Driving With a Suspended License in North Carolina (2024) – What You Need to Know

Driving With a Suspended License in North Carolina (2024) – What You Need to Know

Jan 15, 2023 | Traffic Violations

Most people drive their cars every day. Although public transportation and rideshare options can be helpful, it is usually most convenient to use your car to get where you need to go. What many people do not realize is that driving is a privilege that can be revoked or suspended.

If your license has been suspended, it is important that you follow all rules and expectations during your suspension. If you do not, you risk losing your license permanently or facing other punishments that can affect your lifestyle, family, and future. License suspensions are serious. Not knowing or understanding the laws will not excuse you from facing consequences.

Why License Suspensions Occur

License suspensions can happen for a myriad of reasons. These reasons include:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving when your license is revoked
  • Driving significantly over the speed limit
  • Accumulating too many points on your driver’s license
  • Committing a moving violation with a suspended license
  • Failing to appear in court or pay a fine

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are other reasons that your license can be suspended. If your license is suspended, the reason should be formally cited.

Consequences for Driving With a Suspended License

If you get caught driving with a suspended license, you will face additional punishments. The law is strict about ensuring that drivers have updated, legitimate licenses when they are on the road. When a police officer catches you driving with a suspended license, you may face:

  • A misdemeanor offense on your permanent criminal record
  • Up to 120 days, or approximately four months, in jail
  • Fines
  • Driver’s license suspension ranging in length from an additional year to a lifetime
  • Eight points on your insurance policy, which can increase your cost up to 220%

These consequences can affect every area of your life. It is important to avoid driving with a suspended license at all costs. Fortunately, there are options for you if your license has been suspended.

Getting Around With a Suspended License

Most people still need to go to places like work, school, medical appointments, and stores during the period that their license is suspended. There are options available for you so that you can still do these things without driving illegally.

First, you should explore whether a restricted license is available to you. Although not all people with suspended licenses are eligible for a restricted license, many are, especially if their license was suspended because of a first offense. You will have to apply for a restricted license through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your area. Do this as soon as possible after your license has been suspended, as there is often a limited window of time for you to apply for your restricted license. After this period is over, a restricted license will not be an option for you.

If you are not eligible for a restricted license, or are looking for alternatives, public transportation and rideshare apps are the next most convenient options. Public transportation is usually the most cost-effective, but it also requires forethought and scheduling to make sure you get where you need to go on time. Rideshare apps usually require less planning but cost more than buses and trains.

Finally, free options include walking, biking, or getting a ride with friends, family, or coworkers. Unfortunately, these options are not available in all situations. For example, biking to the grocery store may make it difficult to get your groceries home. This method requires some creativity and flexibility.


Q: How Do You Get Around When Your License Is Suspended?

A: You can apply for a restricted license if your license has been suspended. If you are approved, you are allowed to drive under certain conditions. You must follow all these conditions to retain your restricted license. If you are not eligible for this option, there are other methods of transportation, including:

  • Rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber
  • Public transportation
  • Biking
  • Walking
  • Getting rides from friends and coworkers

Having a suspended license is inconvenient and requires flexibility.

Q: What Happens If You Drive With a Suspended License?

A: If you get caught driving with a suspended license, you face harsh punishments. You will likely face a longer suspension, fines, and even jail time. Some people lose their licenses forever if they are caught driving on a suspended license. Most people are cited with a misdemeanor that remains on their record. It is always best to follow the rules when your license is suspended to avoid harsh consequences.

Q: How Long Does North Carolina Suspend Your License?

A: The length of your license suspension depends on your record and your offense. If this is your first offense, your suspension will likely only be a maximum of 60 days. The second offense’s suspension can last for up to 6 months. The third offense’s suspension may last for up to 1 year. In some scenarios, your license can be completely revoked, and you may not be able to apply for a new one.

Q: Can You Go to Jail for Driving Without a License?

A: Yes. If you are caught driving without a license, you may face jail time on top of other charges. If you are caught driving with a suspended license, you can also face jail time of up to 120 days, or four months. The length of time you spend in jail will depend upon your offense, the reason that your license is suspended, and other circumstances surrounding your situation. Jail time is a serious possibility in all scenarios.

Contact Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC

Our team at Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, has been helping individuals with legal issues for many years. If you have a suspended license, or are facing a legal situation that could result in a suspended license, we can help you.

To learn more about our firm, our services, and how we can support you during this time, please contact Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, via our website.