While some motorists regard driving as a basic right, the fact is that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that must be earned and maintained by demonstrating safe and lawful driving. Under certain circumstances, an individual's Ohio driver's license may be suspended or revoked for a specific length of time, depending on the person's driving record or history, and the particular violation(s).
REASONS FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS
There are a variety of reasons why your Ohio driver's license might be suspended. Some of these are related to specific driving violations, while others may be due to violation of other State laws. Following are some of the most common reasons for an Ohio driver's license to be suspended or revoked.
- Driving Under the Influence. If you drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% you are considered to be legally drunk. Your Ohio driver's license will be suspended if you are found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you fail a breath test, you will be subject to an Administrative License Suspension (ALS), which means you will lose your right to drive for a period of between 90 days and five years, depending on your driving record. Your license will be confiscated on the spot. You may also face further punishment in court.
- Refusal to take a breath or urine test. For refusing to take a breath or urine test when requested, your license will be suspended for between one year and five years. You will still need to take the test and face further punishment depending on the result.
- Excessive Moving Violations. Like most other States, Ohio operates a point system, in which drivers accumulate points on their license for every moving violation that they commit. If you accumulate 12 or more points in a two year period, your license will be suspended for six months. Following suspension, you will need to retake the driving test after taking a remedial driving course.
- Driving while suspended. If you are caught driving while your license is suspended, you are guilty of a first degree misdemeanor and will face a possible $1,000 fine and six months in jail. You may also be suspended for another year.
- Driving without insurance. Your license will be suspended if you drive without insurance or cause an accident while uninsured.
- Physical or Psychological Disqualification. The BMV can order a re-examination of any person who may not be fit to drive. An individual's driving privileges may be suspended if the re-examination finds they are physically or psychologically unable to drive safely.
- Non-driving related offenses. Your Ohio driver license can also be suspended for a number of non-driving related offenses, such as bringing a weapon onto school property, failure to appear in court on bond and having unsatisfied civil judgments, not responding to a BMV notice or not appearing in court; failing to pay traffic tickets, fines or surcharges; and not paying child support.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR OHIO DRIVER'S LICENSE IS SUSPENDED
Having your Ohio driver's license suspended is a serious matter and it is essential to adhere to state law in the event that your license is suspended. Depending on the reason for your license suspension, you may be eligible to apply for limited driving privileges in a municipal, county or mayor's court to enable you to drive to and from work or school.
If you believe your license may be suspended due to one of the reasons listed above it is advisable to speak with a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer.
APPEALING A SUSPENSION
If you refuse to take a BAC test, or are above the legal limit, you may appeal within five days of the arrest. But you need to prove that either the arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds for requesting a test, or the officer did not request that you take the test, or the officer did not advise you of the consequences of failing or not taking the test or you maintain that you did not refuse or fail the test. You may also request that a qualified person of your choosing give you the test again - but this must be done within two hours of the arrest.
If you receive a Notice of Scheduled Suspension from the BMV, and you wish to challenge the suspension, you may request a hearing in court. An administrative law judge will hear your case, and determine whether your driver's license should be suspended or not. In addition, drivers whose license may be suspended due to accumulating excessive points may be eligible to enroll in a Driver Improvement Program. Completing a Driver Improvement Program removes two points from the current driving record if you have 2-11 points, and in some cases can enable an individual to avoid having his license suspended.
It is also a good idea to seek the advice of a traffic ticket lawyer or a DUI-DWI lawyer, based on the reason for the suspension.
RESTORING YOUR LICENSE
You will need to show Proof of Identity when reinstating your license, which you can do in person at one of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles authorized offices. Depending on the type of the violation, you also need to complete all action ordered by the court and present proof of insurance at the end of the suspension period.
Reinstatement fees vary depending on the reason for suspension - full list of the reinstatement fees is available here.