Per § 20-179.3 of North Carolina legislature, “limited driving privilege” refers to a judgment that grants individuals with revoked licenses the legal right to continue driving. Though a judge may use his or her discretion in awarding limited driving privileges, he or she must assess whether there exists an “essential purpose.” Essential purposes include employment, household maintenance, education, court-ordered assessment or treatment, court-ordered community service, religious worship and emergency medical care. If the courts revoked your license for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may wonder if you are eligible for limited driving privileges.

If the courts revoked your license because of an impaired driving offense, you may be eligible for limited driving privileges if, at the time of your stop, you held either a valid driver’s license or a license that expired within the year. Your record must also contain no other conviction for an impaired driving offense within the past seven years, nor may it contain any other unresolved impaired driving-related charges.

Moreover, the court must have imposed a level three, four or five punishment. Finally, to regain your driving privileges, you must submit to the courts a substance abuse assessment.

If your BAC at the time of arrest was 0.15 or greater, the courts may declare you a “high-risk driver.” In this situation, you may still become eligible for limited driving privileges. However, the courts may not restore your privileges until at least 45 days after the final conviction. You must also install an interlock ignition device. The courts may also further restrict your freedoms by disallowing you to use your vehicle for household maintenance purposes.