Per the rules of the Ohio driver point system, motorists accrue demerit points within the state when a traffic violation conviction is reported on their driving records. The amount of OH penalty points assigned by the state Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) varies based on the severity of the committed offense. Serious violations will also result in court-imposed criminal penalties. Learn more about the state point system and the process of fighting a speeding ticket in Ohio in the following sections:
- Moving violations and points in Ohio
- Penalties in Ohio
- How to fix a driving record in Ohio
- Disputing a moving violation charge in Ohio
Moving Violations and Points in Ohio
When assessing moving violation points in Ohio, the BMV follows the rules and regulations of the state demerit point system. More serious offenses incur a larger amount of driving points than minor offenses. Note that, in addition to the accumulation of infraction points, certain more serious offenses may also result in immediate license suspensions. Review several offenses and their corresponding OH demerit point penalties in the following list:
- Violating a restriction placed on your driving license: 2 points.
- Driving with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other individuals: 4 reckless driving points.
- Failure to stop and disclose your identity after a collision: 6 car accident points.
- Committing a homicide with a motor vehicle: 6 points.
- Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs: 6 DUI points.
Note: The amount of speeding ticket points you accrue after violating the state speeding laws varies based on the speed limit in the area where the offense was committed and how many miles per hour over the limit you were traveling.
Drivers who accrue six moving violation points in Ohio within any two-year period will receive a warning notice from the BMV of a potential driving license suspension. If you accumulate 12 or more penalty points within the same time period, you will be penalized with a six-month driving license suspension.
Penalties in Ohio
In addition to the accumulation of Ohio demerit points on your driver's record and a potential administrative traffic ticket penalty, you may also be subject to certain court-imposed penalties. While minor offenses only result in a specific traffic ticket fine, more serious offenses may even result in severe criminal penalties. For instance, the DUI penalties issued to drivers who commit an operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) offense within the state generally include:
- An administrative suspension of driving privileges.
- A court-imposed driving license suspension.
- A specific jail sentence.
- A steep traffic ticket fine.
- A forfeiture of the motor vehicle.
- A court-ordered drug and/or alcohol assessment and treatment program.
Note: When issuing DWI penalties in Ohio, the state BMV takes into consideration the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) level, the presence of any previous OVI convictions and whether or not he or she has committed vehicular homicide while intoxicated.
How to Fix a Driving Record in Ohio
Even if the option to directly reduce license points in Ohio by enrolling in a defensive driving course is not currently available, drivers can still earn a two-point credit by participating in a BMV remedial driving course. If you earn these two safe driving points in OH, the bureau will utilize them to reduce the number of demerit points you would accrue from future convictions. Note that drivers can enroll in a driver improvement course for purposes of earning a two-point credit only once within a three-year period for a total of up to five times in a lifetime. Also, you must not have more than 11 OH penalty points on your record when utilizing this method of keeping a clean record.
Note: Certain courts may also offer the option of a ticket dismissal to drivers who complete a traffic school course within the state. Check with your presiding court to learn if you are eligible to do so.
Disputing a Moving Violation Charge in Ohio
Fighting a speeding ticket in Ohio or another type of citation is a process that can be initiated by submitting a plea of "not guilty" to the court that is processing your ticket. The methods available to inform the court of your decision to contest traffic tickets may vary based on the specific court practices. Regardless of the chosen method, you must generally initiate the process to dispute a speeding ticket in OH or another type of citation prior to or on the date displayed on your ticket. After scheduling your trial date, you can start preparing your defense strategy. To increase your chances of successfully contesting a traffic ticket, you can hire an experienced lawyer at this stage.
When appealing a traffic ticket in Ohio in front of a judge, ensure to submit any evidence that supports your case and call on any relevant witnesses. After hearing the testimony of both parties, the judge will render his or her decision. Drivers who fail to successfully dispute a speeding ticket or another type of citation will receive the appropriate traffic violation penalties and the conviction will be reported on their driving transcripts.
Note: Depending on your circumstances, you may be granted the option to resolve your traffic ticket issue during a pretrial conference with the state prosecutor.