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DMV Restoration Hearings

DMV hearings, especially those involving a revocation due to impaired driving in North Carolina, DWI RESTORATION HEARINGcarry consequences.

If you have been permanently revoked or otherwise cannot legally drive due to DWI suspension, there may be options available for restoration that involve a formal hearing with the NCDMV – North Carolina Department of Transporation / Division of Motor Vehicles.

Assuming DMV authorizes a hearing to determine whether administrative relief is appropriate, there are several important steps to take prior to the actual hearing itself.

The application process is somewhat involved, possibly requiring things like:

  1. Certification of a prior record in any state where the petitioner has had a driver license
  2. Fingerprinting
  3. Payment of fees
  4. Formal criminal history/record
  5. Documentation of Substance Abuse Assessment
  6. Proof of compliance with any recommended treatment
  7. Proof of installation of Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring “SCRAM” or “CAM” ankle bracelet

There are fees associated with an NC Driver’s License Hearing Request.

Assuming the appropriate materials are submitted, which must be done in a timely fashion, a hearing may be set in front of a hearing officer at a local DMV licensing office.

There are several different locations in northeastern North Carolina and the outer banks (OBX) where hearings are conducted.

Restoration hearings do not take place in court.  A license restoration hearing, one requesting a “permanent revocation” be lifted by DMV is different than a limited driving privilege.

Under the NC DWI laws, DMV and specifically DMV hearing officers, are vested with tremendous discretion in determining eligibility for reinstatement.

Eligibility for Restoration Hearing

Whether you are entitled to a hearing is related to the passage of time and compliance with certain “condition precedents.”

After several convictions of DWI, it may be quite some time before you are eligible to petition for hearing – Danny Glover, OBX Criminal Defense Lawyer 

If a license has been revoked or suspended for multiple convictions of driving while impaired, that is handled through an administrative law process in North Carolina.

Once a hearing is set restoration is by no means a foregone conclusion that a license will be reinstated.  And even, assuming the hearing officer agrees to some form of administrative relief, there are often numerous conditions attached to reinstatement.

What takes place at a License Restoration Hearing?

Hearing officers often first start by introducing themselves and explaining the process by which the hearing will be conducted.  While it may take place in an office or desk, restoration hearings are generally solemn, serious events.

They are “on the record,” which means they are recorded and may be reduced to writing in a formal of a transcript of the proceedings.

They also involve sworn testimony by witnesses, including the presentation of evidence/testimony by the petitioner.

Witnesses are not required to swear on a Bible.  Instead, they may rather “affirm” to tell the truth and the whole truth.

Part of the introduction process may include providing the hearing officer with a form of valid photo identification.  Ordinarily, each of the respective witnesses showing the hearing officer a driver’s license or other recognized form of ID.

Thereafter, the hearing officer may direct the order in which he or she wishes to take evidence.

In setting the order of presentation of evidence and taking testimony at the DMV hearing, the hearing officers may consider the work schedules of the respective witnesses, childcare or other personal commitments.

What are the important issues at a DMV Restoration Hearing?

Once the order is set, the hearing officer may ask a series of questions.

The important points often involve whether or not the petitioner has been driving illegally.

Another important point to present as evidence is whether or not the petitioner has continued to consume any form of alcohol beverage.

That may be achieved by asking a series of questions to both the witnesses and the petitioner himself or herself.

It’s a really good idea to be prepared for and anticipate questions by the hearing officer.  If there are potential problems, it’s better to address those early on and honestly – Danny Glover, OBX DWI lawyer

While there is no absolute list of specific questions that will always be asked, one should anticipate questions like:

  1. When was the last time you saw the petitioner drink alcohol?
  2. Do you know how many DWI charges they had?
  3. Would anything change your mind if you found out the petitioner had more DWI charges in North Carolina?
  4. Do you know if they’ve ever been convicted of DWI, DUI, or any other “drunk driving” charges in any other state other than North Carolina?
  5. Have you ever seen them consume or take illegal drugs?
  6. When was the last time you saw them drink?
  7. When was the last time you saw them take drugs?
  8. Have you ever seen the petitioner while they were drunk?
  9. Have you ever seen the petitioner when they were high?
  10. Can you tell a difference between when the petitioner has been drinking and when they are sober?
  11. Do you know how long their license has been revoked or suspended?
  12. Do you know why their license is revoked?
  13. Have you ever seen the petitioner drive a vehicle?
  14. When was the last time you saw them drive?
  15. Do you know if he or she has had any tickets in the last several years?
  16. Have you seen a change in their life?
  17. Are changes for the better or for the worse?
  18. Do you know if they work?
  19. Do you know how they get to work?
  20. Have you ever driven the petitioner to work, the doctor, or anywhere else?
  21. Have you spoken to the petitioner about problems with alcohol.?
  22. Have you discussed issues regarding taking illegal drugs or abusing legal drugs?
  23. Do you know whether it has been a hardship for the petitioner not to drive?
  24. How has it been a hardship?
  25. Has it affected their work?
  26. Has not having a license affected how they support their family?
  27. Would you be willing to have your children ride with the petitioner?
  28. Why do you think DMV should lift the revocation or suspension?
  29. Do you think they will follow the law?
  30. Do you think they will ever be charged again with “drunk driving?”
  31. Do you think it would be safe to allow NCDMV to reinstate their license?
  32. Do you know whether the petitioner has any pending tickets?
  33. Do you know whether the petitioner completed drug treatment?
  34. Do you know whether the petitioner got an alcohol assessment or complied with the recommendations?

Related Legal Issues and Topics of Interest

  1. What Happens When You Get a DWI
  2. Hertford DWI
  3. DWI Sentencing in North Carolina
  4. Outer Banks DWI Charges 
  5. Traffic Tickets
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