Recently, I was hired to assist a client who had received a DWI charge (well, technically, it wasn’t called a DWI, but it was a similar charge) in another State. So, this client, who learned I was a Raleigh DWI Lawyer and a Durham DWI Lawyer through a mutual contact, reached out to me. This client completed the court ordered classes, paid his fines and court costs, and refrained from driving during the 6-month period in which he was ordered not to drive due to his conviction in the other State. Now, 8 months after the date of his conviction in this other State, he received a letter from the North Carolina DMV indicating his driving privileges here in this state were being suspended for ONE YEAR! Now, had he been convicted under North Carolina DWI Sentencing Structure statute (N.C.G.S. 20-179) he would have faced a one year suspension, however he wasn’t convicted in NC. He was convicted under the statute of another state and paid his debt to that society for having driven intoxicated in their state.
Now, North Carolina decided to add to his burden by suspending his driving privilege here in North Carolina just for having been convicted of a charge similar to NC’s DWI law in an entirely different jurisdiction. Alright, well, then, we need to get him a Limited Driving Privilege so that he can get back on the road as soon as possible; easier said then done. Though most Limited Driving Privileges in North Carolina are straight forward, one for an out-of-state DWI conviction is a monster all it’s own. For starters, the fee is $250, instead of the usual $100 for other L.D.P.’s. Second, this has to be done through the civil division of the court (as oppose to the criminal side) since this isn’t a court-ordered suspension, but rather a DMV-ordered. There are a couple more documents that must be filled out and the privilege must be approved by the Chief District Court just as oppose to any District Court Judge who would normally approve a Limited Driving Privilege.
However, what I found most telling about this little oddity was the lack of information available on it. I spent most of a day chasing around all the required documents, approvals and signatures in order to obtain this order. At every turn, no one seemed to have an understanding on how these are done. When speaking with other local attorneys, they (like myself) seemed confident that it was just like any other L.D.P. (some speaking with an absolute certainty). When discussing with the D.A. on what I was doing, as well as a Judge, both indicated there was no special requirements for what I was attempting. Additionally, when talking with the Clerks Office, the always helpful staff were at a loss on how this was done. It wasn’t until I was directed to the Civil Division that I finally was told what all was needed.
Fortunately, I already had the necessary paperwork aside from the Petition and Civil Filing Form. So, aside from having to wait on the approval of the Chief District Court Judge and the added cost I had not anticipated, I was able to procure the Privilege for my client.
So, this blog post is to serve as a warning to other North Carolina DWI Attorneys attempting this great feat. Best of luck to you!