For most parents, the sudden realization that their teenager has come of age and is now permitted by the State of North Carolina to operate a motor vehicle with a provisional license is scary.


Once that initial fear fades, many parents find freedom in not chauffeuring their children back and forth to school, sporting events, or after-school and weekend jobs. However, most parents are not acquainted with how the laws have changed in North Carolina for drivers under 18 years old and the significant impact a traffic citation can have on a provisional license.

North Carolina’s provisional licensing stages for teens.

A provisional license allows a teenager to drive in limited circumstances set out in North Carolina’s law. The state uses a graduation system before a teenager can obtain his full license. The stages are:

  • Limited learner’s permit: This permit allows teens to drive from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm with a supervising licensed driver. Once this period has elapsed, they can apply for a limited provisional license if they have no verdict for moving violations, seat belt tickets, or cell phone infractions.
  • Limited provisional license: To get a limited provisional license, a teenager must fulfill all requirements. The limited provisional license allows a teenager to drive without a supervising licensed driver between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, excluding going to and from work.
  • Full provisional license: If there are no violations and the teen has driven an additional 12 hours, with six of the hours being at night, the driver is eligible for a full provisional license. This permits them to drive without supervision or limitations on passengers and with no time-of-day driving restrictions.

What most parents are not aware of during these crucial stages is how a minor traffic violation, i.e., speeding, can cause a driver with a provisional license to have her driving privilege revoked.

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What happens if your teen receives a citation with a provisional license.

If a provisionally licensed driver is cited with a moving violation, there is a possibility that they will receive a revocation notice from the Clerk of Superior Court revoking the driver’s license for 30 days. This becomes an unexpected hardship for many parents as they must make new and last-minute transportation arrangements.

If a teenage driver has a provisional license and receives a moving violation, they can have their license suspended. Here are the standard rules for a provisional license suspension:

  • First offense: The temporary license usually will not be suspended for the first offense.
  • Second offense: If there is a conviction of a second moving offense within 12 months of the first infraction, the teen’s license may be suspended for a specific period.
  • Third offense: A provisional license may be suspended for up to 90 days for a conviction of a third moving offense within 12 months of the first violation.
  • Fourth offense: A fourth conviction of a moving violation within 12 months of the first conviction can result in a six-month suspension.

In addition to parents returning to chauffeuring, a potential suspension, and ticket costs, there will be insurance increases. Insurance for teenage drivers is high enough, so getting points on a provisional license can severely impact a family’s monthly budget.

There are options!

Thankfully, there are options other than just accepting the revocation. The provisional license holder has the right to request a hearing and challenge the 30-day revocation. If properly requested, the hearing must be held within three days before a local magistrate.

These hearings are often successful in immediately reinstating the driver’s provisional license. But there are time restraints limiting when a challenge hearing may be requested and specific forms that must be submitted to get the license reinstated.

Let us help.

Educate yourself about this and know your options! If you or a family member are cited for a moving violation, and the driver only has a provisional license, there is a strong possibility a revocation order revoking that license for 30 days is looming.

You don’t have to go at this alone. Ludlum Law Firm has over 45 years of legal experience handling various legal issues, including traffic tickets, DWI, and criminal defense. We are familiar with the local courts, and our attorneys and professional staff are here to help. The team at Ludlum Law Firm has handled many cases where a provisional licensed driver was issued a moving violation. We will work hard to minimize the damage of the citation and keep points as low as possible

If you are in the Duplin County and Sampson County areas and find yourself in this situation, please contact Ludlum Law Firm to discuss your options.