A New Kind of DWLR

As of December 1, 2013, there is a new type of driving while license revoked under G.S. Chapter 20.

The Old Law. Most violations of G.S. 20-28(a) committed before December 1, 2013 were punishable as Class 1 misdemeanors. Three exceptions applied. The following types of drivers were punished as though they had been convicted of driving without a license, which, for offenses committed before December 1, 2013, was a Class 2 misdemeanor:  (1) The restoree of a revoked driver’s license who operated a motor vehicle on the highway without the insurance required by law (G.S. 20-28(a)); (2) A driver revoked solely under G.S. 20-16.5 as a result of a civil license revocation arising from an implied consent charge who drove after the minimum revocation period had expired (G.S. 20-28(a1)(1),(2)); and (3) A person who drove while his or her license was revoked for failure to pay child support or to comply with a subpoena issued pursuant to child support or paternity establishment proceedings and who was eligible for reinstatement, but had not applied for that relief (G.S. 20-28(a1)(3)). People subject to the latter two exceptions also were treated for driver’s license and insurance purposes as if they had been convicted of driving without a license under G.S. 20-35.

The New Law. On or after December 1, 2013, a person who (1) drives (2) a motor vehicle (3) on a street or highway (4) while his or her license has been revoked by the State of North Carolina (4) knowing that his or her license is revoked commits a Class 3 misdemeanor. See S.L. 2013-360, Section 18B.14.(f) (amending G.S. 20-28(a)).

If, however, the person’s license revoked for impaired driving, the person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. G.S. 20-28(a). Thus, there now is a new type of driving while license revoked offense in North Carolina. To establish the new Class 1 misdemeanor offense under G.S. 20-28(a), the State must prove the four elements listed above and a fifth element, namely “that the person’s license was originally revoked for an impaired driving revocation.”

The term “impaired driving license revocation” (which differs slightly from the nomenclature in new G.S. 20-28(a)) is defined in G.S. 20-28.2(a) to include revocations under any of the following statutes:

  • G.S. 20-13.2: consuming alcohol or drugs or willful refusal by a driver under age 21 to submit to a chemical analysis;
  • G.S. 20-16(a)(8b): driving while impaired on a military installation;
  • G.S. 20-16.2: refusal to take a chemical test;
  • G.S. 20-16.5: pretrial civil license revocation;
  • G.S. 20-17(a)(2): impaired driving or impaired driving in a commercial motor vehicle;
  • G.S. 20-17(a)(12): transporting an open container of alcohol;
  • G.S. 20-138.5: habitual impaired driving;
  • G.S. 20-16(a)(7): impaired driving while out of state resulting in revocation of North Carolina driver’s license;
  • G.S. 20-17(a)(1): manslaughter or second-degree murder involving impaired driving;
  • G.S. 20-17(a)(3): felony involving use of motor vehicle involving impaired driving;
  • G.S. 20-17(a)(9): felony or misdemeanor death or felony serious injury by vehicle involving impaired driving;
  • G.S. 20-17(a)(11): assault with motor vehicle involving impaired driving.

New G.S. 20-28(a) refers to the person’s license being “originally revoked,” giving rise to the question of whether the State may establish this element in the case of a defendant whose impaired driving revocation has ended, but whose license is currently revoked because of driving that occurred during an impaired driving revocation.  Suppose, for example, that the defendant was convicted of impaired driving in January 2012.  His license was revoked for one year pursuant to G.S. 20-17(a)(2) (an impaired driving license revocation).  In December 2012, before the impaired driving revocation ended, the defendant was charged with driving while license revoked.  The defendant was convicted under G.S. 20-28(a), and his license was revoked in January 2013 for an additional year pursuant G.S. 20-28.1(a). The defendant is again charged with driving while license revoked in December 2013.  Is this offense a Class 1 or Class 3 misdemeanor?  In my view, this is a Class 3 misdemeanor. The defendant’s license is currently (i.e. “originally”) revoked for driving while license revoked, not for impaired driving.

What happened to the three exceptions under the old law? The exceptions mentioned above in connection with the old law remain in place. Now, however, they do not entitled the defendant to lesser criminal punishment as both driving while license revoked and driving without a license both are Class 3 misdemeanors for offenses committed December 1, 2013 or later. See S.L. 2013-360, Section 18B.14(g). A defendant punished pursuant to G.S. 20-28(a1) still receives the added benefit of reduced insurance points and the lack of an additional period of revocation resulting from the conviction. See G.S. 20-28(a1) (providing that a person punished under its provisions must be treated for driver’s license and insurance rating purposes as if he or she had been convicted of driving without a license under G.S. 20-35).

