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Administrative Review Hearing for DUI in North Carolina

Any person, who is convicted of an implied consent offense including DUI, is required by statute to have their license revoked for at least one year.  For any revocation under this statute, the hearing process laid out in the implied consent statute applies to review.  Once the person receives notice that his or her license will be revoked, they have until the effective date of revocation to request a review hearing in writing.   The person has the right to subpoena any party they deem necessary, including the charging officer and chemical analyst.  This hearing will not determine with guilt or innocence of the offense, but is limited to a determination as to whether:

-  The person was charged with an implied consent offense or the driver had an alcohol concentration restriction on the driver’s license pursuant to G.S. 20‑19;

-   A law enforcement officer had reasonable grounds to believe that the person had committed an implied consent offense or violated the alcohol concentration restriction on the driver’s license;

-  The implied consent offense charged involved death or critical injury to another person, if this allegation is in the affidavit;

-  The person was notified of the person’s rights as required by the implied consent statute; and

-  The person willfully refused to submit to a chemical analysis.

If these conditions are met, the Division has no discretion as to whether to sustain the revocation; it is required by statute to do so.

There is no right to appeal the decision of the Division except upon a finding that the driver willfully refused an implied consent test.   However, if the person requested a hearing before the Division and the Division held a hearing, the person may within 30 days of the date the Division’s decision is mailed to the person, petition the superior court of the county in which the hearing took place for discretionary review on the record of the revocation.

The superior court may stay the imposition of the revocation for up to 30 days if the court finds that the person is likely to succeed on the merits of the case and will suffer irreparable harm if such a stay is not granted.  The reviewing court shall review the record only and shall be limited to determining if the Division hearing officer followed proper procedures and if the hearing officer made sufficient findings of fact to support the revocation. This is a very limited appeal, and it is the only appeal that is allowed under North Carolina law.

Determining which procedures pertain to each case can be a daunting task, as it requires the simultaneous reading of multiple North Carolina statutes.  Any driver seeking review of his or her administrative revocation should consult an attorney familiar with North Carolina DUI laws.


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