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No Additional Suspension for Certain Driving While License Revoked Convictions

By:  D. Landon White, Criminal Defense Attorney

Recent legislation creates a new classification of driving while license revoked (“DWLR”) charge that does not result in additional driver license suspension when convicted.  Effective December 1, 2015, there are four different variations of DWLR charges in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-28.  Prior to the amendment to the statute a conviction for DWLR or a conviction for a moving violation during a period of revocation would cause an additional suspension in most circumstances.  Suspensions ranged from a minimum of 1 year up a permanent suspension. Two of the four variations of the DWLR charges in the amended statute will not result in additional suspension of driving privileges.  Also, under the new legislation, a no operator’s license charge in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-7(a) under certain circumstances will not count as a moving violation, therefore not triggering an additional suspension.

Driving While License Revoked, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-28(a).  This is the generic form of a DWLR charge and is a class 3 misdemeanor.  Under the new statute, a conviction for this subsection does not cause additional driver license suspension.

Driving While License Revoked for Impaired Driving, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-28(a1).  This form of DWLR is a carryover from the existing N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-28, now with its own subsection.  As evident from the title, this DWLR applies when the revocation stems from a driving while impaired (“DWI”) conviction.  This is still a class 1 misdemeanor and still carries a mandatory driver license suspension.

Driving Without Reclaiming License, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-28(a2).  This is also a carryover from the existing statute.  When one is charged with DWI and registers an alcohol concentration of .08 or more, their driver license is subject to an immediate revocation for 30 or 45 days.  This is called a civil license revocation.  One also faces a civil revocation when charged with driving after consuming being less than 21 and registering any alcohol concentration.  If the civil revocation period has lapsed and the driver license has not been reclaimed, one can be charged under this subsection if caught driving.  This is a class 3 misdemeanor and does not trigger an additional suspension.

Driving After Notification or Failure to Appear, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-28(a3).  As the title suggests here, this form of DWLR carried over from the existing version of the statute applies when one has missed a court date and an FTA has been communicated to DMV.  It also applies to one who drives after notification from the DMV that their driver license has been suspended.  This is a class 1 misdemeanor and carries an additional driver license suspension.

Updated with new information 2016

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