Charging language. Officers who charge a person with the Class 1 misdemeanor variety of driving while license revoked under G.S. 20-28(a) must allege that the person was originally revoked for an impaired driving revocation. The North Carolina Uniform Citation, AOC-CR-500, has accordingly been revised to include a checkbox for this element.

Appointment of Counsel. As John explained here, beginning with offenses committed on or after December 1, 2013, a court may not impose a punishment other than a fine for a Class 3 misdemeanor if the defendant has three or fewer convictions and no other statute authorizes a greater punishment.  G.S. 15A-1340.23(d).  The impact of the new rule in this context is that an indigent defendant with three or fewer prior convictions who is charged with the Class 3 misdemeanor type of driving while license revoked is not eligible for appointed counsel, whereas an indigent defendant charged with the Class 1 misdemeanor variety remains eligible for appointed counsel.

No waiver. No type of driving while license revoked under G.S. 20-28(a) is an offense for which a defendant may waive appearance and trial and plead guilty by submission of a written form and payment of a fine and costs. (The list of traffic offenses committed on or after December 1, 2013 for which court appearance is mandatory is available here. The waiver list for traffic offenses committed on or after December 1, 2013 is available here.)

The Forgotten Charge. Even if the General Assembly had reduced the punishment for all violations of G.S. 20-28(a), a person who drove a motor vehicle on a highway while subject to an impaired driving revocation of which he or she had been notified by DMV still would have committed a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to G.S. 20-28(a2)(1). That provision was enacted in 2006 as part of the Motor Vehicle Driver Protection Act, and, in theory, makes it a bit easier for the State to prove that such a defendant drove while his or her license was revoked. Instead of proving knowledge, the State has only to prove that DMV mailed notice pursuant to G.S. 20-48.

It turns out, however, that defendants seldom are charged under this provision. In 2012, there were 77 charges statewide for violations of G.S. 20-28(a2)(1). In contrast, during that same period, 163,507 charges of driving while license revoked under G.S. 20-28(a) were issued statewide. I don’t know what percentage of people who drive with a revoked license are subject to an impaired driving revocation, but my guess is that it is far greater than the 0.05 percent suggested by this comparison.

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61 comments on “A New Kind of DWLR

  1. My continuing issue with this change is that it isn’t gonna help the State save a lot of money in the long run if we don’t also get rid of the one year revocation for the class 3 DWLR. WIthout appointed counsel, many indigent people (who are generally revoked for FTA’s and Fines on old charges) are gonna get caught in the cycle of DWLR’s because they don’t have assistance clearing up their old driving records. As a result, many people are just going to become lifetime DWLR offenders, and that has to be costly for the state when they inevitably become level 3’s

    • I couldn’t agree more with Brennan. HB615, which would have effected the change he suggests, was introduced earlier this year. It was endorsed by the Conference of District Attorneys and overwhelmingly passed the House, but stalled in committee in the Senate. Instead they decided to do this. HB615 is still a live bill for the short session, having made cross-over this past summer. I hope they’ll take it up and re-consider this move, which will have devastating effects on our court system, not to mention people’s lives.

      • Jeff Nieman has inspired me to continue the effort concerning the expansion of drivers license restoration clinics but I have found that in order for it to be successful, attorneys will have to accompany clients to court. Jeff’s continued dedication and advocacy to fixing this problem gives me hope that DA’s do care….
        YEA JEFF!!!!!!

    • I couldn’t agree with you more! I am currently battling DWLR’s and just got my first DWI. I can’t help but feel like I can’t get out of this DWLR cycle. I have never had a license.

    • that is exactly what i’m going through right now. Trying to clear up old charges from 1997 and 1998. i don’t feel as if i’m ever going to get straightened out. It’s frustrating and very discouraging.

  2. The words “originally” and “currently” are not synonyms. Synonyms for “originally” include: first, initially, formerly, in the beginning, firstly, and at first…
    Synonyms for “currently” include: now, presently, and at this time…
    A plain reading of this statute suggests that if a driver was originally revoked for an alcohol related offense and has never become eligible for reinstatement or been reinstated, even if the revocation was extended because of subsequent non-alcohol related convictions – that driver was “originally revoked for an impaired driving revocation”. Thus, in the example given by Shea – the driver could still be charged with and convicted of a class 1 offense.
    Whether that driver should is a different matter.

