I paid a traffic ticket out of state and now my North Carolina Driver’s License is Scheduled to be Revoked. What do I do?
In North Carolina a person’s license can be suspended (NC DMV license suspension) for a number of speeding violations, even if it is the first ticket a person has received (e.g. traveling more than 15 mph over the speed limit when the posted speed limit is 55 mph hour or greater – for instance 72 mph in a 55 mph zone).
If a person simply pays a ticket in another state (even if they never have to go to court in that other state) that could negatively impact that driver’s NC license. If the other state reports the traffic conviction to NC and it is an offense for which NC can suspend, then the NC DMV will notify the driver that his license is scheduled to be suspended, and that the driver can request a hearing related to the suspension.
Timing of the Notification from the DMV
It can take months for the NC DMV to notify a driver that their license is going to be suspended for an out of state traffic ticket. (Learn more about NC DMV Hearings and NC DMV license suspension.) This is partially due to the fact that it may take a significant period of time following a conviction in another state for the foreign state to notify North Carolina of the conviction.
Requesting a DMV Hearing
Generally the DMV will inform a driver of a scheduled license suspension by regular mail at the address listed on the person’s driver’s license. If the driver is allowed to request a hearing to contest the suspension, the window of time to request the hearing is typically very brief (generally less than 10 days). To request a hearing, the driver must send in a hearing request form as well as any fee associated with requesting a hearing (typically the hearing fee for suspension based on out of state speeding tickets is $100.00).
It is imperative that the request for hearing and any fee associated with that request be mailed within the timeframe outlined in the DMV suspension letter. Untimely requests will result in an inability to schedule a hearing and immediate suspension of the license.
NC DMV License Suspension: what happens at a DMV hearing related to an out-of-state traffic ticket?
Typically at these hearings the DMV officer will primarily ask questions of the driver whose license is scheduled to be suspended. To do this, the driver would be sworn (i.e. giving testimony under oath) and answer the questions of the hearing officer, give statements of his own, and respond to questions of his attorney (if he has hired one to represent him in the hearing).
Questions to be expected from the hearing officer or your attorney related to NC DMV license suspension would include:
- Where were you driving too and from?
- Did you realize how fast you were going?
- Did you know what the speed limit was?
- Why were you speeding?
- What time of day was it?
- What were the road conditions? (ex. Wet, dry, ice)
- What were the traffic conditions? (ex. Heavy or light)
- Do you use cruise control?
- What kind of road was this on? (ex. Interstate, highway, country road)
- How long have you lived in NC?
- What is your driving record like?
- How many prior speeding tickets have you received?
- Do you have a family that you support?
- Are you employed? For how long?
Helpful Hint: Politeness toward the hearing officer is an absolute must. Many of these hearings are as a much a trial of the driver’s character as a legal battle and are decided on the same. The best way to lose your license is to be rude to the hearing officer.
After hearing all the evidence, the hearing officer generally has a number of choices in terms of upholding the suspension or allowing the driver to continue to be licensed. The hearing officer can also put the licensee on a period of probation during which the licensee must abide by all terms laid out by the hearing officer to continue to be licensed.
Do I need an attorney for my DMV Hearing?
An attorney is not required for a NC DMV license suspension hearing. However, having an attorney experienced in DMV hearings on your side should allow you to enter a DMV hearing feeling prepared to present the reasons why you should be allowed to retain your license and continue to drive. Many attorneys that handle these matters offer free consultations, so get some direction on how to prepare for your hearing by calling a lawyer.