Written by attorney George Wilmarth Nickel III

Ignition Interlock: Limited Driving Privileges and DMV Conditional Restoration

After a DWI conviction, NC DMV places certain alcohol concentration restrictions on drivers. In addition, NC DMV also requires an ignition interlock for drivers whose licenses are restored following a conviction for DWI if:

You had an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or higher; or

You were convicted of a second offense of DWI, which happened within seven years of the offense for which your license was revoked; or

You were sentenced to an Aggravated Level One DWI

There are several ignition interlock providers in North Carolina. Our clients choose between (1) Smart Start, (2) Monitech and (3) Alcolock. The cost of ignition interlock varies per provider but generally costs about $70-$150 for installation and $75 per month. There are also calibration and removal fees.

Limited Driving Privileges:

Limited Driving Privileges with the Ignition Interlock restriction are issued 45 days post-conviction in cases where the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) was 0.15 or greater. Those privileges allow driving Monday - Friday from 6am to 8pm for work purposes. Additional work hours may be permitted outside the “standards” hours with a letter from the driver’s employer. No driving is permitted for “house hold purposes” when the BAC was 0.15 or greater.

DMV Hearings:

Two DWI convictions within 3 years causes a revocation for 4 years. However, DMV allows drivers to request a conditional restoration hearing after 2 years. If conditionally restored, ignition interlock will be required for 3 years. A third or subsequent DWI causes a permanent revocation. DMV allows drivers to request a conditional restoration hearing after 3 years in these circumstances. If conditionally restored, ignition interlock is required for 7 years. Generally, other than the ignition interlock restriction a conditionally restored license allows drivers to drive 24/7.

Tips for Ignition Interlock Success:

Always rinse your mouth with water before starting your car/before each subsequent blow.

Avoid high sugar foods or foods with traces of alcohol. Rinsing well after eating is VERY important. Especially after consuming foods with high sugar.

Avoid using hand sanitizer or other fragrances that contain alcohol in your car

If your job involves using chemicals/materials/tools that may include alcohol, such as a mechanic, consider changing your clothes or washing off well before starting your car.

If you have taken any medications such as cough syrup, or used mouth wash containing alcohol, wait to start your vehicle.

If you blow and fail, rinse your mouth and blow AGAIN. It is VERY important to have a second or third blow to prove it was just a mouth alcohol contamination.

If you blow and fail, log what you ate that day and how you conducted the breath tests. This will be helpful at a potential DMV hearing.

If you have any questions regarding Driving While Impaired, Ignition Interlock, or DMV Hearings, feel free to call our office for a free consultation. We handle DMV hearings in both Central and Eastern North Carolina. Attorneys Kristi Haddock and Melissa Botiglione may be reached at 919-585-1486.

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