  3. Is a person “originally revoked” for an impaired driving offense if they are revoked for more than one thing? For example, if a client is revoked for failing to appear for an NOL from 2008 (an indefinite suspension), and then also revoked indefinitely for a DWI that occurred in 2010, is his DWLR charge in 2014 class 1 or class 3?

  4. What about this scenario? Fred is a habitual DWLR offender that never comes to court, racks up FTAs and lives in a judicial district that simply “voluntarily dismisses with leave” all DWLR FTA just to clear the docket. Fred has never been convicted of any prior offenses and has never been revoked based on an implied consent offense. Fred gets pulled over by Officer Friendly, Officer Friendly looks at his FTA history, and decides to make a physical arrest of Fred due to his inability to come to court. Fred is charged with the new DWLR (Class 3 misdemeanor) and is held in jail by Magistrate Freeman under a 2,000 secured bond. Fred can’t make bail because he doesn’t work and so he sits in jail until his court date. A class 3 misdemeanor can only be punished by a fine, but Fred has already sat in jail for almost a month. Is Fred entitled to a lawyer in this situation? Can the judge legally issue a punishment of time served? Should the judge automatically change his bond to unsecured then deny him a public defender? Can Fred get his license squared away with DMW while sitting in jail?

    This is a terrible law change and will only do more to increase the amount of people cursed to a lifetime of DWLR (there is a reason these people get these charges, they need help from an attorney to fix their mess and most of them do not have the money). For judicial districts that actually seek OFA(s) for DWLR FTAs, will this law change their future actions?

    Is it just me or did the General Assembly attempt to rewrite the entire General Statutes this year? Some judicial districts haven’t yet caught up with the changes from 2006 in the Motor Vehicle Driver Protection Act; I can only imagine the confusion that will ensue in 2014. The District Court circus coming to a town near you.

  5. My question is in 2 parts. In 2008 my son was convicted of a felony DUI in NC and spent 13 months in jail in NC. His license were permanently revoked. Since then he does not drink, let alone drink and drive. He has really fixed his life. He has a lot responsibilities with bills and he owns his own business.

    Having said that, he has to drive in order to take care of his responsibilities and run his business. Since then he has not had any traffic violations, and everyday he is worried he will get caught driving knowing his history.

    A few days he was driving in South Carolina and he was pulled over in a neighborhood not aware the speed limit was 25. They gave him a ticket for for driving 34 in a 25 and arrested him for no drivers license. The DMV in NC did not tell the arresting officer why his license were revoked.
    My question is, can or will the DMV in North Carolina issue a warrant for his arrest for driving in South Carolina? And is there anyway he can every get his license reinstated?

    • Ouch! He must have racked up some charges to get the felony DWI and spend over a year in jail. Then, despite having a revoked license, he still drives anyway, speeds and gets caught. Don’t know what to tell you as there is no easy fix and little hope that his situation will be fixed because of his habitual disregard for the law. You can’t fix this mom.

      • That is the thing isn’t it? Unless you are white with a really great lawyer you may never get out of DWRL hell or move beyond a bad history. Forget DUI unless you have connections with a judge which happens in Iredell CO.,NC because I have seen it with my own eyes.

        My suggestion is to pray and ask God for a miracle because its more likely to come about then the State of North Carolina helping someone move out of a bad situation.

        • In NC in late 83 early 84 the Laws were changed from DUI To DWI. According to then Dem. Gov. Jim Hunt and NC Legislatures these laws were intended to make the Laws more fair. Plea bargaining to END. Nothing But a Lie. Iredell 90 t0 95% conviction Rate. Wake Co.only 39% rate, Cumberland Co. even less, Pamlico, Carteret Co. only 12 to 14%, the document can be seen on my Facebook page, has only 18 out of 100 counties listed. In iredell Co. i have yet to see an officer?’ed, the officer who performed breathe test, or Toxicologist brought into court.
          A friend got 1st offence DWI here in R-dell his Doctor had changed his medication and he believes he had a Reaction from this change, he couldn’t remember anything etc; etc;. they took blood. For 2 damn years he waited, His Well Known Att.here in R-Dell didn’t call Doctor, toxicologist into court or Officer. GUILTY!!!. He could have just went to court and pled GUILTY himself and would already have license back. The DWI LAWS are to PROTECT THE STATES INTEREST IN THE ALCOHOL CARTEL AND THE MILLIONS IT GENERATES. THE STATE NEEDS TO BE FORCED TO MAKE ALL ABC STORES PRIVATE. WHY ARE UNDER AGE KIDS BEING ALLOWED TO SELL ALCOHOL IN BARS OR BAR/RESTAURANTS. THEY ARE TOLD TO SELL ALL THEY CAN TO A PATRON AS LONG AS THEY DON’T GET LOUD AND OUT-OF-HAND, START TROUBLE.

