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What Happens If I Get Caught Driving With A Suspended License?

It is almost impossible to work and live without driving a car. We all depend on our vehicles for transportation to work or school as well as to take care of our daily needs and the needs of our family. While public transportation may be available in most areas, it can be inconvenient, time-consuming, and costly. It is also impractical when you have young children. Having a suspended license in North Carolina is something you want to avoid if possible. If you choose to drive with a suspended license, it is a crime.  If you are not licensed by North Carolina you still have a “driving privilege” that can be suspended.  This is true whether you have a license from another state, or if you have never actually gotten a drivers’ license.  In North Carolina, there is no legal distinction between a license “suspension” and “revocation.”  The terms are used interchangeably.

Reasons Why You Have a Suspended License

There are several reasons why a person may have a suspended license in North Carolina including:

  • Driving While Impaired – North Carolina DWI convictions result in a suspended license.
  • Failure to Appear – If you fail to appear at a mandatory court date for a motor vehicle violation, the DMV will be notified and your license suspended.
  • Traffic Violations – Several violations carry license suspensions, and combinations of multiple offenses can also trigger a suspension.
  • Accumulated Points – Each time you receive a traffic ticket, points are assigned to your license. If you have too many points, the DMV will suspend your license.

There are also several other causes of license suspensions that have nothing to do with motor vehicle violations whatsoever, including:

  • Failure to pay child support
  • Dropping out of high school
  • Failing to perform court-ordered community service

Regardless of why you have a suspended license, if you choose to drive without a license and you are caught, you will face criminal charges.

Driving While License Revoked (DWLR)

The offense of driving with a suspended license falls under the criminal category of Driving While License Revoked (DWLR). Ignoring your suspended license is a serious matter that could result in jail time. Driving with a suspended license is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to 120 days in jail and/or potential fines, if convicted. You will also have a criminal record. If you are charged with DWLR, you need the assistance of an attorney to defend the criminal allegations but you also need an attorney to help you reinstate your driving privileges.

A bigger potential problem with being caught driving on a suspended license is the potential for increased suspension time.  Anytime you are convicted of a moving violation that happened when your driving privilege was already suspended, the DMV will add time to your existing suspension.  A first violation during a period of suspension adds another full year to the end of your period of license suspension.  A second violation adds two years, and a third violation will permanently revoke your license!  DWLR is a moving violation, so in addition to any punishment handed out by the court a conviction is going to put you in a deeper hole with the DMV.

The attorneys of Welch and Avery, LLP have extensive experience defending individuals against criminal charges related to traffic violations. There are several defenses available to a charge of driving with a suspended license. In most cases, we can help clients avoid convictions for moving violations during periods of revocation and avoid causing longer suspensions.  In many cases, we have also been able to help clients “fix” their driving record so they can get a valid license once more.  Contact our office to schedule a consultation to discuss a defense strategy that will help you avoid jail time as well as create a plan to get your license reinstated so that this will not happen again in the future.

Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney

“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”

Welch and Avery, LLP is a full-service Jacksonville Criminal and Civil law firm that is committed to providing results-driven legal representation to businesses and individuals seeking an alternative to large-firm representation. We focus on getting you the results you want while offering you a cost-effective solution to your legal needs. We understand that we work for our clients; therefore; our attorneys communicate regularly with each client to ensure that the client knows what is going on with the case.

When you have legal problems, you need an experienced legal professional in your corner. No matter the case, you should have an attorney working for you who knows the law and who has the experience to get results. We represent clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 405-8459 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.

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