910-253-5400

How do I get my suspended license back?

Are you in a situation where you’re wondering, “how do I get my license back?” In North Carolina there are several reasons why your license may be suspended or revoked, and each reason has its own method of restoration. To answer how to get your license restored in NC, we must first determine why your license is suspended or revoked.

Suspension vs. Revocation

The first step in getting a license restored is determining what type of issue you have with your license. A driver’s license can either be suspended or revoked. A suspension is a temporary withdrawal of one’s driving privilege for a specific period of time or until the terms of the suspension are fulfilled. When a suspension ends, your license will become active automatically, so long as it has not expired and is not subject to any other suspensions or revocations.

A revocation, however, occurs when driving privileges are terminated, either permanently or until one is eligible for a reinstatement. If you are eligible for reinstatement you must begin the entire licensure process again.

Court Initiated Suspensions

  • Failure to Appear

A Failure to Appear suspension occurs when a person fails to appear for their court date. While some states will find a person guilty in absentia, or without them present, North Carolina will delay the case, often referred to as a Dismissal with Leave, and then issue a Call and Fail Order. This Order will suspend the driver’s license of the person failing to appear, and may be accompanied with an Order for Arrest.

Restoring a license after a “Failure to Appear” can be a challenging process. The first step is to determine which case has caused the suspension. This information can found by searching the court records in the counties where you have missed a court date or by contacting the Division of Motor Vehicles. Once you have the file numbers for the cases you missed, you then must bring the case back before a judge.

  • Failure to Comply

A court may also issue an Order for Failure to Comply, which will result in a suspended license. This occurs when a person fails to make a payment to a court following a conviction of either a traffic ticket, a criminal charge, or when a person is more than 90 days delinquent on child support payments. The Court may also suspend a license for failure to comply with a subpoena.

DMV Initiated Suspensions

In addition to the court system, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may also suspend a driver’s license following traffic convictions in various situations, including:

  • Accumulating 12 Points within 3 Years
  • Conviction’s for certain offenses including:
    • Speeding, 15MPH over in 55 MPH zone
    • Speeding, speed over 80 MPH
    • Unauthorized use of Driver’s License/ Fake License
  • Multiple Convictions, such as
    • 2 Speeding convictions above 55 MPH within 1 year
    • 1 Speeding above 55 MPH and 1 Careless and Reckless Driving
    • 1 Speeding above 55 MPH and 1 Aggressive Driving within 1 year

It should be noted that convictions outside of North Carolina for any of these offenses can also result in a North Carolina driver’s license suspension.

Restoring a license suspended by the DMV is a much more complicated process. Depending on the type of offense, a person may request and conduct a hearing with an official from the DMV to attempt to restore a suspended license. Some suspensions allow a hearing during the suspension period. Some offenses, however, are not eligible for a hearing at all.

If a person is not eligible for a hearing, the person may be able to obtain a limited driving privilege. A limited driving privilege is an order granted by a judge that allows a person to driving during certain days and times for the “health, education and welfare” of that person and their family.

Living with a suspended license can be extremely difficult. If your license has been suspended, there may be options available to you. Speaking with a traffic attorney may be able to help you understand why your license is suspended and may be able to help you get your license back.

At Dugan & Leger, we resolve suspended licenses in: Brunswick, Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Pender, New Hanover, and Onslow Counties.


This post is provided for informational purposes only, and is neither intended as legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. To speak to an attorney, contact Dugan & Leger, PLLC at 910-253-5400.