In Ohio, There Are Two Components to a Drunk-Driving Charge: A Criminal Proceeding and an Administrative Proceeding

Interviewer: In a drunk-driving charge, what are the major differences between a court case and a BMV case?

Dale Naticchia: I tell every client that there are two cases going on simultaneously once they are charged with a drunk-driving charge. One is they have the criminal charge that’s pending in the court; that’s the judicial branch.

And there’s also a civil case that’s pending down in Columbus and that is with the BMV. That’s what they call the Administrative License Suspension. Note the term Administrative. It’s the executive branch it’s not the court.

Interviewer: Who has the ultimate say on your license then?

Dale Naticchia: The BMV, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles because they’re the ones that issue the license. The courts have some control over that but the BMV has the ultimate say in most cases.

Some License Suspensions Issued by the BMV Cannot Be Overturned by the Court

For instance, if you receive certain types of suspensions, the court is not allowed to grant privileges. In Ohio, there’s what they call the habitual drunk driving statute. If you get a suspension from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles the court is not allowed to give you driving privileges.

They’re only allowed to give you driving privileges when the legislature makes an exception. The BMV has actually got the final word on what goes on with your license.

Habitual Drunk Driving Statute: The Ohio BMV Will Suspend a Driver’s License for Three OVIs in 12 Months

Interviewer: Aside from OVI, what are some other examples of situations where the BMV may have to step in?

Late Child Support and Student Loan Payments Will Also Result in a BMV-Issued Suspension

Dale Naticchia: The habitual drunk driving statute: if you get three OVI’s in a year you get habitual drunk driving suspension; that’s issued by the BMV. If you fall too far behind in child support there’s a child support suspension; that’s the BMV.

If you don’t show proof of insurance and you receive a citation—that goes to the BMV. If you get behind on student loans you can get suspended from the BMV. There are all types of suspensions and the BMV handles all of them.

Interviewer: How would the BMV handle a case concerning late student loan payments?

Speaker 3: They get notice from, not the lending institution, but the governmental entity that issued the loan. What they can do is they will administratively, if certain criteria are met, issue a suspension.

There Can Be Ways to Lift the BMV License Suspension

Dale Naticchia: There are ways sometimes to get out from underneath these suspensions. For instance, there is the financial responsibility aspect. If you didn’t have insurance and your license is suspended, if it’s the first charge that you’ve had in four years you could go to the BMV; show them that you have insurance and they will, then, release that suspension.

With a child support-related suspension, if you make arrangements to pay fifteen-percent of the arrearage, the BMV will lift that suspension. You need to know which type of suspension you have but you’re always dealing with the BMV.

By Dale Naticchia

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