An arrest and charges of operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) also come with a driver’s license suspension.
When this happens, you likely have a lot of questions. How long does a license suspension last? How will you get to work or the grocery store? Can you fight the charges? How can you get your license back?
We’re here to answer these questions, and more. Keep reading to find out what you need to know after an OVI-related driver’s license suspension.
Types of Suspensions
There are two types of OVI-related driver’s license suspensions: administrative license suspension (ALS) and a court-ordered suspension. Let’s look at both in depth.
Administrative License Suspension (ALS)
This type of suspension occurs in each of these scenarios:
- You took a chemical test, and you tested at or above the legal limit (.08), or
- You were pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, and refused to take a chemical (Breathalyzer) test.
If a chemical test shows that your blood alcohol content (BAC) reached or went over the legal limit, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license for 90 days. In addition, this penalty will include what’s known as a “hard suspension” of 15 days. The “hard suspension” is a mandatory waiting period, and you won’t be able to get any driving privileges for 15 days from the date of your arrest.
If you refuse a chemical test, the BMV can still suspend your license. The BMV is authorized to do this because Ohio considers driving a privilege and has an “implied consent” law. This “implied consent” law means that you are legally required to agree to a chemical test in exchange for driving privileges. Refusing the test is against the law, and the penalty is a one-year administrative license suspension. The penalty also includes a hard suspension of 30 days: you won’t be able to get any driving privileges for 30 days from the date of your arrest.
This type of suspension occurs after conviction of an OVI. Depending on the charges, a judge can suspend your license from six months (the mandatory minimum) up to three years. If you tested at or above .08 BAC, this means your license suspension will increase. If you refused to take the chemical test, this means your license suspension could decrease or increase, depending on the circumstances (since the original penalty was one year).
After the hard suspension is over, it is possible to get limited driving privileges during an ALS or court-ordered suspension. However, driving privileges aren’t guaranteed. The privileges you might get, if any, depend heavily on the judge’s interpretation of the law and your case.
Often, driving privileges are limited in scope. This means you may not be allowed to drive except to:
- Go to work
- Attend to college or vocational school
- Receive medical treatment
- Attend court-ordered treatment
- Take a driver’s license exam
If your OVI case is ongoing, you can also ask the court to “stay” the administrative license suspension (put it on hold). This would let you drive until your case is resolved. However, if you are convicted of an OVI, the judge would issue a court-ordered suspension of your license
Can You Challenge an ALS?
Yes, you can file an appeal within 30 days of your initial appearance. (The initial appearance must occur within 5 days of your arrest.)
You can successfully challenge an ALS in one of two ways:
- Prove that the necessary legal procedures to impose an ALS were not followed in your case
- Prove that the ALS was wrongfully imposed
If you prove to the court that the ALS was issued illegally or wrongfully, the license suspension would be void.
Getting Your License Back
There are several ways that you can get your license back, depending on the circumstances. (Note that if you refused to take a chemical test, this is a separate offense, and your license will remain suspended whether or not you are convicted of an OVI.)
- You didn’t refuse the chemical test, and you are found not guilty of an OVI
- You are convicted of OVI and serve the court-ordered suspension
When your license is suspended, it is destroyed. To get your license back, the BMV requires a $475 reinstatement fee. If you don’t have this amount, you can apply for the BMV’s Reinstatement Fee Plan. This plan is $50 per month.
If your charges are dropped or you are found not guilty, your ALS should be eliminated. We recommend consulting with an attorney before paying the reinstatement fee in this case.
Contact Us Today
Being charged with an OVI and having your license suspended is frustrating and scary. Casper & Casper is here to help.
Our firm’s skilled and experienced OVI attorneys can answer your questions, advise you of your options, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. For help with your OVI and license suspension, call us today.