Getting a driver’s license is the ultimate highlight in the life of most teenagers.

North Carolina traffic laws make it easier to break young driver’s hearts all over the state. Most 16- and 17-year olds would disagree, but North Carolina General Statute 20-13.3 logically addresses the problem of speeding among young teenage drivers.

North Carolina Law (implemented in 2012) provides that 16 and 17-year-old provisional licensees charged with certain offenses will automatically lose their license for 30 days.

Qualifying Charges:

The revocation applies to 16 and 17-year-old provisional licensees charged with a criminal moving violation.

Some pertinent examples include:

  • S. 20-140: Reckless driving
  • S. 20-141(j1): Speeding more than 15 mph over the limit or more than 80 mph
  • S. 20-141(j3): Speeding in a commercial motor vehicle carrying a load that is subject to the permitting requirements of G.S. 20-119 and (i) driving 15 mph or more over the posted speed, or (ii) driving 15 mph or more over the permitted speed
  • S. 20-141.3: Operating a motor vehicle willfully in a prearranged speed competition, or operating a motor vehicle willfully in speed competition, or allowing one’s vehicle to be operated in a prearranged speed competition or wagering on a prearranged speed competition.
  • G.S. 20-141.6: Aggressive driving
  • G.S. 20-157(a), (h), (i): Failing to move over for law enforcement or emergency vehicle giving warning signal or violating G.S. 20-157 and causing damage to property or injury or violating G.S. 20-157 and causing severe injury or death.

Revocation procedure.

If law enforcement has a reasonable belief that a 16 or 17-year-old provisional driver has committed one of the offenses listed and then charges that person with that offense, that person is subject to the 30-day license revocation. The critical thing to note here is that the license is revoked before any conviction is obtained. Simply being charged is the triggering factor.

Next comes the part that may prove most frightening. The driver must be taken, by the charging officer, before a judicial official who will determine whether the requirements for revocation are present and then order the revocation.

Here is an example of how this will play out. A 17-year-old gets clocked in Sampson County, speeding 81 mph in a 70-mph zone as he hurries to get home before curfew. Under 20-13.3, the officer is to place the 17-year-old in his police car and drive him to the magistrate’s office to appear before a judicial official. Technically this is not an arrest, but a ride in a police car to the magistrate’s office would likely be just as scary as an arrest to a young teen.

Revocation period.

Once the magistrate determines that the facts qualify the driver for revocation, the young driver loses his driving privilege for 30 days. The driver actually keeps his physical plastic license, but he is prohibited from driving for 30 days. Keep in mind that getting caught driving during these 30 days could pose BIG problems.

There are no fees or fines assessed for this revocation, and no reinstatement fee is required after the 30-day revocation. The driver is not entitled to any limited driving privilege or work license. The driver is not assessed any insurance or license points for the revocation period. Plain and simple, the driver is punished by being forced to endure a trip to the magistrate’s office and then losing his driving privilege for a month.

It’s obvious this law is not intended to hit young drivers (or their parents) in their pockets by increasing insurance rates or through fines.

This law seems designed to scare young drivers into line, and we actually hope it does as we want to keep all of our young drivers safe on the road!

If you or your teen has received a speeding ticket Clinton, Kenansville, Warsaw, or other Duplin County or Sampson County, please contact Ludlum Law Firm!