North Carolina considers public safety to be a top concern, especially on our roads. Dangerous, negligent or careless driving behavior can result in serious legal consequences. Driving is a privilege – if you abuse it, you may lose it.

Your driver license is proof of your driving privileges. You may lose your driving privileges in two ways:


In a suspension, driving privileges are temporarily withdrawn for a specific period. A suspended license can be reinstated without having to apply for a new driver license, once the terms of the suspension are fulfilled.


With a revocation, driving privileges are terminated. Your driving privileges can be reinstated once you meet eligibility requirements, which might include an administrative hearing.

If you’re granted a hearing and it goes in your favor you can get reinstated under certain conditions and terms. Once reinstated, you will have to go to a driver license office and apply for a driver’s license. Be sure to have all necessary documents, including proof of identity.

If you do not go through the hearing process or if it did not go in your favor, you may have the ability to apply for a driver license after the suspension period is completed.

Some suspensions require proof of insurance at the time of reinstatement. Please call (919) 715-7000 or your local driver license office for further information.

Common Suspensions and Revocations

The type of suspension or revocation and the circumstances around it determine the requirements to get your driving privileges reinstated.

The table below provides some general information for common suspensions and revocations.

Please note: Every driving record is unique and may contain multiple suspensions, which may change eligibility dates for hearings or reinstatements. If you need current information on your record, including eligibility dates and fines owed, please call (919) 715-7000.

Offense Length of Suspension/
Description Statute(s) Suspension Statute(s)
Driving while impaired 1st offense 1 year GS 20-138.1 20-19(c1)
2nd offense 4 years 20-19(d)
3rd or subsequent offense Permanent 20-19(e)
Refused chemical analysis 1 year GS 20-16.2 20-16.2
30-day civil revocation 30 days – extends until compliance with court GS 20-16.5 20-16.5
Driving with suspended or revoked license GS 20-28 20-28
1st offense 1 year
2nd offense 2 years
3rd or subsequent offense Permanent
Failure to appear Indefinite GS 20-24.1 20-24.1
Failure to pay fine Indefinite GS 20-24.1 20-24.1
Speed over 55 mph and exceeding limit by more than 15 mph GS 20-16.1
1st offense 30 days 20-16.1(a) 20-16.1(a)
2nd offense within 12 months 60 days 20-16.1(c) 20-16.1(c)
Convicted of reckless driving on the same occasion 60 days 20-16.1(d) 20-16.19(d)
Two convictions speeding over 55 mph in 12 months Up to 6 months GS 20-16.1
Accumulation of 12 points in 3 years


8 points in 3 years following reinstatement of license
20-16(a)(5) 20-16(c)
1st suspension 60 days
2nd suspension 6 months
3rd or subsequent suspension 1 year
Moving violation while license is suspended GS 20-28.1 20-28.1
1st offense 1 year
2nd offense 2 years
3rd or subsequent offense Permanent
Violation of ignition interlock restriction 1 year GS 20-17.8(g) 20-17.8(g)

Suspension, Revocations & Administrative Hearings

Many suspensions and revocations listed above either require or can be shortened by an administrative hearing.

The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles recommends drivers with a suspended or revoked license consult qualified legal counsel determine if an administrative hearing is necessary or advisable based on their individual situations.

Fees and Payment Options

Once you have satisfied the requirements of a suspension or revocation, you must pay any fines and fees owed before you can get your driving privileges restored. You can pay these fees in person at your nearest driver license office or by mail*:

NCDMV Fiscal Unit
P.O. Box 29615
Raleigh, NC 27626-0615

*Check or money order only, payable to NCDMV – do not send cash. For payments by mail, please include Driver License/ID Number (if known), full name and date of birth on the check or money order.

Restoration Fee: $65

When the term for a suspension is completed, this fee is charged to restore your driving privileges.

Service Fee: $50

This fee is charged if your driver license is not returned to the DMV before a suspension or revocation period begins.

DWI Reinstatement Fee: $130

This fee is charged when a DWI suspension term is completed.

These fees are separate from the cost of getting a new or duplicate driver license and are in addition to any fine(s) imposed by the court and/or the DMV.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible for Limited Driving Privileges?
In some situations, a limited driving permit may be allowed during the suspension period. To determine if your suspension/revocation allows limited privileges based on statute, please call us: (919) 715-7000.

What is a Failure to Appear (FTA)?
An FTA suspension occurs when a driver fails to appear in court and does not comply with a traffic citation.

What do I do if I receive a letter from the Division for Failure to Appear or Failure to Pay?
If you have failed to appear to court or failed to pay the court, the Division is notified and can in turn suspend your privileges indefinitely until you have complied with the matter. You will need to contact the court in the county that you received the citation or where you failed to pay your fines. Upon compliance, please contact the Division at (919) 715-7000 or your local Driver License Office to determine if you are then eligible to reinstate your license.

What do I do if a Substance Abuse Assessment is required?
If your suspension/revocation requires a substance abuse assessment, please visit the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website to find an agency in your area. They will perform the assessment, determine which classes are needed, and submit a 508 form to the DMV upon completion. To check on the status of your assessment, call (919) 715-7000 or your local Driver License Office.

What do I do if an Ignition Interlock Device is required?
An ignition interlock device (IID) is similar to a breathalyzer, and is installed in your vehicle at your own expense. The device prevents a driver from operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The driver is required to breathe into the device before starting the vehicle and at random intervals during vehicle operation.

If you are required to have an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, contact any of the following companies for installation.

For more information on ignition interlock devices, call (919) 715-7000.