Suspended Licenses

In North Carolina, a driver’s license can be suspended or even revoked for reasons ranging from speeding to drunk driving. This is a misdemeanor offense that could lead to a jail sentence or large fines. While a revocation is more serious than a suspension, the both have the same immediate result – you can’t legally operate any vehicle on North Carolina highways. You can’t drive.Traffic_LicenseCheck_small

It’s often important to consult an experienced traffic attorney – like Grey Powell Law – who can help negotiate results that reduce the risk of your insurance going up and the loss of additional driving privileges.

Reasons for suspension
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can suspend or revoke a driver’s license for:

  • Speeding
  • DWI
  • Refusing to take a blood or breath test
  • Reckless driving
  • Accumulating points on your driver’s license 

Other agencies can also suspend your driver’s license for non-traffic related offenses. A license can be revoked by other agencies, like in a failure to pay child support, or as part of a criminal court sentence.

Suspension periods, meaning how long your license is invalid, depend on the offense and who order suspension. If the suspension is started by a court or an agency other than the DMV, additional requirements may have to be met before a driver’s license can be made valid.

Record of a suspended or revoked driver’s license becomes part of your official, permanent North Carolina driving record.

Reinstating a suspended license
A driver’s license can’t be reinstated until after the assigned DMV suspension period is over. Once that time has passed, a driver must:

  • Pay appropriate restoration fees
  • Apply for a new North Carolina license (could require a written and/or driving test)

Some suspensions last until the drivers meets requirements specific to why the license was revoked. For example, a driver’s license won’t be reinstated until all back due child support is paid, if that was the reason for the suspension. 

Suspension Periods
Time without a valid license corresponds to the cause of the suspension. Here are some examples:

Offense  Suspension Period
First DWI

1 year

Second DWI

4 years

Third DWI


Speeding – 15 mph over a 55 mph limit

30 days

Speeding – 15 mpg over a 55 mph limit (second offense)

60 days

Speeding – 15 mpg over a 55 mph limit (while avoiding arrest)

1 year

Refusing to take a blood or breath test

1 year

Death by vehicle (misdemeanor)

1 year

Obtaining a driver’s license/permit using false information

1 year

Speeding and reckless driving

60 days

2 charges of reckless driving in 12 months

1 year


3 years

 Your license can also be suspended for:

  • Two convictions of speeding (over 55 mph) in 12 months
  • One conviction of speeding (over 55 mph) and 1 conviction of reckless driving in 12 months
  • A conviction of speeding over 75 mph
  • Part of a sentence or suspended court sentence that revokes your driving privileges. 

If you are younger than 18 years old, depending on how many violations were committed, suspension could be up to six months.