        • Why was it necessary to say white with a great lawyer. I’m not uninformed enough to think racism isn’t still prevalent but we white people are often the victims now-


  6. try this web page, see article #5, I hope it will get you some relief, this is not a very forgiving state, unless you have connections.
    good luck.


  7. Shea –

    A standard NOL is now an infraction, not a class 3 misdemeanor. I cut & pasted 20-35 below. The “(a2)” section is the relevant one. The State can bump a standard NOL up to a class 3 misdemeanor by proving an extra element: that the driver never got a valid driver’s license before the driving for which he was charged. I wonder if judges across the state are entering criminal judgments rather than infractions for standard NOLs…

    § 20-35. Penalties for violating Article; defense to driving without a license.

    (a) Penalty. – Except as otherwise provided in subsection (a1) or (a2) of this section, a violation of this Article is a Class 2 misdemeanor unless a statute in the Article sets a different punishment for the violation. If a statute in this Article sets a different punishment for a violation of the Article, the different punishment applies.

    (a1) The following offenses are Class 3 misdemeanors:

    (1) Failure to obtain a license before driving a motor vehicle, in violation of G.S. 20-7(a).

    (2) Failure to comply with license restrictions, in violation of G.S. 20-7(e).

    (3) Permitting a motor vehicle owned by the person to be operated by an unlicensed person, in violation of G.S. 20-34.

    (a2) A person who does any of the following is responsible for an infraction:

    (1) Fails to carry a valid license while driving a motor vehicle, in violation of G.S. 20-7(a).

    (2) Operates a motor vehicle with an expired license, in violation of G.S. 20-7(f).

    (3) Fails to notify the Division of an address change for a drivers license within 60 days after the change occurs, in violation of G.S. 20-7.1.

    (b) Repealed by Session Laws 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 761, s. 4.

    (c) Defenses. – A person may not be found responsible for failing to carry a regular drivers license if, when tried for that offense, the person produces in court a regular drivers license issued to the person that was valid when the person was charged with the offense. A person may not be found responsible for driving a motor vehicle with an expired drivers license if, when tried for that offense, the person shows all the following:

    (1) That, at the time of the offense, the person had an expired license.

    (2) The person renewed the expired license within 30 days after it expired and now has a drivers license.

    (3) The person could not have been charged with driving without a license if the person had the renewed license when charged with the offense. (1935, c. 52, s. 29; 1991, c. 726, s. 14; 1993, c. 539, s. 324; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 761, s. 4; 2013-360, s. 18B.14(g); 2013-385, s. 4.)

  8. Operating a motor vehicle without a license is a Class 3 misdemeanor (for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2013). Failure to carry a license while operating a motor vehicle or operating a motor vehicle with an expired license is an infraction (again, for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2013).

    • Shea – Operating a motor vehicle without a license is an infraction per 20-35 IF the driver ever in the past had obtained a driver’s license. There is not time limit on when in the past the driver had a license. NOL is a class 3 misdemeanor if the driver never had a license at any time in the past.

  9. I am currently on probation for dwlr. I was caught in 2013 my question is there a possibility I can get my license back if I pay off my probation and fine this year if so would you give me some instructions of what I need to do. I had some outatanding tickets and failure to appear.nothing serious.

  10. Hello,
    Was just curious as to something. I have a friend who was just recently charged with 2 DWLR and 1 DWI in one day. He is also a convicted felon that spent 3 years in jail for an unrelated manner. Is it possible with this record he will get jail time? We have contacted a lawyer and will be getting counsel, but we have heard several stories. Also, he does continue to drive. We have not been able to get him to stop.

