DWI – Limited Driving Privileges

September 30, 2015   |   Michael Haigler

“I was convicted or pleaded guilty to a charge of Driving While Impaired (DWI) in North Carolina, am I eligible for a driving privilege?”   The Answer: “It Depends.”

Eligibility for limited driving privileges depends on a myriad of factors.  The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles regulates the issuance, revocation, and suspension of North Carolina Drivers’ Licenses.  However, the North Carolina Legislature authorizes judicial discretion to issue Limited Driving Privileges. This post specifically addresses basic, post-trial Limited Driving Privileges (LDP) for Impaired Driving.

At the outset, to generally be eligible for a Limited Driving Privilege after a DWI conviction, you must be sentenced at a Level Three, Four, or Five, under G.S. 20-179, and not be deemed a ‘Refusal’.  A person is deemed a refusal when they willfully refuse to submit to a chemical analysis.  Additionally, the following conditions must be satisfied pursuant to the statute:

  • The person was revoked only under G.S. 20-17(a)(2).
  • At time of the offense, the person held a valid license or a license that had been expired less than one (1) year.
  • The person was not convicted of an offense involving impaired driving within the preceding seven (7) years.
  • Subsequent to the offense, the person was not convicted or does not have any unresolved charges pending against them involving impaired driving.
  • The person obtained and filed a substance abuse assessment.
  • The person has filed proof of financial responsibility (i.e. DL-123/proof of insurance).

As the name implies, a Limited Driving Privilege is just that, limited.  The Privilege authorizes the person to drive for the following limited purposes during their respective revocation period:

  • Work or Education;
  • Maintenance of Household;
  • Community Service; and
  • Alcohol/Drug treatment pursuant to the substance abuse assessment.

NOTE: Limited Driving Privileges are typically authorized for Standard working hours, specifically 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Judges may authorize a limited driving privilege for nonstandard hours with supplemental documentation.

As aforementioned, this post provides a general overview of basic limited driving privilege eligibility.  There are nuanced circumstances for limited privilege eligibility for cases involving a driver under the age of twenty-one (21), ignition interlock drivers, refusal drivers, and drivers with out of state convictions.  Any Driving While Impaired case is complex and rife with intricacies.  Please make sure your rights are protected and advocated by an experienced DWI attorney.

Blog author Michael Haigler practices in Charlotte, North Carolina at Dummit Fradin. Mr. Haigler was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Mr. Haigler represents clients in the following areas of law: Criminal Defense, DWI, Traffic Law, Family Law, and Civil Litigation.  Dummit Fradin has offices throughout North Carolina. If you or someone you know, need legal assistance, contact Dummit Fradin at (704) 319-7200.  For additional information, please visit