If you have been arrested for drinking and driving, your immediate concern may be the possibility of going to jail. Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drug is a criminal offense, and can result in a period of incarceration in Ohio. Yet one of the most difficult consequences of this type of charge is often a license suspension.
Under Ohio law, your driver’s license can be suspended for anywhere from 90 days to 5 years if you are arrested for or convicted of operating a vehicle while impaired, or if you refuse to take a chemical test after being arrested. During this time, you cannot drive unless you request and are granted limited driving privileges. Once you have served the term of your suspension, you may apply for reinstatement of your license.
Losing your license can have a significant impact on your ability to earn a living, take care of your family, and other aspects of your life. If you have been charged with OVI in Ohio, a seasoned Mason, OH OVI attorney can advocate for your rights. Read on to learn more about license suspensions in OVI cases — and how you can get your license back.
In Ohio, if you operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, you may be charged with Operating a Vehicle Impaired, or OVI. In most states, this criminal offense is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI), which is why you may seen an OVI referred to as a DUI.
There are two types of penalties that may be imposed in OVI cases. First, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will suspend your driver’s license if you are charged with an OVI as a result of a BAC test over .08 grams, or if you refuse to take a chemical breath, blood, or urine test after being arrested on suspicion of OVI. Second, if you plead guilty to or are convicted of an OVI, you will face criminal penalties, including jail time, steep fines and fees, and a license suspension. The administrative penalties are separate from any consequences that you may face from a conviction for OVI.
The length of an administrative license suspension imposed by the BMV can be anywhere from 90 days to 5 years. This depends upon a number of factors, including the number of previous OVI arrests, refusals, and/or convictions and the seriousness of the charge. For example, if you refuse to take a chemical test for the first time, then the BMV will administratively suspend your driver’s license for a period of one year. A first time low level OVI (with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 to .16%) will result in a license suspension of 90 days.
In most cases, you will be able to get limited driving privileges to allow you to drive to work, school, and other places after a set period of time. These privileges must be requested from the court. The court order will specify why, when, and where you are allowed to drive.
The ability to get your driver’s license back after an Ohio OVI will vary based on what happened in the underlying case. For any license suspension, you will need to apply with the Ohio BMV and pay a reinstatement fee of $475.
If you refused to take a chemical test after an arrest, then your license suspension will begin immediately. A law enforcement officer can seize your license on the spot. At the end of the suspension period — which may be as much as four times as long compared to suspensions for individuals who did not refuse — you can apply to have your license reinstated. To do so, you will need to pay the reinstatement fee and provide proof of insurance.
Importantly, even if the OVI case is dismissed or you are found not guilty, an administrative license suspension will continue if you refuse a chemical breath or blood test. Ohio’s implied consent law means that you are considered to have consented to a chemical test if you are arrested on suspicion of OVI. A refusal will lead to separate penalties imposed by the BMV from those imposed by a judge in the actual OVI court case.
If you did not refuse to take a chemical test, then you will be able to get your license back immediately if you are not found guilty of an OVI. The administrative suspension will be cancelled and your driving privileges will be restored without paying a reinstatement fee.
However, if you are convicted of an OVI, then you will need to apply for reinstatement of your license after the suspension period is over. Again, you will need to show proof of insurance and pay the $475 reinstatement fee.
The BMV does allow individuals whose licenses have been suspended to enroll in a payment plan if they meet certain requirements. To qualify, you must owe at least $150.00 in reinstatement fees, meet the requirements for your license to be reinstated, be able to show proof of insurance, not be under suspension or have pending suspensions, and not be on a court-ordered payment plan. These payment plans require you to pay a minimum of $50 per month.
Getting an OVI may not seem like that big of a deal, until you understand the full scope of consequences that you may face. Losing your license for an extended period of time can be challenging — even if you are able to get limited driving privileges. Getting your license reinstated after your suspension is complete is not difficult — but it is expensive.
At Engel and Martin, we have experience handling OVI cases as both prosecutors and now as defense attorneys. We use our knowledge of the law and the OVI process to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with a Mason, OH OVI attorney, call our office at 513-445-9600 or email us anytime.