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DUI Driver's License Suspension

Warning: You have 30 days to request an Administrative License Suspension Hearing with the Ohio BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) from the date of the suspension notice.


When your Ohio driver's license is suspended following a DUI arrest, you will likely have very few options when it comes to handling your daily responsibilities in a practical manner. Not having access to a car can make things extremely difficult for residents who rely on a car to commute for work, school, play, emergencies, and other daily tasks.

One of the key steps towards keeping your license is the OVI revocation hearing. This is an administrative hearing and the outcome does not impact your criminal trial. Even if you win your DUI criminal case, your driver's license may still be revoked unless contested during the administrative revocation hearing, making this an important hearing to become involved in.

Although it may seem unnecessary to attend as it is optional, considering the low standard of proof required by the prosecution, there is a possibility that if you approach this aspect of your case in the proper manner, you may be able to keep your license. Since your driver's license is suspended automatically following a DUI arrest, you have nothing to lose by making an effort to regain it during the license suspension hearing. This hearing can even help your defense attorney gain insight to use for your criminal trial.

Ohio DUI License Suspension Lawyer

The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm have a great deal of experience in Ohio BMV license suspension hearings and can confidently fight on your behalf. They understand the procedure unique to this aspect of your case. In the event you tested positive for a high blood alcohol content level (BAC), they have a deep understanding of the science behind chemical testing to find any weaknesses in the case made against you.

Our drunk driving defense lawyers understand the immense burden that suspension of your driving privileges may pose. This is why they provide critical legal counsel in both the criminal and administrative aspects of your case. They represent men and women across Central Ohio, including the cities of Hamilton, Sharonville, Fairfield, Norwood, Lebanon and Pickerington, among others.

To schedule a time to discuss your case one on one with an ALS lawyer in Cincinnati, please call (513) 339-6289 or send an online message today using the contact form on this website.


Ohio Criminal and Administrative Rules on DUI Driver's License Suspension


When Does a Driver's License Suspension for DUI Occur?

During a traffic stop, there is a possibility that the law enforcement officer will ask you to take a chemical test if they believe that you may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although they 'ask' you to take the test, it is mandatory under Ohio's "implied consent" law.

Under §4511.191 of the Ohio Revised Criminal Code, this law states that any person driving on Ohio roads or highways have implied their consent to take a chemical alcohol content test if asked. If the person refuses to take the test, there will be an automatic administrative license suspension enforced. The responding police or highway patrol officer can even take your license on the spot if you refuse. They may request a warrant to take a blood sample by force.


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How Long Will a Driver's License be Suspended by the BMV After an OVI?

The length of your administrative license suspension is dependent on many factors, including the amount of times you have previously refused to take a chemical test, if you have a history of testing positive with a BAC above the legal limit, and whether or not you are of legal drinking age.

The license penalties for refusal to submit, within 6 years of any prior convictions are listed below (ORC § 4511.191). Previous convictions can include those in states aside from Ohio if the charges are similar.

Note that the waiting period applies to the process of regaining limited driving privileges (occupational driver's license or hardship license).

  • 1st Refusal – One Year License Suspension – 30-day waiting period
  • 2nd Refusal – Two Year License Suspension – 90-day waiting period
  • 3rd Refusal – Three Year License Suspension – 1-year waiting period
  • 4th or Subsequent Refusal – Five Year License Suspension – 3-year waiting period

Administrative license suspension penalties for a positive test with a BAC over .08%, within 6 years of a prior conviction:

  • 1st Failed Chemical Test – 90 Day License Suspension – 15-day waiting period
  • 2nd Failed Chemical Test– One Year License Suspension – 15-day waiting period
  • 3rd Failed Chemical Test – Two Year License Suspension – 180-day waiting period
  • 4th or Subsequent Failed Chemical Test – Three Year License Suspension – 3-year waiting period

A person who plead guilty or was convicted of 3 or more OVI charges in the past 7 years will not be eligible for limited driving privileges.


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Ohio Criminal Penalties for Driver's License Suspension

The suspension issued automatically by the BMV for refusal to submit and failed chemical tests is administrative. However, you may still face license suspension as part of the outcome of your criminal trial, should you get convicted. In this event, your administrative suspension will be terminated and the criminal suspension periods will instead apply.

  • First refusal – One year
  • Second refusal within six years of first refusal or DUI conviction – Two years
  • Third refusal within six years of a refusal , DUI conviction, or one of each – Three years
  • Fourth or subsequent refusal within six years of three or more refusals and/or convictions – Five years

Since the criminal penalties are tough, it's highly advisable to consult with a defense attorney and determine which strategies may help you to defend your license as well as criminal record.


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Requirements for Appealing Your Administrative License Suspension

The OVI revocation hearing in Ohio is an optional step, but should be undertaken if you would like to contest your license revocation and get your driving privileges back as soon as possible. You may appeal the driver's license suspension within 30 days of the suspension notice with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This petition may be filed in the municipal or county court that has jurisdiction over the place where the arrest occurred (O.R.C. §4510.021).

Additionally, the petition must be sent in writing. After the request is made, you will be notified of the time and place of the hearing. For this hearing, you may appear in person and be represented by an Ohio defense lawyer who can present evidence and examine witnesses appearing for or against you.

Please note that the hearing itself is considered an "administrative hearing," which means that it is a civil case separate from the criminal one. The scope of the hearing is to present evidence and examine witnesses that can show cause why your driving privileges should not be suspended. A negative outcome in the administrative hearing will not impact your criminal case.

