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Reinstating Your Driver’s License After a DWI Conviction in North Carolina

Reinstating Your License

When you’re convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in the state of North Carolina, you automatically lose your license for a minimum of 12 months. Although the state laws treat DWI as a very serious offense, they also make it possible to reinstate your driving privileges if you take the right steps.

To get your license back as fast as possible, your DWI attorney can help you with all of the following. 


After your DWI conviction, you must complete a substance use assessment. This assessment is an in-person meeting with a DWI provider who’s authorized by the state of North Carolina.

Your substance use assessment includes a detailed analysis from a medical care provider who diagnoses your needs. The assessment provider delivers a certificate of substance assessment completion to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Treatment or Education

You must complete either substance abuse treatment or an education program according to your substance use assessment recommendations. Whether you have to go to treatment depends on many individual factors, such as prior convictions and blood alcohol level at the time of arrest.

As with the assessment, your treatment or education provider delivers a certificate of completion after you finish your program. If you leave the treatment program early, you could be subject to arrest again and it will almost certainly interfere with getting your driving privileges back.


Before you can get your license back, you must obtain liability insurance. In the state of North Carolina, this means: 

  • Bodily injury coverage: $30,000 (one person)
  • Bodily injury coverage: $60,000 (two or more persons)
  • Property damage: $25,000

After you obtain this insurance coverage, your insurance provider must submit a DL-123 form to the Department of Motor Vehicles. This form proves that you have the minimum level of insurance required by the state. 

Of course, if you can do so, it’s also wise to obtain comprehensive insurance coverage because it protects you and your vehicle. Liability insurance only protects the others on the road.

Ignition Interlock

If your blood alcohol content was .15 or higher at the time of your arrest, North Carolina laws require you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. This device, sometimes called the “blow and go,” is a basic breathalyzer that is connected to your car. Before you can start the car, you must blow into the tube so it can measure your blood alcohol content. 

As long as you don’t have alcohol in your system, the ignition unlocks and you can start the car. You must repeat the blow test every time you start the car. The exact amount of time that you’ll have to maintain the ignition interlock device in your vehicle depends on your conviction. It can be as little as one year for a first conviction or as much as seven years for multiple DWI convictions. 


Your DWI attorney can help you get the minimum possible amount in fines, penalties, and reinstatement fees. They’ll help you coordinate these payments and get your proof of payment ahead of your application for license reinstatement. 

In addition to your proof of payment forms, you may also need to bring other paperwork to the Department of Motor Vehicles before getting your license reinstated. Fortunately, that’s where DWI lawyers truly excel. Your attorney can help you compile the information quickly and efficiently, allowing for a streamlined license reinstatement process. 

With more than 30 years of experience in North Carolina DWI law, Carl L. Britt, Jr., Attorney at Law, has the skills and background that can help you successfully reclaim your North Carolina driving privileges as fast as possible. Reach out by phone or online for help now.

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  • 224 Dick St
    Fayetteville, NC 28301