The 10 Most Common Ways to Get a Suspended License in North Carolina

From street racing to ticket avoidance, here are some of the most common reasons for a suspended license in North Carolina.
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
From street racing to failing to pay a ticket, North Carolina may suspend or revoke your license for an abundance of reasons. Attempting to drive with a suspended license will result in even more severe penalties, including hefty fines and possible jail time. Not to mention, it'll be much harder to find
cheap car insurance in North Carolina.
While being granted the privilege to drive is an exciting occasion, it’s important to remember that the privilege can be taken away. Each state has its own set of rules drivers must follow, and failure to adhere to some of them will result in license suspension or revocation. 
That’s why it’s crucial to get to know the rules in your state so that you don’t end up losing your freedom to drive. Here, the
car insurance
comparison shopping app
will guide you through the most common reasons for license suspension in the Tar Heel State. 
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What’s the difference between a license suspension and revocation?

Though people often use the terms “suspension” and “revocation” interchangeably, there is actually a difference between the two. 
Here’s how they vary in North Carolina: 
  • License suspension—Your driving privilege is temporarily withdrawn for the duration of a certain timeframe or until the terms of the suspension are met
  • License revocation—Your driving privilege is terminated and can only be reinstated by reapplying for a license under certain requirements and conditions set by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV)
Regardless of whether your license was suspended or revoked, you will need to
apply to reinstate
your license as if you are a new driver at the
nearest NCDMV driver license office
once you are eligible. Typically, you will also need to have
proof of insurance
on hand at the time of your reinstatement. 

Common reasons your license may be suspended or revoked in North Carolina 

North Carolina has a lengthy list of offenses that will get your license suspended or revoked. But here are some of the more common scenarios

1. Speeding

If you’re caught driving more than 15 mph over the limit or at a speed greater than 80 mph, your license will be revoked for a minimum of 30 days. This time period increases to 60 days if you’ve received two speeding tickets in the same year or you were charged with
reckless driving
on top of speeding. Two convictions of speeding over 55 mph in the same year will trigger a loss of driving privileges for six months—so lead-footers, beware if you want to keep driving in North Carolina.   

2. Driving while impaired

A DWI in North Carolina
could cost you your driving privileges for at least a year. Refusal to take a chemical breath or blood test will also result in immediate license revocation. In case you haven’t learned your lesson from either of these penalties, though, a second DWI will amount to a four-year revocation and a third DWI will lead to permanent revocation. Bottom line: just don’t drink and drive!

3. Violation of ignition interlock restriction 

If you do happen to get a DWI, North Carolina may require the purchase and installation of an ignition interlock device. This connects to the car’s ignition system and requires the driver to pass a breath alcohol test in order to start the car. Tampering with or failing to use this device when required will result in a one-year suspension
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4. Buying alcohol for a minor 

North Carolina takes alcohol-related offenses very seriously—sometimes, you don’t even have to be driving to get in trouble! Attempting to buy alcohol for someone who is under 21 or using a fake ID to buy alcohol can result in a license suspension of up to six months. Additionally, minors with any level of alcohol in their blood while behind the wheel will have their license revoked for a year. 

5. Accumulating too many points within a certain timeframe 

Like many states, North Carolina utilizes the
point system
to keep track of traffic violations on drivers’ records. If you accumulate 12 points within a three-year period or eight points within a three-year period after your license has been reinstated, you will receive a license suspension. This will last 60 days to one year depending on how many suspensions you have already received. 

6. Failing to answer a traffic ticket 

If you get a traffic or parking ticket in North Carolina, you will either need to pay a fine or appear in court by a specified date. Failure to appear or pay the fine will result in an indefinite license suspension

7. Failing to pay child support

It may not seem related, but whether or not you pay child support can impact your driving privileges. Failing to make child support payments for 90 days or more authorizes the Department of Child Support Services to direct the DMV to suspend your license until payment is received. You will get ample warning before this happens, however. 

8. Driving with a suspended or revoked license

If you still drive after your license was suspended for a drug- or alcohol-related offense, you’ll earn yourself an additional suspension or revocation. That’s on top of points, fines, and possible jail time, so do yourself a favor and don’t drive with a suspended license. 

9. Street racing

North Carolina takes street racing pretty seriously. If you engage in street racing or if you bet on or loan out a car for the purpose of street racing, you will face a three-year suspension

10. Failing to maintain North Carolina insurance minimums

You’re required to meet
North Carolina’s insurance requirements
in order to legally be on the road. Failure to provide valid proof of this insurance can result in your license getting suspended until insurance is secured. 

How to save money on car insurance in North Carolina

You don’t want to lose your driving privileges from a lapse in car insurance. With
, you can ensure you’re seamlessly covered while also saving some cash in the process. 
The app is free to use and instantly compares custom quotes from over 50 top insurance companies to track down the lowest rates available for your specific needs. Once you find a plan you like, simply select it through the app, and as a
licensed broker
, Jerry will help you sign up and even help cancel your old policy.  
The average user ends up saving $887 a year on car insurance, so it’s definitely worth a look—especially if a past suspension caused your rates to increase!  
“I have a really bad record, so all of my previous insurance quotes were pretty high. I started using
and the fantastic app saved me $130 a month on my insurance.” —Jett A.
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