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License Suspensions

NON-DWI LICENSE SUSPENSIONSCan the State take my license away from me because of license points?

Driving on the public highways of North Carolina is not a right. Driving is a privilege, and to legally drive on the public roadways of North Carolina, a driver must be licensed to drive by an appropriate licensing agency. In North Carolina, that agency is called the Division of Motor Vehicles, or DMV.

As the saying goes what the DMV gives, it can take away, and the DMV does have the authority to suspend or revoke a person’s driver’s license in certain circumstances.

A person’s driver’s license can be suspended by the DMV, absent a hearing, if a person has accumulated 12 or more license points within a three-year period or 8 or more license points within a three-year period that immediately follows reinstatement after a previous offense-related suspension.

In general, correlations have been established between the relative seriousness of driving offenses and the amount of points to be assessed for each conviction. For instance, convictions for passing a stopped school bus or aggressive driving result in the assessment of 5 points, while reckless driving, following too close, driving on the wrong side of the road, illegal passing, and failure to yield the right-of-way convictions result in the assessment of 4 license points.

The sliding scale of points to be assessed for each kind of offense is set out in the North Carolina General Statutes, in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16. That scale is provided below. As the scale shows, point assessments for drivers operating commercial motor vehicles are far more severe, such that a driver operating a commercial motor vehicle can have one’s license suspended after committing just two listed traffic offenses.

If a driver is convicted of two or more traffic offenses that were committed on a single occasion, he or she will only be assessed points for one offense, although the offense bearing the higher point value is the one that will be assessed. When a license is restored to a driver, any license points that had previously accumulated will be cancelled.

How long do license suspensions last?

Licenses suspended pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16 shall not last longer than 60 days. A second suspension pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16 shall not exceed six months. Additional suspensions pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16 cannot exceed one year.

If a license is simultaneously suspended pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16 and pursuant to another statute, such as N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16.2 (mandatory license revocation for refusal to submit to chemical analysis), the license suspensions shall run concurrently.

If my license is suspended, can I request a hearing?

When a person’s license is suspended pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16, the DMV must immediately notify the person in writing of the suspension and also must notify the person of his or her right to a hearing within 60 days of the suspension. DMV hearings conducted pursuant to this section are held before hearing officers in a quasi-judicial forum. The rules of evidence and procedure followed in a court of law are loosely applied, and hearing officers may hear from witnesses for the DMV as well as witnesses for a driver seeking to avoid license suspension.

After a hearing, a DMV hearing officer may rescind the order of license suspension or, for good cause shown, may extend it. The DMV and a driver may also enter into a written agreement under which a driver may keep one’s license during a one-year probationary period, subject to certain conditions.

Are limited driving privileges available to people whose licenses have been suspended?

Drivers whose licenses are suspended for certain speeding offenses may apply to a district court judge for a limited driving privilege. Such privileges are only available if the driver has not been convicted of any other motor-vehicle moving violations within the previous 12 months.

What should I do if my license has been suspended?

The best thing you can do if your license has been suspended pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16 is to contact one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC. Our experienced traffic attorneys are fighting on behalf of North Carolina drivers in courtrooms and DMV hearings almost every day. Let us fight for you! Call (704) 370-2828

Schedule of Point Values
Passing stopped school bus5
Aggressive driving5
Reckless driving4
Hit and run, property damage only4
Following too close4
Driving on wrong side of road4
Illegal passing4
Failure to yield right-of-way to pedestrian pursuant to G.S. 20-158(b)(2)b.4
Failure to yield right-of-way to bicycle, motor scooter, or motorcycle4
Running through stop sign3
Speeding in excess of 55 miles per hour3
Failing to yield right-of-way3
Running through red light3
No driver's license or license expired more than one year3
Failure to stop for siren3
Driving through safety zone3
No liability insurance3
Failure to report accident where such report is required3
Speeding in a school zone in excess of the posted school zone speed limit3
Failure to properly restrain a child in a restraint or seat belt2
All other moving violations2
Littering when the littering involves the use of a motor vehicle1

Point Values for Violations While Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle
Passing stopped school bus8
Rail-highway crossing violation6
Careless and reckless driving in violation of G.S. 20-140(f)6
Speeding in violation of G.S. 20-141(j3)6
Aggressive driving6
Reckless driving5
Hit and run, property damage only5
Following too close5
Driving on wrong side of road5
Illegal passing5
Failure to yield right-of-way to pedestrian pursuant to G.S. 20-18(b)(2)b5
Failure to yield right-of-way to bicycle, motor scooter, or motorcycle5
Running through stop sign4
Speeding in excess of 55 miles per hour4
Failing to yield right-of-way4
Running through red light4
No driver's license or license expired more than one year4
Failure to stop for siren4
Driving through safety zone4
No liability insurance4
Failure to report accident where such report is required4
Speeding in a school zone in excess of the posted school zone speed limit4
Possessing alcoholic beverages in the passenger area of commercial vehicle4
All other moving violations3
Littering pursuant when the littering involves a motor vehicle1