I just got a DWI, what is going to happen to my license?


One of the most common questions we see in DWI cases is what is going to happen to my license? There are several different stages in the process of a DWI case that can have an effect on your license. If you have been charged with a DWI it is important to reach out to a skilled and experienced attorney as soon as possible as there are often time limits that can affect what can be done to get you back on the road legally.

INITIAL SUSPENSION – The Civil Revocation

One of the first times that your license will be affected by the fact that you have been charged with a DWI is the civil revocation. This is a 30-day revocation that most commonly starts when you are charged with a DWI. If you refuse to submit to the chemical analysis or your breath/blood results come back over the legal limit, the DMV will issue what is called the civil revocation suspension for 30 days. In many jurisdictions, this revocation can be challenged within a very short (10-day) time frame. This is one of the reasons it is so important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible so that they can begin working on the process to get your license back as quickly as possible.

If you miss the initial window to challenge the civil revocation, there is an alternative to getting your driving privileges back. The alternative is procuring a limited driving privilege that will allow you to drive during certain times and for certain purposes. The standard hours for this privilege are 06:00 am to 08:00 pm; Monday to Friday. However, a skilled attorney can get you additional days/times as your job or other necessity dictates.

REFUSAL SUSPENSION – Implied Consent Refusal Suspension

If you refuse to submit to the chemical analysis, either breath or blood test, the officer or law enforcement agent can notify the DMV. Once the DMV gets word of the refusal, they can issue a suspension of your license for one year. Again, it is important to have a skilled and knowledgeable attorney on your side at this time because you can challenge this suspension within a short period of time before it takes effect. Challenging the refusal suspension will stay (or place a hold) on the suspension until the DMV can hold a hearing on the matter. This hearing is completely separate from your DWI hearings in the court system and will not be held at the same time or place.

If the DMV upholds the refusal suspension or you fail to challenge it within the proper amount of time, the suspension lasts one year and the DMV does not currently recognize any limited driving privilege for this suspension.


If you are convicted of a DWI your license will be suspended for a period of 1 year. If you are found to be either a level 3, 4, or 5 for sentencing purposes, the judge may grant you a limited driving privilege. After a conviction, there are two types of limited driving privilege; an interlock driving privilege, and a non-interlock driving privilege. Before getting either you will need to provide at least two documents to the court: first, you will have to provide proof of insurance, this is through the state-mandated form known as the DL-123; the second form you will have to provide is proof that you have completed that substance abuse or DWI assessment. Once all of the documentation required is provided your attorney can approach the court and get your limited driving privileges.

  1. Interlock Limited Driving Privilege

The Interlock driving device, more commonly called a “blow-and-go” is a machine that is installed in your vehicle and requires a negative, or clean breath sample in order to start the vehicle. The current generation of machines also requires random testing throughout the journey to ensure that there isn’t someone else providing a sample on either end of the trip.

If your blood or breath alcohol content results came back and are .15 or higher, you must get an interlock in your car. This is a hard and fast DMV rule and there is no alternative. The benefit of having the interlock machine is that once you have this kind of LDP, there are no time or purpose restrictions on your driving, you can drive at all hours for any purpose, the interlock machine ensures that you are not driving after drinking.

  1. Non-Interlock Driving Privilege

The other kind of Limited Driving Privilege is for non-interlock cases, or those cases where the breath or blood result is less than .15. While this kind of LDP does not require the additional expense of the interlock machine, there are limitations on your driving. The actual privilege sets for the times that you can drive (again standard hours are 06:00 am to 08:00 pm; Monday through Friday) and for what purpose you can drive; work, church, school, household maintenance, community service as required by the court, or substance abuse treatment or education.

With all of the possible pitfalls for your license after being charged with a DWI, it is very important that you hire a skilled and knowledgeable attorney as possible. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI, call the criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith today!