  11. I was convicted for DWI on Nov 22 2013 well the 1yr revocation ended on Nov 22 2014 and i was eligible for reinstatement by a hearing at the DMV in NC. Well on Dec 7th 2014 i was driving back from the grocery store and when i pulled into my driveway and got out of my car a police car pulled up in front of my house he got out the car a walked up to me asking me my name when i told him he asked for my DL when i asked what was this about he said he ran my License Plate on my car when i drove by and it came back saying i had a revoked DL. For the record i have completed my all requirements by the NC DMV but just did not have the money to pay for them to be reinstated in which i had planned to do in Jan. So now i have to go to court on a DWLR and i wonder if the DMV is going to drop the hammer on me or if i will have to go to jail bc of this? I have insurance but have not had my DL reinstated. If anyone has any advice i would be grateful to he it.

    • I have the exact same scenario. … what was your out come??

  12. Also i meant to ask what the MAX jail time for DWLR in NC i have never been convicted of it?

    • Probation, 120 days in jail if you revoke that

      • How much is the bond

  13. My question is similar to Jay. I actually went through the hearing process and the DMV sent me a letter that stated that my license was reinstated oct 6th. In order to actual receive my license I would have to wait on the review from Raleigh and get the ontetlock device. Well on oct. 10th my sons daycare called for me to come and pick my son up due to his very uncontrollable behavior. On the way I got stopped for speeding because due to my speedometer quit working and was charged with dwlr non impaired revocation. Is this a class 1 or class 3 misdemeanor since my license was reinstated? One more note, the DMV misplaced the file from the hearing officer and it took them over 2 months to finally review my case. Eventually I did obtain a license but this dwlr is hanging over my head. So again is this a class 1 or class 3 misdemeanor?

  14. Thank you for this site. I hope more lawyers help the public decipher the law and help. It’s frustrating to understand. I saw a judge today give a man a choice between serving 5 days in jail or 12 months unsupervised probation for a 1st time marjuana offense. It was less than a half ounce. No priors. Shouldn’t he just got a fine ?
    More pro bono help is needed for the public 🙂

  15. I was driving a car that was not mine. I barrowed it from a friend. I was pulled over for no license but also because supposely the plate was revoked. She never told me about that problem. Can i still be charged and pay fine for it?

    • Yes you can. When you drive a car, whether it’s yours or belongs to someone else, you are responsible for it, including whether the plates are valid, whether it has insurance, whether the lights work, etc.

      The lesson is “Be careful when borrowing a car.”

  16. I have a client that had 3 DWLR charges while his license was suspended. However, I had all the FTA’s struck and had all the DWLR charges dismissed. He has now received a notice from the DMV that his privileges will be suspended for violating 20-28.1. I read the statute to say “Conviction” of a moving violation while suspended. Do these dismissals still count as convictions?

  17. what is bad about the whole thing is i have never had a dwi and i have done 11 and a half months in prison for dwlr. i lost my children and my fiance because of a long prison term for driving after losing my license for points originally. its about tine they saw the crap in that. i know people who did less time for felony possesion of a schedual two. who is going to give me back what i lost. no one

  18. This is my charge: (T)DWLR NOT IMPAIRED REV

    My court date is this Wed 10/28 and I want to know what I am facing. I just read a comment above from a person who had to serve more than 11 months in jail for driving with a revoked license. Is jail time a possibilty? Also, I haven’t obtained legal services so I’ll be going to court alone. Is there a public defender who can help me?

    Please help if you can. Thank you

    • Get a lawyer I got a DUI .08 in 7/2006 then plead guilty in Feb 2008 then got a DWLR then got my DL back in 2011. Then in 2014 got a seat belt ticket but didn’t have money to pay it got busted driving for DWLR.but got my DL back before I went to court but the suspended my DL for 2years cause my 1St DWLR was from a dui suspension. But my second should of been a DWLS not DWLR.

    • Brandy you can serve jail time for dwlr. If this is your first time going to court on this charge this will be your first appearance and thats where you have a right to obtain counsel, get a court appointed lawyer or waive your right to counsel which in my opinion is not the smartest of the three. I go to court in the morning for dwlr..i have never had a dwi, or dui, but i will more than likely go to jail. If you cant afford an attorney they will give you a court appointed one if you qualify. I wouldn’t go without counsel though.

      • Hey I’m going thru the same thing what happen to u in court? Sumbody told me it was mandatory 30 days in jail my court date is Nov 30th

  19. Long story short is that NC laws are draconian in comparison to most other states. NC wants to make sure they ruin your life for making a mistake. You are punished for “what might have happened” instead of what happened. NC 4 year suspension of license for DUI, in SC it is only 1 year for same level of offense.

