Driving While License Revoked (DWLR)
driving while license revoked

Driving While License Revoked is a very serious traffic offense.  The statute states that, “Except as provided in subsection (a1) of this section, any person whose drivers license has been revoked who drives any motor vehicle upon the highways of the State while the license is revoked is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor unless the person’s license was originally revoked for an impaired driving revocation, in which case the person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.”  If you are charged with Driving While License Revoked (DWLR), you may be facing a Level 1 or Level 3 misdemeanor, depending on the reason that your license has been revoked.  If your license was revoked because of an impaired driving or related charge, then it will be a Level 1 misdemeanor, otherwise, it will be a Level 3 misdemeanor.


The statute goes on to say, “Upon conviction, the person’s license shall be revoked for an additional period of one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and permanently for a third or subsequent offense.”  The penalty for driving while license revoked goes up with each subsequent conviction.  Your license is still revoked for the original reason.  After the amount of time has run out for the original revocation, an additional amount of time is attached on at the end.  The first suspension is for an additional year.  If you drive during this year, or at any other time that your license is revoked, then you will be charged with Driving While License Revoked again.  This means that your license will be suspended for an additional two years.  By the third time that you drive while your license is revoked, then your license will be revoked permanently. (Even if your license has been permanently revoked, you can still apply for one after a three year wait.)

While most traffic offenses are considered infractions, Driving While License Revoked is considered a misdemeanor.  If you can avoid getting a conviction of DWLR on your record, it may help you avoid more serious punishment if you have another charge in the future.  One thing you need to do after you get your license reinstated is to get insurance; if your license is reinstated and you fail to get liability insurance, then you will be treated as though you are driving while your license is revoked.

There are some potential defenses to a charge of DWLR.  Notice that the statute above making DWLR a crime states “Except as provided in subsection (a1).”  This is what subsection (a1) says,”A person convicted under subsection (a) shall be punished as if the person had been convicted of driving without a license under G.S. 20-35 if the person demonstrates to the court that either subdivisions (1) and (2), or subdivision (3) of this subsection is true:
(1) At the time of the offense, the person’s license was revoked solely under G.S. 20-16.5; and
(2) a. The offense occurred more than 45 days after the effective date of a revocation order issued under G.S. 20-16.5(f) and the period of revocation was 45 days as provided under subdivision (3) of that subsection; or
b. The offense occurred more than 30 days after the effective date of the revocation order issued under any other provision of G.S. 20-16.5; or
(3) At the time of the offense the person had met the requirements of G.S. 50-13.12, or G.S. 110-142.2 and was eligible for reinstatement of the person’s drivers license privilege as provided therein.”  If any of these conditions applies to you, you may be able to be punished a lower level than an ordinary DWLR charge.

Many times, people get on a never-ending treadmill of getting continuous DWLRs.  This looks bad on your record, and commonly results in harsh punishment.  If you are caught for driving with your license revoked, your license is revoked for an additional year.  If you are caught for a second time for DWLR, your license will be revoked for an additional two years.  If you are caught for a third time for DWLR, your license will be revoked permanently.  The takeaway is that if you are charged with DWLR, you should get it resolved so that it does not cause bigger problems down the road.  If your license keeps getting revoked and you need to drive, give us a call and we will be glad to see if we can get you a limited driving privilege.

There are other ways that your license can be revoked.  The law goes on to state that, “A person shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if: (1) The person operates a motor vehicle upon a highway while that person’s license is revoked for an impaired drivers license revocation after the Division has sent notification… or (2) The person fails to appear for two years from the date of the charge after being charged with an implied-consent offense. [These specific actions will result in a Class 1 misdemeanor.  You can see that the legislature takes these types of crimes very seriously.]  Upon conviction, the person’s drivers license shall be revoked for an additional period of one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and permanently for a third or subsequent offense.”  [Again, you see the repetition of the one year for the first offense, two years for the second offense, and permanently for the third offense scheme.]

Hiring an attorney that understands traffic laws can be very helpful in your case.  The laws regarding licenses and traffic tickets can get surprisingly complicated.  A lawyer can help you try to minimize your exposure to punishment for the offense you were charged with.  The outcome in your case can be effected by a number of things.  First, the individual facts and circumstances of your case can have an impact.  Depending on how strong the case is against you, you may be offered a lower level of charge or punishment.  Another factor is your record.  If your record is clean, it will easier for you to get a better result, as compared to if you have an extensive record.  Also relevant is the specific Assistant District Attorney who is handling your case.  Each case is different, so we cannot guarantee what your outcome.  What we can say is that we will work our hardest for you and give your case personal attention.

We can try to do numerous things for your case.  If possible, we will try to get your case dismissed.  Otherwise, we can try to plead it down and get a charge that will have much less impact on your life.  If it is impossible to get the charge pled down, we can try for a PJC (prayer for judgment continued).  This is not always the best option, but it can be a powerful tool that could help you in your case.  Whether you hire a lawyer, and the one you choose to hire is your decision.  Please look over our website as you make these decisions.  If you have any questions, please let us know.  We will be glad to help you determine what your next steps should be.

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