If you have a habit of driving while impaired in North Carolina, the court system will not just sit back and let you keep your driver’s license without restrictions. With a DWI conviction, there is always a period of time that you lose your license. However, in some cases, a habitual offender is allowed to drive only if they are driving an auto that has an ignition interlock device.

Let’s look at what an ignition interlock device is and how it works to control driving while impaired.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a type of equipment connected to your car’s ignition system. It requires you to breathe into the device. Your car will not start if your breath alcohol concentration is outside the acceptable range.

What is “Acceptable” Alcohol Concentration Level?

The court decides your acceptable alcohol concentration for ignition start. Depending on your convictions, this level may be either .04 or 0.00.

Who Gets this Device?

If you were convicted of a DWI, you are eligible for a limited driving privilege if you had a valid driver’s license or a license that had been expired for less than one year and as long as you have not had a DWI in the past 7 years. You can’t have any other convictions pending and you must file a substance abuse assessment for the restoration of your driver’s license. 

To get a limited driving privilege, you must be supporting existing dependents or need a driver’s license to be gainfully employed.

Who Pays?

Ignition interlock devices are installed at the expense of the driver. However, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles can waive ignition interlock installations on additional vehicles for applicants who meet household income criteria and have submitted an Affidavit of Indigence II with their written hearing request. (1) 

What Other Restrictions Are On My Driving?

A court may issue a limited driving privilege for you only for essential purposes related to these reasons for driving:

  • Employment.
  • Household maintenance.
  • Education.
  • Court-ordered treatment or assessment.
  • Court-ordered community service 
  • Emergency medical care.
  • Religious worship.

Can I Drive Wherever I Like?

The limited driving privilege license is only for essential driving for the reasons listed above. You can face legal consequences for driving at any other time or to any place unrelated to your essential driving responsibilities.

Is an Ignition Interlock Device My Only Choice?

Sometimes, the NCDMV allows the use of a continuous alcohol monitor device instead of the ignition interlock system. You can discuss these possibilities at your court dates to help the court make the best decision for your situation.  

Get Help Applying for Your Limited Driving Privileges

If you have a DWI conviction and are struggling with the loss of your driver’s license, talk with one of the experienced criminal law attorneys at Hogan Edwards, and Blue. We can walk you through the steps necessary to get a limited driving privilege. We understand how easy it is to get a DWI conviction and how hard it can be to live with one. Contact us and start to live your life fully despite your conviction. 

Face Charges with Confidence.

If you are facing a DWI conviction, contact us for the best defenses against the conviction. Don’t face a black mark for the rest of your life because you didn’t seek out the best criminal defense team to fight for your rights. We have the knowledge and experience to work for your rights so that you don’t become a product of a legal system that is often skewed against defendants.

  1. https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/license-id/license-suspension/Pages/ignition-interlock-devices.aspx