Reinstating drivers licenses in Ohio is a procedure that must be completed by drivers with revoked or suspended drivers licenses who would like to resume their driving activities within the state. When the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) administers a drivers license suspension, the affected driver will be required to meet certain reinstatement requirements to restore his or her license.

The process to reinstate drivers licenses in OH varies based on the committed offense and the type and severity of the corresponding penalty. In addition to meeting the MVC drivers license reinstatement criteria, motorists may be required to satisfy certain court conditions as well. Learn how to complete the Ohio drivers license restoration procedure in the following sections.

Reinstating an Ohio Suspended License

To successfully reinstate driving licenses in Ohio, motorists will be required to complete several steps, which vary based on the type of penalty that was incurred. Since driving with a suspended license is against the law, drivers must complete the reinstatement procedure when eligible in order to avoid further penalties.

To inform drivers of their impending driving license suspension and how to lift it, the state BMV generally mails out official suspension notices. Drivers penalized with certain types of suspended or revoked drivers licenses in OH may also have the option of requesting an administrative hearing, which will offer them an opportunity to plead their case.

How to Reinstate an Ohio Suspended Drivers License

Before initiating the Ohio driving license restoration process, penalized drivers must ensure they meet the conditions of their suspension or revocation penalty. Certain steps in the process to reinstate suspended drivers licenses, such as paying the driving license reinstatement fees can be completed online, by mail, by phone and in person through a local BMV location.

When reinstating drivers licenses in OH, motorists will generally be required to complete several steps, such as:

  • Serving the period of driving license suspension or revocation.
  • Presenting official identification documents (if restoring in person).
  • Paying the total amount of OH driving license restoration costs.
  • Submitting proof of insurance (if required).
  • Meeting any requirements set forth by the state courts.
  • Completing an alcohol and/or drug treatment program (if required).
  • Reapplying for a new OH drivers license (if required).

Since the state BMV reviews requests to reinstate driving licenses in OH on a case-by-case basis, you may also be required to complete certain steps specific to your circumstances. If you stopped meeting your child support obligations, for instance, you will be unable to reinstate your credential until you meet the requirements set forth by the child services agency.

Suspension Periods in Ohio

Before initiating the process of reinstating driving licenses in Ohio, drivers will typically be required to wait out a specific penalty period. The duration of the OH driving license suspension or revocation period generally varies based on the type of violation that was committed.

More serious infractions are sanctioned with revoked and suspended drivers licenses of a longer duration. Review several reasons leading to drivers license revocations and suspensions and the duration of the resulting penalty periods in the following list:

  • Accumulating 12 or more demerit points on your record: A driving license suspension of six months.
  • Driving with a suspended license in Ohio: An additional suspension of one year.
  • Failing to provide proof of OH car insurance coverage for the second time: A 12-month driving license suspension.
  • A first offense of Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI) of alcohol and/or drugs: A license suspension of six months to three years.

Apart from the definite OH drivers license suspensions outlined above, the BMV also issues suspension and revocation penalties of an indefinite nature. If you were suspended due to a mental or physical debilitating condition, for instance, your driving license will remain suspended until your physician submits an official statement to the BMV that confirms your ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Ohio Point System

Drivers may also incur driving license suspensions in Ohio by accruing a large number of demerit points on their driving records. Per the provisions of the BMV point system, traffic violations committed within the state result in a specific number of penalty points. More serious violations incur a larger amount of points than minor offenses.

The DMV in OH issues suspended driving license for the duration of six months to drivers who accumulate 12 or more points within a two-year period. As a warning of an impending OH drivers license suspension for an excess of demerit points, the bureau mails out a notice to drivers who accumulate six points within a 24-month period.

The following list reviews several types of traffic infractions and their resulting point penalties:

  • Committing a moving violation: 2 demerit points.
  • Reckless driving: 4 negative points.
  • Committing homicide while operating a motor vehicle: 6 penalty points.
  • Eluding a law enforcement official: 6 demerit points.

Note: To obtain the full list of traffic violations and their point penalties, contact a local office of the OH BMV.

Motorists who were penalized with an OH suspended drivers license for an excess of demerit points will be able to complete the driving license reinstatement process after completing a six-month penalty period. Other reinstatement requirements include: completing the BMV Remedial Driving Course, filing a certificate of insurance and retaking the driver’s license exams.

