Even after a “permanent revocation,” there are instances when administrative relief may be available through a process called a “conditional restoration” or “DMV restoration hearing.”
DMV hearings carry consequences, both potentially good and bad.
The inability to legally operate a motor vehicle can affect where you live, where you work, and your ability to support both yourself and your family.
It’s a mistake to assume, with the passage of time alone, the North Carolina Department of Transporation / Division of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) automatically restores an NC driver’s license.
If you have had DWI charges in Raleigh, or better said, multiple convictions of DWI in Wake County (or other places), we may be able to help – John Fanney, Criminal Lawyer
While an attorney is not required at a hearing, restoration hearings are relatively complicated, if not confusing. The fact-patterns associated with permanent revocations due to repeat offenses are at best difficult.
It’s not hard to understand the public aversion to rescinding a license revocation in instances when a driver has been convicted of “drunk driving” time and again.
Conditional Restoration Hearings
A formal hearing at a license offense at DMV is often required.
Of course, that assumes everything else is in order regarding completion of the Court’s judgment including substance/alcohol assessment and treatment, the performance of community service, and full compliance with fees, fines, and costs of court.
If a DMV restoration hearing is determined to be appropriate/available, there are a fair number of different “condition precedents” that must be met before even scheduling a hearing.
The process of applying for a hearing may require several different things:
- Obtain certified record/driving history in every state where a license has been held
- Fingerprint Card
- Payment of Filing Fees / North Carolina Driver License Hearing Request
- Certified Criminal Record
- Alcohol Assessment / Substance Abuse Assessment
- Completion/Compliance with Treatment Recommendations
- CAM – Continuous Alcohol Monitoring / Ankle Bracelet
Timely filing and submission of materials are required prior to setting a hearing date. Failure to provide the required documentation may result in the rescission of a license hearing request or otherwise preclude even calendaring a hearing date.
Conditional restoration hearings are not conducted in court. Instead, a hearing officer assigned to the DMV license office in Wake County hears such matters.
There are certain appeals to Superior Court that may be available, although those are generally limited to a review on the record alone.
Clearly, the method of conducting the restoration hearing, and possibly lifting a revocation, are in the discretion of the hearing officer.
Hearing officers possess substantial discretion in deciding whether to lift a restriction. In no way is it a foregone conclusion. It can be an uphill battle – John Fanney, Raleigh Lawyers
When can you get your license back?
Eligibility for a hearing involves more than simply the passage of time, that in some instances can be years after the last conviction of driving while impaired in North Carolina or that DMV has recognized as a conviction for DUI, DWI, OWI, or OUI in other states.
Conditional restoration, pursuant to a DMV hearing, is different from a limited driving privilege issued in court. It is an administrative law process and may not necessarily be subject to the NC Rules of Evidence.
What questions are asked at DMV Restoration Hearing?
The DMV hearing officer is generally concerned with determining:
- Has the petitioner been illegally driving during the period of revocation or suspension?
- Has the petitioner continued drinking or consuming/abusing controlled substances?
- Would motorists in North Carolina be placed in danger if the petitioner’s driver license is reinstated?
- Are there conditions or terms available to ensure the petitioner does not drink and drive?
It is incredibly important for the petitioner and his or her witnesses to be prepared for questioning – John Fanney, Raleigh DWI Attorney
There is no set script at a DMV hearing. The hearing officer and legal counsel for the petitioner may ask questions. They may include things like:
- When was the last time you drank?
- What did you have to drink, how much, and when?
- Have you driven at any time during the period of suspension or revocation?