  20. Don’t we have a constitutionally protected right to pursue life, liberty and happiness? How can a human being possibly do this without driving a car? I can’t work without driving, I can’t take my kids to the store and buy food, I can’t pursue any kind of real life without driving. I live in a very small town, no public transit, no one to rely on for transportation. I feel I don’t have my constitutionally protected rights and I need an attorney with integrity to help me fight against this whole driver license requirement as it is a clear violation of our U.S. Constitution.

  21. I’m tired of repeat offenders! They should all be put in prison as habitual offenders if they have 3 or more DWLR! If you can’t follow simple traffic laws and state DMV laws you all are no better than the common criminall!!
    I hear excuse after excuse in court ” I need to provide for my family ” well I hope your teaching your children to follow rules because their parent(s) sure set a horrible example!!! I wish I could be judge for the day!!!

    • Well you sound like an outstanding law abiding nerd! You ever made a mistake? Have you ever made a mistake that continually followed you never matter what kind of person you tried to be. I have never been in trouble with the law myself but I know people that have. I know people who have changed their life and still continue to be kicked over and over again by the court system. That court system doesn’t care about you, me, or anybody else it only cares about the all mighty dollar. Since you think that a person driving a car is just as bad as the drug dealers and other criminals just shows your stupidity. The law doesn’t go after real criminals they go after people who are trying to work and take care of their families by feeling their pockets full of money off of traffic violations, because lets be honest the police are just as scared to go up in the hood and mess with the drug dealers after dark as anybody else is. You want to get up here calling people common criminals over traffic violations but you didn’t share your name you just call yourself someone important well everyone is important to someone and everyone has a story.

      • Drug users and dealers are no more a criminal than one with DWLR, if they were the violent crazed lunatics the very same legal system has skillfully used propaganda to cast them as, these courts would be in flames, no the prisons want them simply because they are controllable and docile. The system is about slave labor (as made legal under the 13th amendment, slavery and forced servitude are prohibited EXCEPT as a punishment for a crime wherein a person is duly convicted) and money for the state. No VICTIM No CRIME is how it should be…

    • I guess you’ll be casting the first stone then.

    • Someone important has obviously been handed everything in life

    • And obviously, that’s why someone that’s obviously not important is not judge for a day

    • I don’t know who you think you are, but you your comment was heartless. You need to be in my, or anyone else’s shoes who has had to struggle against the whole judicial system their whole life because they made a mistake. Unfortunately in North Carolina, simple “mistakes” can snowball until the person find themselves unable to live their life AT ALL because if they are stranded at their home unable to even drive to the store. Try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. NOBODY is perfect. EVERYBODY makes mistakes, EVEN YOU. YOU just haven’t made YOUR mistakes in the same category.

    • Your unimportant how Dare you put these people down for a mistake like this??? You get caught in the court system because let’s says you get a DWI and barely blew over .08!! So you go to court they suspend your license for a year but small town people there are no buses so your only way to provide for your kids is to drive. They now have a law about having to have a license for driving a scooter. Well that’s how a lot of people got to work and stayed out of trouble during the year they couldn’t drive but now you can’t do that either so you have a single parent no one to help them and they have mouth to feed. They have to have a roof over there kids head and if they don’t there kids will be taken away. So what do you do?? You have 2 choices drive to go to a JOB and make money to support your children or don’t go to WORK and steal from someone to feed your kids. You say they should lock all these people up. What kind of person are you. This could all happen to you tomorrow MR. IMPORTANT!!!! You could leave work go with friends to get a few drinks after work and wait a few hours before driving and you get pulled over for a light out on your car. They smell alcohol and you blow .09 on breath alyzer. But you felt just fine to drive didn’t feel like you were buzzed nothing well how are you gonna get to work?? How are you going to like it when they print your name in the newspaper and destroy your life telling everyone what you did making it look worse then it is. So they suspend your license and you have to get to work so you drive just one time because one time won’t hurt right? Well you get pulled for going 5 over the speed limit boom busted from driving without a license so you have to go back to court and your license was already suspended. There you go you are now caught in that circle of what you call criminals and now your reputation has gone down the drain, you have lost family friends and your job. You have to eat right??? That’s what you call the circle because now the cops in that town know you so everything you do they will be watching and some things you might not even know is illegal is and there gonna follow you until you do something. Its hard to get out of this circular court stuff. Its hard to get out of the court systems and stay out. So before you down anyone on this site remember you could be next and a lot of people think there to good for this stuff to happen to them. All it takes is one mistake to destroy everything you ever worked for.

