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I have a Florida driver's license and got a DWI in North Carolina. Can I fulfill court requirements in NC but DMV reqs. in Fl?

Asheville, NC |

I am originally from Florida and currently have a Florida driver's license. I received a DWI in North Carolina in August 2011 before living in the state. I am currently residing in North Carolina and will be going to court next week. I was going to get a North Carolina driver's license before conviction but the DMV told me I may want to wait because Florida's laws for dwi may be lesser than North Carolina. I have a lawyer here in NC but he says he cannot advise on Florida's laws because he doesn't practice there. My question is wether or not I can fulfill my court requirements here in NC (pay my fines/fees) but fulfill my DMV requirements in Florida if they are less harsh? Meaning I would stay in NC for the next year or so but keep my Florida license by having my residence at my parents ho

house. How would I go about doing this? THANK YOU!!

Attorney Answers 2


You are dealing with a very complicated area of the law, DMV issues between states can be very tough. From my experience, you will be required to fufill the DMV requirements in Florida to have your driving privileges restored in NC. I would hold off on switching your licenses until your suspension is fufiled related to the NC DWI. If you're found guilty in NC, the NC DMV will notify the FL DMV and FL will probably suspend your license for a period of time. In NC, it is an automatic 1 year suspension, however, FL may have less harsh suspension time period. For example, SC only suspends your licens for 6 months. Regardless, you will have to wait the 1 year suspension period but I would suggest keeping your FL license and then after the 1 year suspension, apply for a NC license.

Example of requirements to fufill your suspension in NC would be 1) you must complete alcohol classes, 2) complete community service, 3) pay all the court costs, and 4) satisfy the requirements of probation, usually entails not getting in trouble, no moving violations, or new tickets.

Whatever you do, I would strongly suggest NOT changing your Florida license to NC. That will only make the process more complicated.

Attorney Gregory Spink is licensed in North Carolina, with a focused practice in Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties. Nothing is intended in this post to serve as legal advice. It is my opinion based on studying the law and passing the Bar Exam and should not be construed as legal advice. You should always contact a local attorney, who is familiar with local rules. Each case must be judged on a case by case basis with all evidence being reviewed by a licensed attorney. Nothing in this post should be construed as creating an attorney and client relationship.

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Thank you, Gregory! I am somewhat familiar with the punishment I will face (I've already completed my alcohol assessment and group hours and know that since I blew a .15 I will be required to get an interlock device for a year) and know that I am going to be found guilty. I was planning on getting a privilege license to get to and from work in NC but am now confused as to how I will go about doing that if I still have a Florida License? Will I be able to get a privilege license in NC with a Fl license? They call it a hardship license in Florida, but that wouldn't be legal in North Carolina i'm assuming. I guess I'm trying to figure out if there is any way I can still get to work in North Carolina for the time being even I plan on going back to Florida and continuing residency there.

Gregory David Spink

Gregory David Spink


I am glad my answer was helpful! If you don't mind taking a minute to endors me on Avvo, that would be a huge help to me. You can certainly get a limited driving privilege in NC with a FL license. You are correct, a FL hardship license would NOT be valid in NC. Mind you, after you are convicted in NC, you are still free to drive in any of the other 49 states, excluding NC because that suspension takes effect immediatly. It will take a couple months for Flordia to suspend your license, but once the FL DMV gives you notice of a license suspension, then you cannot drive in any other state because your FL will not be valid, then you would need to apply for a FL hardship license.



I'd be happy to but can I endorse you if I am not a lawyer/dentist/doctor? How do I figure out what requirements I would have to fill in Florida when I get convicted in NC? I know what I'll have to do in NC but if I am now going to follow Fl's laws instead, how do I know what my punishment will be if I don't go to court there?


There are several things going on in a DWI conviction in NC of a out of state resident.

First the NC Courts will punish you at the level you qualify. That could be anything from a level 5 with a driving privilege, to a level 1 with 2 years in prison! Depends on the facts, there are factors that the court weighs in determining your level.

Second, the DMV of NC will revoke your privilege to drive in NC for a year. Not a license, but the privilege to drive on the roads of NC. If you qualify for a driving privilege, out of state license, then you may be able to drive for limited purposes at limited times for a year if you blew .14 and lower, or if you blew a .15 or higher, 45 days no operate after conviction then a privilege for the balance of the year with an ignition interlock (note- if refused to blow, 1 year DMV refusal revocation, but privilege after 6 months) . Be aware the laws are very complex,

Third, NC and FL are members of the interstate compact, which means that the state of Florida DMV will punish you like you got convicted in Florida. No criminal court punishment but DMV punishment. Get it?

And Finally, all punishment in NC Courts have to be complied with to the NC standard, either here in NC or at an acceptable alternative in your home state. (treatment and community service, if jail will be in NC jail) And all fines and fees must be paid here in NC.

To sum it up, an out of state resident convicted of DWI in NC will be punished in NC by the NC Criminal Courts and by the NC DMV and by their home licensed state DMV.

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