By: Holly B. Cline
According to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), 1.1 million people in Ohio had their license suspended last year. Moreover, Ohio drivers with suspensions often have more than one suspension. Indeed, the total number of active suspensions last year was 3.2 million—nearly three times the number of people with suspended licenses. Thus, the average person with a driver’s license suspension has three (3) suspensions at one time. This is largely due to the fact that, after a person’s license is suspended, they often continue driving with a suspended license. And, every time a person is caught driving with a suspended license, another license suspension will often be imposed.
Ohio Driver’s License Suspension Law
In Ohio, there are more than forty ways in which an Ohio driver can have their license suspended. These suspensions generally fall into five different categories:
- OVI and Drug Related Suspensions
- Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence Suspension – (R.C. 4511.19)
- Administrative License Suspension (Positive Test or Refusal) – R.C. 4511.191(B), (C)
- Physical Control Suspension – R.C. 4511.194
- Operating Vehicle After Underage Consumption (Under 21) Suspension – R.C. 4511.19(B)
- Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Homicide, and Vehicular Manslaughter Suspension – R.C. 2903.06
- Aggravated Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Assault Suspension – R.C. 2903.08
- In-State Drug Offense Suspension – R.C. 2925.01, et seq.
- Out-of-State OVI or Drug Conviction Suspension – R.C. 4510.17
- Habitual Use of Alcohol/Drugs Suspension – R.C. 4507.08
- Financial Responsibility Suspensions
- Security Suspension – R.C. 4509.17
- Non-Compliance Suspension – R.C. 4509.101
- Random Selection Suspension – R.C. 4509.101
- Judgment Suspension – R.C. 4509.37
- Failure to Provide Proof of Financial Responsibility when Required to File an Accident Report Suspension – R.C. 4509.06
- Failure to Pay Child Support Suspension – R.C. 3123.55
- Miscellaneous Suspensions
- Wrongful Entrustment Suspension – R.C. 4511.203
- Twelve-Point Suspension – R.C. 4510.037
- License Forfeiture Suspension – R.C. 4510.22
- Warrant Block Suspension – R.C. 4507.091
- Indefinite Medical Suspension – R.C. 4507.20
- Violation of Restriction Suspension – R.C. 4507.14
- Reckless Operation Suspension – R.C. 4510.15
- Leaving the Scene after an Accident (Hit-Skip) Suspension – R.C. 4549.02, 4549.021
- Failure to Comply with Order or Signal of Police Officer and Fleeing or Eluding Police Officer Suspension – R.C. 2921.331
- Juvenile Driver Suspension – R.C. 4510.31
- Interstate Suspensions
- Non-Resident Violate Compact Suspension – R.C. 4510.71; Article IV of the Ohio Constitution
- Driver License Compact Suspension due to Certain Out-of-State Convictions Suspension – R.C. 4510.61; Article IV of the Ohio Constitution
- National Driver Registry or Driver’s License Compact Block Suspension – R.C. 4510.61; Article V of the Ohio Constitution
- Court-Ordered Suspensions Upon Conviction for Driving Under Various Types of Suspension
- Operating Under Suspension or in Violation of a License Restriction (Catch-All) Suspension – R.C. 4510.11
- Operating Under a License Forfeiture Suspension – R.C. 4510.111
- Operating Under a Child Support Suspension – R.C. 4510.16
- Driving Under a Financial Responsibility (FRA) Suspension – R.C. 4510.16
- Operating Under an OVI Suspension – R.C. 4510.14
- Operating with an Expired License Suspension – R.C. 4510.12
- Driving While Failing to Reinstate a License – R.C. 4510.21
License Reinstatement Requirements, Fines, and Fees
With every driver’s license suspension comes mandatory BMV fines and reinstatement fees, and often times a series of escalating penalties. Moreover, in some cases, individuals with suspended license must first take affirmative steps beyond just paying reinstatement fees before the license suspension can be lifted. For example, when a judgment has been entered against an individual in a civil case and said judgment has been unpaid for an extended period of time, a judgment driver’s license suspension can be imposed. For that suspension to be lifted, the individual must either pay the judgment in full or come to a payment plan agreement with his or her creditor. Memorialization of that agreement must then be put in a Reinstatement Letter that the creditor sends to the BMV for the judgment suspension to be lifted. If a payment is not made on time, the judgment suspension will be reinstated.
Although the BMV fee installment payment plans, an Ohio driver with a suspended license must apply and qualify for the fee installment plan. To qualify, the individual must (1) owe a minimum of $150.00 in reinstatement fees; (2) have met all other reinstatement requirements (proof of insurance, proof of SR-22/bond, remedial driving course, etc.); and (3) not presently be on a court-ordered fee payment plan (which supersedes a BMV fee installment plan). Once a driver qualifies for the fee installment payment plan, they must pay $50.00 each month to the BMV—no exceptions to or modifications of this amount. If they fail to make a payment on time, their driver’s license will be suspended.
Ohio’s driver license suspension laws were enacted with the goals of making the roads safer, punishing people for certain types of infractions or criminal conduct, and encouraging drivers to satisfy their financial obligations. In many cases, though, the growing number of suspensions has only managed to bury individuals with fines and reinstatement fees that they are unable to pay.
“It defies logic that you would take away their means of getting to work so they can earn money to pay their child support or their court fines.” Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood.
Effective January 31, 2019, House Bill 336 sets forth a license reinstatement fee and waiver program to alleviate the financial burden faced by many drivers who are unable to have their suspended licenses reinstated long after their period of suspension ordered has ended because of their inability to pay the mandatory reinstatement fees. More information about the new Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative is available here.
Navigating Ohio driver’s license reinstatement law is a difficult task. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine what steps need to be taken to reinstate your driver’s license and can assist you in applying for a fee installment payment plan. The Columbus defense lawyers at Tyack Law Firm have the experience and knowledge to help you resolve your driver’s license suspensions and to work towards having your driver’s license reinstated.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the Tyack Law Firm Co., L.P.A., or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel or representation on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, county, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.