  22. I have a friend that has 1 DWI…..NEVER EVER went back for his license……As time went on, he then received 2 DUI, still NO license. He has Completed & Paid EVERYTHING that the State of NC told him to do. Now ALL of this has been OVER 20 years ago. He recently went to try & get his license back, but NOW they are telling him, that he has to put a Machine on his car for 7 years & Pay the Monthly fee for the next 7 years. Well first off, he doesn’t own a car due to NO license. I am or was willing to let him use my car so he can get to & from….but NC says if he uses MY car, the machine would still have to be Installed & I Couldn’t /Shouldn’t drive MY OWN car. Is there ANY information as to what he can do. Thanks for Reading/Commenting!!!!

  23. I just went to renew my Texas DL and found out I had a nearly 30 year old warrant for FTA. I am totally in the dark on this one. Being disabled and unable to hire an attorney I am at a complete and total loss as to what I can do to remedy this situation. From the information I could get from the NC-DMV this all stems from a traffic citation issued in 1986-87. I honestly don’t remember and it seems like I would have been served with the warrant while I was still living in North Carolina. Since that time I have held a California DL and a Texas DL renewed at least once. Nothing ever came up before and now I have this mess. I read that a warrant for an FTA can be struck and the arrest warrant be dropped but I have no clue as how to go about doing this or getting it done. With the little money I get each month I’d need a Pro Bono attorney or a Public Defender that could represent me. I just do not know what to do. My health is bad, I’m on a lot of medication and the thought of jail terrifies me. Help.

    • Patrick, you can do whats called a recall the ticket and dispose of it 99% of the time that old its a dismissal. Just be sure to make sure the judge strokes the fta on disposal. You could hire an attorney to strike the fta and any associated fees. Its an easy fix. Do it all the time for people in your situation.

  24. I have never had a north Carolina drivers license, a ticket or anything, I got pulled and got a ticket for dwlr. How is that possible when never having a license or a driving record please help!

  25. I was convicted of my first and only DUI in 2008. My license was revoked at the time for speeding tickets and FTAs from 7-8 years prior. Long story short, NC revoked my license for two years for the one DUI, making me eligible for reinstatement under the DUI charge in June of 2010. Due to the FTAs (which at the time I was running around the state paying off, many times having to call the clerk of court in various counties with receipt/invoice numbers many months after paying them due to the fact that they do not go through the trouble of recording compliance that they do noncompliance, it would seem) I could not get my license reinstated. I was ticketed for another DWLR in 2012, and went to court, plead guilty and paid the fines. I went back to college and completed my degree in 2015, went around and paid off/showed proof of payment/compliance on the charges stemming from 2000-2001 that August and got my license reinstated, registered my vehicle and purchased insurance only to be revoked 2 weeks later for “third moving violation while revoked for DUI” (the 2012 DWLR and 2 charges from 2000-2001 that I had paid off in 2015 in order to reinstate my DL). Now they won’t even hear my case for reinstatement until 2018. I went to an attorney with the DMV letter and she told me that it was BS because my license was not revoked for DUI at the time and that I had “certainly done (my) time for the one DUI”, and that she could get my license back. When I went in to pay her, her paralegal gave me the runaround saying that they MAY be able to get my license reinstated, and I told her that I would rather talk to the attorney again before retaining her services. The attorney in question never called me back.

    I did my time, did my best to comply with these old charges and paid the state a few thousand in fines in doing so. Went back to school and secured employment before graduation. I need my license to work and live—very few cities in NC are known for their outstanding public transportation, and mine is not one of them. I got a DWLR yesterday—no arrest, I had valud registration and insurance—and the trooper set the court date in infraction (walk-through) court 2 months down the road in order to “give me time to work it all out”. Is there any way that I could get it set so that I could appear before a judge and not a magistrate, plea my case before the judge and try to get my DL reinstated that way? I just don’t get why they want to punish me after I did it the hard way and paid them off to get my DL back in the first place.

  26. […] laws have changed recently regarding charges as well. The charges for DWLR in North Carolina depend partially on the […]

  27. I moved in with a girlfriend almost 4 years ago, I have been lazy with changing my drivers license address. Wake county sheriff came to the door attempting to serve papers to my girlfriend and I did not accept them telling him I did not officially live here because I showed him my address. Needless to say he came back a week later and I answered the door again. He was suspicious and asked if I was sure I did not live here. I told him 90% of the time but he still could not give me the papers because of that fact. I think the officer may be trying to pursue a failure to change license on me as of yesterday but today I updated my license to my current address as it gave me a reason to do so. Being that no charges have been filed yet, am I in the clear? I did not lie to an FBI agent and I was not under oath when he inquired about my residence. I am thinking I may have escaped this but not sure how things will go. Can anyone provide some insight? Technically I am legal now in the system even though my new license has not been mailed to me yet.

