. Thankfully, it may be possible to secure a restricted or limited license that allows someone to maintain certain driving privileges, such as the right to drive back and forth to work.

It's important to comply with a court-ordered license suspension and take the right steps to regain your license. Failing to do so could lead to a longer suspension and other serious penalties.

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