Traffic School in Ohio

Certain types of driving license suspensions in Ohio may be avoided by completing a state-approved defensive driving program. Drivers at risk of a suspended driving license for an excess of points, for example, can complete the BMV Remedial Driving Course (RDC) and earn a two-point credit. Note that motorists who successfully finalize the driving course will be unable to remove points or erase a conviction from their driving records.

Drivers who would like to avoid a drivers license suspension in OH by completing an approved driver course must ensure they meet the requirements to enroll in one. Only applicants with more than one and less than 12 demerit points who have not participated in the program within the last three years are eligible to sign up for the RD course.

Types of Ohio Driver’s License Suspensions

The state BMV issues driving license suspensions in Ohio that vary based on the type and severity of the driving or non-driving offense. Minor offenses generally result in suspended drivers licenses of a shorter duration. Severe violations, in comparison, may even lead to permanent driving license revocations.

The requirements to reinstate driving licenses in OH consequently differ based on the type of penalty administered by the bureau. Several violations leading to different drivers license suspensions are reviewed in the following list:

  • Failure to appear at court or pay a court fine.
  • Violating a license restriction.
  • Committing vehicular manslaughter.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Failure to maintain the proper car insurance policy in OH.

In addition to drivers license revocations and suspensions, the state DMV also administers credential cancellations. Drivers who provide false information during the license application process or alter their credential may have their driving privileges canceled. In such circumstances, you will be required to prove your eligibility to hold an OH driving license by retaking the mandatory driving exams.

Ohio DUI Suspensions

The state BMV administers stricter drivers license suspensions in Ohio for Operating a Vehicle While Impaired (OVI) offenses due to the negative impact of alcohol and/or drugs on the drivers’ overall safety. In addition to penalties of suspended driving licenses issued by the bureau, OVI offenders are also subject to certain court-imposed sanctions.

When issuing driving license suspensions for OVI violations, the DMV takes into consideration several factors. Repeat offenders, for instance, are penalized with harsher penalties. Also, revoked drivers licenses in OH of indefinite duration may be issued to drivers who commit vehicular homicide while under the influence of intoxicating substances.

Drivers Older Than 21

Reinstating suspended drivers licenses in Ohio from an alcohol and/or drugs-related offense is a process that varies based on the type and severity of the penalties administered by the OH BMV and the state courts. Per state law, OH drivers license suspensions are handed down to motorists apprehended while driving a vehicle with a BAC level of .08 or higher.

Suspended drivers licenses may also be incurred by refusing to submit to a BAC test, regardless of whether or not you were intoxicated at the moment. The following list outlines several types of OVI-related violations in OH and their corresponding penalties:

  • First OVI convictions result in a driving license suspension of six to 36 months and a jail sentence of 72 hours.
  • Second convictions of OVI infractions lead to suspensions of one to five years and a 10-day jail sentence.
  • Third offenses result in suspended driving licenses of one to 10 years and at least a 30-day imprisonment sentence.
  • Fourth or subsequent OVI convictions may result in a permanent drivers license revocation in OH, as well as a jail sentence of 60 days.

Note: Convictions of more than three OVI offenses within a six-year period are treated as felony offenses.

In addition to the penalties of suspended or revoked driving licenses outlined above, drivers who commit a drug or/and alcohol-related offense will be required to pay a fine ranging from $375 to $10,500. Also, motorists who commit five or more OVI offenses will be placed on the state Habitual OVI Offender Registry.

When completing the OH drivers license restoration after an OVI offense, drivers will be required to pay a driving license reinstatement fee of $475 and submit proof of valid OH car liability insurance.

Drivers Younger Than 21

When issuing suspended drivers licenses in Ohio to motorists younger than 21 years of age who have committed an OVI offense, the bureau follows stricter rules and regulations. Young drivers can incur a drivers license suspension even if their chemical test reveals a BAC level of .02 percent.

If you commit an operating a vehicle after underage consumption (OVUAC) offense, you may be penalized with a suspended driving license for the duration of 60 days to two years. When reinstating driving licenses in OH after an OVUAC violation, offenders may be required to complete the state-approved defensive driver course and retake the mandatory driving exams.