  28. My Question is what can a person do to get out of the DWLR cycle. My wife got two DUIs in a week, drugs pills. She has never had a drivers license in North Carolina, so I guess she really can be driving on a revoked as she never had a license.
    But I want her to be legal and have no idea as to what she can do to get a license even if it is limited.

  29. I am from Puerto Rico on a business trip and got involved in an accident and the officer fined me for “operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway without being licensed as a driver by the division of motor vehicles of North Carolina (g.s. 20-7(A))”. I am leaving prior to the court date.
    Can I get some assistance on how to proceed to get the fine removed? I read through the 20-7 and there is nothing stating that my drivers license is not valid.

    I want to point the fact Puerto Rico is a common-wealth/territory of the U.S. and that means among other things that I can travel from P.R. to anywhere in the United States with only my drivers license. So, why is my drivers license not valid in the state of North Carolina if that is truly the case?

  30. I just got a 3 misdemeanor for driving without a license in Randolph county. I would like to know what are my chances of going to jail
    I’m 17 years old and I will turn 18 next year and I don’t have a license at all.

  31. I was charged with a DUI in March of 2015 with an alcohol analysis refusal to boot. I sucked it up, paid for cabs, paid for rides, retained an attorney, and complied with ALL court mandates…. for a charge I was actually innocent of committing. I went one year for breathalyzer refusal and one year for being convicted without a license. Substance abuse, community service, court costs, fines, attorney fees, property damage judgement, probation, etc were all paid on time. I had a work permit to drive during the second year and was stopped at a random license check at 8:15 p.m. on my way to do my laundry. I should’ve been paying attention to the time. Again, I retained a lawyer to handle the matter. My license was, very substantially, paid to be reinstated. I made a mistake, got a DWLR Impaired Driving, I paid my dues, and now it’s been almost a year since reinstatement and I have a court date that is almost exactly 365 days out from reinstatement that could potentially void all of my previous efforts to be law abiding and pay for the ramifications of a crime I was innocent of to start with. I lack confidence in my attorney and his office will never give me the call back the receptionist says they will make. Is it possible to have this charge tossed based on proven efforts, hardships, and current reinstatement status? I’ve lost about $13000 in this matter due to a crooked county court, a state government’s two blind eyes , and a rookie trooper’s “admissable” lying testimony. Advice, if any, would be appreciated.

    • Sorry to say, looks like you are screwed.

  32. My fiancé has her license revoked for a plea for a DWI about 4 years ago, Since then she has racked up 4 more DWILR one in which there was a injury to a person. She was on probation at the time of each DWILR. what are the chances that she will get charged with a habitual..DWI charge now.. She was on a 4-7 year suspended sentence, on probation…

  33. how about this. i have never applied for a drivers licence being as 20-7a actually states i dont have to then further explains exactly who is required to have a drivers license. i get pulled over because they simply see me dwb ( driving while black) and run my plate, they walk up and say are you the registered owner i say yes what did i do sir, you dont have a license, i say no i dont i never applied to trade my free right for a regulated restriction, he says where are you going i say work he says wheres is that i say right here you just pulled me over in my office parking lot. he says i be right back, 20 minutes later heres your ticket your suspended, i said what im not suspended i never ever had one at all and this is why yall profile stop me dont even pretend a reason to search just heres your ticket like for what. why, he said just get a license, i said why make me spend money and why force me under agreement. im picking a jury trial im tired of paying for this bs. and im basing my argument on 20-7a and 20-28 only and will not let them deviate my focus on legality

  34. I am dealing with a several dwlr. My question is I do not live in the bus route I am taking care of my 90 year old grandmother getting her to the doctor getting her medicine getting her food and while I’m not doing that I’m trying to get to work. So if someone can please answer this question for me that would be awesome. How am I supposed to do all these things without a driver’s license I’m 42 years old and lost them when I was 23? of course I have been caught many of times since then but should I not qualify for a hardship license or Cinderella license as it’s called?

  35. What is the percentage rate of the state giving your licences back after you have a hearing on giving your licences back for DWLR