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Like many states, Ohio takes drunk driving very seriously and has enacted a number of penalties to discourage drivers from getting behind the wheel while impaired. No one is perfect, however, and there have been many instances where individuals have incorrectly believed that they were safe to drive after only a few drinks. If you are facing a drunk driving charge, there are probably many different questions you have, especially if this is your first time. There are also countless rules and procedures that will apply to your situation and it can be difficult to understand how everything will play out, particularly when it comes to your ability to drive following the arrest. In addition to a potential court-ordered license suspension, you also face a suspension from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). This is one of the more complex aspects of a drunk driving charge, which is why we offer a free consultation with a Cleveland DUI attorney to individuals throughout the state including Akron and other areas of Cuyahoga County.Ohio BMV Administrative License Suspension Process
A license suspension of any kind can have awful consequences for your daily life. It is important to understand how these suspensions work and whether there are any ways for you to overcome this inconvenient limitation. Under Ohio Law, the BMV has the power to enact an administrative suspension of your driving privileges. This is completely independent from the court proceedings where the court also has the power to suspend your license, in addition to imposing other penalties.
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license immediately if you test over .08 or if you refuse a test. In the case of a positive breath test, the first drunk driving offense carries an administrative suspension of 90 days. If you receive another DUI / OVI within a 10-year period, the suspension increases to one year. For a third offense, it is two years, and for a fourth offense it is three years. In addition to the suspension of your license, you will also have six points applied to your driving record.
If you refused to submit to a field sobriety test during the traffic stop, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driving privileges immediately. If you have a prior conviction for drunk driving within the last 10 years, then chances are the suspension period will be longer.
In order to reinstate your license, you must serve out any suspension imposed by the court, pay a reinstatement fee, and provide proof of current insurance by the end of the suspension period. You have the option of creating a payment plan to pay down the fees that you owe if you are unable to afford a lump sum payment. You also have the option of appealing the suspension at your initial court appearance that occurs within five days of the arrest or within the 30-day period after your initial appearance for the charge.
The BMV administrative license suspension process is not set in stone. There are grounds for challenging the suspension, including proving that the officer did not have a reasonable basis for suspecting that you were intoxicated at the time of the arrest or showing that the officer did not require you to submit to a blood alcohol test. Showing that you did not refuse to submit to the test or that the officer failed to inform you of the consequences of not submitting to the test can also serve as bases for having the suspension reversed if refusal is the basis for your suspension.Limited Driving Privileges May be Granted
Even if you lose your license pursuant to the BMV administrative license suspension process, there are some mechanisms that will allow you to receive limited driving privileges so that you can still get to and from work or other important obligations. Ohio law provides courts with the power to grant limited driving privileges for occupational, educational, vocational, or medically-related reasons. You can also receive limited driving privileges to attend a court-ordered substance abuse treatment program. To apply for these privileges, you must seek a hearing with the court that has jurisdiction over your case, and a skilled DUI / OVI attorney can help. It is then up to the judge to decide whether your request should be granted. If you refused to submit to a field sobriety test, then your ability to request these privileges is suspended for 30 days. If this is your second or subsequent drunk driving charge within the last six years, then the time that you must wait before applying for limited driving privileges increases.Speak with a DUI / OVI Attorney in Cleveland
A suspended license is usually one of the most important concerns for individuals facing drunk driving charges. We have assisted countless individuals throughout Cleveland, Parma, Bedford, Berea, Rocky River, Garfield Heights, Stow, and Barberton with understanding whether they can appeal their suspensions or how to go about reinstating their licenses as soon as possible. We provide a free consultation with a knowledgeable DUI / OVI lawyer to discuss your situation and how we may be able to assist you. Call us now at 216-520-5297 or contact us online to get started.