There are many factors that can result in the BMV's reversal of your license suspension, which your attorney will investigate, including the following:

  • the arrest or stop was not reasonable
  • a request to take the chemical test was not present
  • the individual was not informed of the penalties for refusal or failure of a chemical test
  • if a refusal to test was not given
  • failure of test is not present

After the license revocation hearing, the Hearing Office will send a recommendation to the BMV. You will be notified by mail with the decision on whether or not your driver's license privileges will be reinstated.


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Reinstatement Procedure After an OVI License Suspension

The reinstatement of your Ohio driving privileges through the BMV is not automatic. There are certain conditions that must be satisfied.

For those who refused to submit to a chemical test, these procedures are as follows:

  • Serve the designated suspension period
  • Pay the driver's license reinstatement fee of $475
  • Mail proof of insurance to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles

If you failed your DUI alcohol or drug test, you must:

  • File an FRA (Financial Responsibility) Insurance (SR 22 or Bond)
  • Complete Form BMV 2000
  • Retake a Complete Driver License Examination
  • Pay a reinstatement fee of $475
  • Serve license suspension period
  • Send proof of insurance to the BMV

Proof of insurance should be mailed to:

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Attn. RE Fee
P.O. Box 16520 
Cincinnati OH 43216-6520

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The State of Your Commercial Driving Privileges After a DUI in Ohio

A person commits the crime of driving a commercial motor vehicle if they are found to have a blood alcohol level of .04% or above. This is half the required amount of a non-commercial driver!

If the commercial driver is found to be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, or refuses to submit to a chemical test, the following penalties will apply under §ORC 4506.15(A)2:

  • 1st Refusal to Submit or BAC Test Failure- One Year CDL Suspension
  • 2nd Refusal to Submit or BAC Test Failure - Lifetime CDL Suspension

There are no provisions for persons disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle to obtain a hardship (business or employment) license. Also note that if you have any level of alcohol or drugs in your system as a commercial truck driver, you may be placed "out of service" for a period of 24 hours.

A defense attorney is highly advisable for commercial truck drivers arrested for DUI in Ohio. Even when driving a personal vehicle, the DUI on your Class A Driver's License can also impact the state of your CDL.


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Obtaining a Temporary Hardship License with Limited Driving Privileges

If driving a car or truck is critical for you, there are limited circumstances that may allow you to regain some driving privileges. Your ability to apply for hardship reinstatement depends on a few factors, not the least of which is your driving history and previous OVI convictions.

Limited driving privileges may be granted under §4510.021 for:

  • Occupational, educational, vocational, or medical purposes;
  • Taking the driver’s or commercial driver’s license examination;
  • Attending court-ordered treatment

The driver may file a petition for limited driving privileges in the municipal, county, mayor’s, or in the case of a minor, juvenile court that has jurisdiction over the place of arrest.

Additionally, the court may impose restrictions on the driver and require him or her to carry restricted license plates ("yellow plates") and order the use of an ignition interlock device. The court may even order the use of a remotely monitored ankle bracelet, also called S.C.R.A.M. (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring).

Violations of the terms of your Ohio hardship license can result in the termination of this privilege.


Ohio Resources and Information Regarding OVI License Revocation

Ohio Revised Code § 4511.191 - This section within Ohio's criminal statutes defines the elements of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This includes a breakdown of the alcohol content level and drug metabolite level that are considered over the legal limit, as well as penalties.

Ohio BMV on License Suspensions and Reinstatements- The state Bureau of Motor Vehicles is responsible for the administrative portion of license suspension for drivers who refused a chemical test or tested above the legal limit. This page provides information on your rights and provides an overview of the process to regain the license.

Hamilton County, OH BMV Locations - Should you choose to contest your suspension, you will be required to appeal through your local BMV location. This page contains a list of BMV branch locations throughout Hamilton County.

Ohio DPS: Driver License Reinstatement Procedure - The OH Department of Public Safety has created a convenient .pdf guide to help take the confusion out of the reinstatement process.

Cincinnati, OH Division of Police - Cincinnati's police department is responsible for securing the peace and responding to reports of crime for a city of over 800,000 residents. It may also conduct patrols for suspected drunk or drugged driving offenders.

Cincinnati Division of Police
120 Marconi Blvd.
Cincinnati, OH  43215
Non-Emergency Number: 614-645-4545

Ohio State Highway Patrol - The OSHP helps to ensure the safety of Ohio's roadways. The department is also responsible for responding to emergency incidents across the state and providing support where needed. The Cincinnati District Office further oversees operations in the 9-county district in Central Ohio.

Cincinnati District Headquarters
2855 West Hamilton-Granville Road
Cincinnati, OH 43235
phone: (614) 799-9241
fax: (614) 799-9250

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Finding The Best License Suspension Lawyer in Ohio After a DUI

An administrative license suspension is not something you should just accept as part of your refusal to submit to a BAC test. If you or a loved one has would like to figure out what your options are to get your license back and fight to stay on the road, Joslyn Law Firm can help. Our dedicated legal team understands what you have to lose if you cannot drive legally in Ohio.

We are proud to defend your rights and work with clients throughout Central Ohio. This includes Hamilton County, Franklin County, Butler County, Warren County, Clermont County and Greene County. We also provided aggressive representation for related criminal charges in your case, including drug possession and property damage.

Our Cincinnati DUI lawyers have extensive experience defending those accused of drunk or drugged driving, including inside criminal courtrooms and BMV hearings. Call Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 339-6289 or use our online contact form for your free consultation about what we can do to get you driving again.

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