At NicholsonPham, we pride ourselves our experience with Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) hearings. No matter what type of hearing you may have, we can help prepare you and your witnesses to convince a hearing officer or medical panel that you should prevail. We have experience in all of types of DMV hearings.

  • DWI Refusal Hearings
  • Interlock Hearings
  • Permanent Revocation Restoration Hearings
  • Excessive Speeding Hearings
  • Medical Hearings

Driving in North Carolina is a privilege, not a right. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles can deny you access to the roads by suspending your privilege. Even if you’ve never been licensed by North Carolina, your privilege to drive can be revoked. Typical revocations come from:

  • Speeding too fast
  • Acquiring too many driver’s license points
  • Driving While Impaired (DWI) or Driving After Consuming while Under 21
  • Being convicted of two or more Open Container violations
  • Other problems, such as failing to pay for an accident that was your fault or dropping out of high school

In many cases, the driver is eligible for a DMV Hearing, and NicholsonPham can help you prepare for your hearing and regain your license to drive. NicholsonPham has been invited to teach other North Carolina attorneys about traffic law. Let us use our expertise to help you!


After a first conviction of DWI, the driver’s license is automatically revoked for one year. After two convictions, the license can be revoked for up to four years. After three convictions, the driver’s license can be permanently revoked. Even if you no longer live in North Carolina, a NC revocation can prevent you from being licensed in another state. The NC Division of Motor Vehicles may allow you a hearing to reinstate your driving privilege before the revocation expires. NicholsonPham can represent you if you are facing a four-year revocation or a permanent revocation.

Typically, DWI hearings require witnesses to testify that you are neither abusing drugs nor driving. In many respects, a DWI hearing is like a court proceeding. All witnesses – including you – will be placed under oath and must swear to tell the truth, just like in a courtroom. The hearing will be audio taped, and exhibits can be introduced and shown to the hearing officer who acts as a judge and makes the final decision. The hearing is not open to the public. The witnesses are interviewed individually, and only the hearing officer and your attorney will be able to be present during each interview.

If you are considering requesting a DWI Restoration Hearing after two or more convictions of DWI, here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Am I driving in violation of NC law or the law of the state where I live?
  2. Am I drinking alcohol, even non-alcoholic “beer”?
  3. Is there alcohol in my home?
  4. Do I own a car?
  5. How do I get back and forth to work or school without driving?
  6. Am I an alcoholic?
  7. Who will be willing to come testify for me, and will s/he make a good witness?

NicholsonPham can help you and your witnesses prepare for the questions a hearing officer will ask. During our initial interview, we will go through the process and ask the tough questions designed to determine if you will be successful at a hearing.

If you have pled guilty to Felony Habitual DWI, your license is revoked for at least ten years. If you’ve waited ten years to have a hearing, make sure that you’re prepared to make the most of that opportunity.


When charged with a DWI, every driver will be asked to submit to a test designed to determine the alcohol concentration. The breath machine used in many North Carolina counties requires care in administering the test. Some drivers may not be given enough time or may have health problems preventing them from providing enough breath or an adequate sample.

If the analyst says you refused to take the test, and you do nothing to defend yourself, you will lose your privilege to drive for one year. A DMV Refusal Revocation Hearing can help by presenting evidence that you did not willfully refuse to submit to the test, or the test was done incorrectly and without probable cause.

At a refusal hearing, the arresting officer and the chemical analyst will present testimony of what happened prior to arresting you with DWI and what happened in front of the Intoximeter EC/IR II. A hearing officer will ask the officer(s) questions to determine if the law was followed. You will also have an opportunity to present evidence.

In a refusal situation, NicholsonPham will go through the process with you step by step to determine if you have a valid case for contesting the refusal revocation. Each fact scenario is very different. The consequences of a refusal are severe. Call the attorneys at NicholsonPham to talk about your particular situation.


If your license to drive has been conditionally restored by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles following certain types of DWI convictions, an interlock device will be placed on your car’s ignition. If the interlock device registers alcohol when you are driving the car or trying to start the car, the company will report the violation to the NC DMV, and your license will be revoked unless you can explain the problem at a DMV Hearing. NicholsonPham can help you at your Interlock hearing.

We know what type of evidence is available and how to get it directly from the interlock company We can work with you to prepare for this type of hearing and to present a good case to the hearing officer.

In order to prevent false readings, we strongly encourage all drivers with the interlock device to carry a bottle of water in the car. Rinse your mouth out with fresh water before blowing into the device each time. Trace amounts of alcohol are in many types of food and beverages and mouth contaminants are a big cause of false readings. And, if there’s ANY possibility that you could register alcohol, don’t get in the car to drive. Remember that sleep does not automatically reset the body's alcohol concentration level to zero.


If you have been convicted of speeding in North Carolina or in another state, your NC license can be suspended for up to one year. It is not unusual for a North Carolina driver to simply "pay off" an out of state ticket in order to prevent having to show up to court in a faraway courtroom. Remember, paying off a ticket means pleading guilty! Don’t pay off an out of state speeding ticket without checking with our attorneys first!

Even pleading guilty to 16 miles over the speed limit (81 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone) can revoke your license.

If you have been convicted of excessive speeding, and you’ve received a letter from the DMV, give us a call at NicholsonPham. We can discuss the facts of your case to determine if you are eligible for a DMV hearing and what evidence we could present to help you win back your privilege to drive or reduce the revocation period.


North Carolina will sometimes allow a driver to obtain a limited driving privilege even if her/his license has been revoked. Under certain conditions, a driver can petition a judge to sign a limited driving privilege to drive to work and to school for some DWI revocations, excessive speeding convictions, even pleading guilty to driving while license revoked. If you have a limited driving privilege, make sure you understand the conditions.

If your license is revoked, and you do not understand why, call to make an appointment to talk with an attorney about a DMV Assessment. NicholsonPham can obtain a copy of your certified driving record and go through it with you to explain, step by step, how you might be able to drive legally again. In many cases, drivers plead guilty to moving violations during periods of revocations – thus triggering even longer revocation periods under previous North Carolina law.

A Motion for Appropriate Relief to undo the old judgment might help to reinstate your driver’s license. Our goal is to put you back in the driver’s seat – legally and safely.

The most important thing to remember is not to drive until we can fix the problem! Continuing to drive while your license is revoked puts you in danger of further revocation and jail time. If your license is revoked because of an alcohol-type revocation (like DWI), pleading guilty to Driving While License Revoked can put you in jail for up to four months!

Call: (919) 883-4900