Car Insurance Suspensions in Ohio

The procedure to reinstate suspended drivers licenses in Ohio must also be completed by motorists who were penalized for failing to provide proof of minimum vehicle liability coverage. To avoid a no-insurance driving license suspension in OH, drivers must maintain car coverage of at least $25,000 for property damages and $25,000 to $50,000 for injuries or death.

While suspended driving licenses issued for a first no-insurance offense can be reinstated at any time by meeting the suspension requirements, subsequent offenses will require the completion of a certain penalty period. The OH drivers license suspension for a second non-compliance offense within five years of the first, for instance, lasts for 12 consecutive months.

Third and subsequent offenses incur a two-year suspension penalty. When reinstating suspended driving licenses in OH after a no-insurance infraction, drivers will be required to pay a certain fine and submit the SR-22 Certificate of Insurance.

To ensure that OH drivers abide by the state insurance laws, the BMV conducts regular inspections through the BMV Random Selection Program (RSP). If you receive the bureau’s RSP letter, you will be required to provide the necessary proof of OH car insurance policy in order to avoid the suspension penalty.

Traffic Summons or Failure to Pay

Ohio driving license suspensions may also be incurred by failing to respond to a traffic ticket in time. Suspended driving licenses issued as a result of unpaid tickets are administered by request of the court that is handling the issue.

Depending on the severity of the violation and the specific county court that is processing your ticket, the payable fines may vary. To avoid a drivers license suspension, motorists will be required to provide the fine payment by the date displayed on the ticket. Depending on the practices of the presiding court, drivers may be able to pay their citations via several methods, such as online, in person or by mail.

Another method to avoid a suspended drivers license after receiving a traffic ticket is to contest the issue via trial. If you win the case, the court will dismiss the ticket and no points will be added to your driving record.

Note: Per the provisions of the Nonresident Violator Compact agreement, OH drivers who fail to settle a traffic citation incurred outside of the state are still subject to BMV license suspensions.

Ohio Hardship Drivers License

Drivers who are currently penalized with an Ohio driving license suspension have the option of applying for limited driving privileges, which will allow them to travel to and from specific locations, such as work, school or medical institutions. Instead of requesting a separate hardship license, eligible motorists will be able to continue operating their vehicle using their suspended credentials, albeit with certain restrictions.

Note that not all motorists with suspended driving licenses qualify for limited driving privileges in OH. Prior to submitting your request, ensure that you:

  • Were not penalized with any other OH drivers license suspension.
  • Have a legitimate need for restricted driving privileges.
  • Have valid vehicle insurance coverage and an unexpired license to drive.
  • Are not required to pay any court-imposed fines or costs.

Applying for an Ohio Hardship License

While completing the penalty period of their suspended drivers licenses in Ohio, motorists can submit their request for limited driving privileges at any time through their county’s court. During their office visit, drivers will be required to fill out an application form, submit several types of documents and information and pay a specific filing fee. Applicants are typically required to present their current driver’s license, proof of insurance, copy of their driving record and proof of a valid driving need, such as an official letter from an employer.

Drivers serving an OH driving license suspension who were approved for limited driving privileges will be informed by the corresponding court of the times and places where they are authorized to drive a vehicle. The authorization will be issued in the form of a court order that bears the official court seal. If your driving license expires, you will be able to renew it only if you obtain an official court order allowing you to do so.

Fees to Reinstate an Ohio Drivers License

An important step in the Ohio drivers license reinstatement process is to provide payment for several types of reinstatement fees. The total driving license restoration costs may include fees due to the MVC, as well as certain court-imposed fees.

The base MVC cost to reinstate drivers licenses in OH varies depending on the type and severity of the incurred suspension or revocation. Review several types of OH driving license suspensions and the costs to lift them in the following list:

  • Reinstating after failure to maintain your child support payments: $25.
  • Non-Resident Violator Compact Suspension: $30.
  • Reinstating after a point-related suspension: $40.
  • A first offense for failing to provide proof of insurance: $100.

Prior to reinstating suspended drivers licenses in OH, motorists may be required to provide payments to entities other than the bureau, as part of their reinstatement criteria. If you were suspended for failing to pay a traffic ticket in due time, for instance, you will first be required to settle the issue with the corresponding court prior to submitting your license restoration request.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.