Your Youngstown OVI lawyer will tell you that, in Ohio, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles is the entity that hands out license suspensions. The criminal courts do not, because a license suspension is a civil punishment, not a criminal consequence. There are two reasons the BMV might suspend your license: if you refuse to allow a chemical BAC test to be performed, or if your BAC tests higher than the legal limit.
If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, the length of your license suspension will depend on your previous record. If you have not had any OVI convictions in the past, or if you have never refused a chemical test before, you will be without your license for one year. If you declined to participate in chemical testing just one time before, your suspension will last two years. If you have refused chemical testing twice during previous arrests, the BMV will suspend your license for 3 years, and if you’ve done it three or more times, you will lose your license for five years.
If you have never refused a chemical test but your BAC was above the legal limit, your license will be suspended for 90 days. If it has happened once before, the license suspension you will receive is one year long. Two previous incidents where you did not refuse to submit but your BAC was higher than 0.08 percent will leave you without a license for 2 years, and three previous times will result in no license for 3 years.
You are allowed to appeal an administrative license suspension, but there are tight timelines that must be followed for you to do so. You have to file a request for a hearing within thirty days of your arraignment, which is also the first date you must appear in court. It’s best for you to call a Youngstown OVI lawyer immediately upon receiving the letter from the BMV that informs you of your suspension. He will be able to act quickly in your stead, and represent you at the hearing.
Can I get limited driving privileges while my license is suspended?
It is possible to get certain of your driving privileges returned to you after you fulfill part of your suspension. Sometimes you will be allowed to drive to work or school, and for court hearings and doctor appointments. But you can ONLY go to and from those places.
There are specific guidelines regarding when you can be granted limited driving privileges. If your license was suspended because you failed a BAC test, you must serve a minimum of 15 days of a 90-day suspension, 45 days of a year-long suspension, and 180 days after receiving a two-year suspension. If your license has been suspended for three years because you tested over the limit four times, you will not be allowed to even ask for limited driving privileges.
There are slightly different rules for people who have their licenses suspended for refusing to submit to a chemical test. If your suspension in this case was a year-long one, you have to serve 30 days of it before you can request limited driving privileges. That minimum time served goes up with each year of suspension: 90 days for a suspension of two years, 1 year for a three-year license suspension, and 3 years for a five-year suspension.
Losing your driving privileges is just one of the OVI consequences that can severely limit your life, and it can cause a ripple effect of bad things. You could lose your job and your home, and be unable to care for yourself or your loved ones. Even limited driving is better than no driving at all. You should always request to be allowed to drive to work, school, court hearings, and medical appointments when you have a suspended license. A Youngstown OVI lawyer with experience in OVI defense can help you get back on the road. Call (330) 625-9199.