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Driving Privileges Under OVI / DUI License Suspension


You Must Act Quickly to Challenge the Administrative License Suspension

If you were arrested for an OVI / DUI, you may have already had your driver’s license seized and suspended.  The officer who arrested you was authorized under Ohio law to take your driver’s license at the time of your arrest if you:

  • Submitted a breath sample of .08 or higher;
  • Refused any chemical test, such as a breathalyzer, blood or urine test.

If either of the above apply, then the Ohio BMV’s administrative license suspension automatically suspends your license.

For a breath test over .08 BAC, your license is automatically suspended under the administrative license suspension (ALS) for 90 days (eligible for driving privileges in 15 days).  If you refused a chemical test on a first offense OVI charge, your ALS suspension is one year (eligible for driving privileges in 30 days).

You do have the right to challenge this administrative suspension.  However, you must act quickly.  You only have 30 days from your arraignment to challenge the ALS suspension.


    If My Driver’s License was Taken on the Night of My Arrest, Does that Mean I Can’t Drive?

    If your license was seized and suspended for either submitting a breath sample of .08 or above or refusing a breath or other chemical test, your license is automatically suspended.

    You cannot legally drive unless a judge throws out the suspension at an ALS hearing, a judge orders a stay of the ALS, or you a judge grants driving privileges.

    How Long Could My License be Administratively Suspended by the BMV?

    The Ohio General Assembly wants to encourage people arrested for OVI to submit to breath, urine or blood tests in order to the give the prosecutor more evidence that can be used at trial showing an alcohol level over the legal limit.

    Thus, the administrative suspension for “refusing” to blow or take a urine or blood test is longer than the penalty for having a BAC of .08 or above.

    • If it is your 1st OVI arrest and you submit a breath sample over a .08, your automatic ALS suspension is 90 days.  You are eligible for driving privileges after 15 days.
    • If it is your 1st OVI arrest and you “refuse” to submit a breath or other chemical sample, the automatic ALS suspension is 1 year.  Eligible for driving privileges after 30 days.
    • If it is your 2nd OVI arrest and you submit a breath sample of a .08 or above AND you previously failed a chemical test in a prior OVI case, the automatic ALS suspension is 1 year.  Eligible for driving privileges after 45 days.
    • If it is your 2nd OVI arrest and you “refuse” to submit a breath or other chemical sample AND you were convicted of an OVI or “refused” to submit a breath sample in a prior OVI case, the automatic ALS suspension is two years. Eligible for privileges after 90 days.

    Keeping You Driving:

    The Four Ways Our Office May Be Able to Assist in Getting You Driving Again After an OVI / DUI Arrest

    1.)  We can file for driving privileges.  As explained above, there is usually a “hard time” (15 days for a failed test, 30 days for a refusal on a first offense) that you must complete before you are eligible for privileges.  In order to have driving privileges, you must have had valid insurance on the night of the offense and current insurance at the time you request privileges.  More about where you can drive with privileges is below.

    2.)  Some courts and judges will grant a “stay” of the administrative license suspension in certain cases.  If the judge grants a stay, your administrative license suspension is put on hold until the end of our case.  This give you the opportunity to drive right away and put off any potential suspension until after the case is over.

    3.) We can challenge the administrative license suspension at a hearing.  If there were defects with the forms, notice or other available defenses, the judge has the discretion to terminate the suspension at the conclusion of the hearing.

    4.) If you are convicted of a first offense OVI, you can file with the judge for unlimited driving privileges with an ignition interlock device.  If you are granted unlimited privileges with an interlock, your court-ordered suspension could be reduced by half (i.e. a court-ordered one year suspension could be reduced to six months)

    Our office routinely handles OVI cases, ALS hearings and other driving issues related to OVI charges.  We are very familiar with BMV procedures and the legal issues that need to be explored in our effort to get you driving as soon as possible following an OVI arrest.

    Where Can I Drive If I Have Driving Privileges?

    Ohio law (R.C. 4510.021) governs limited driving privileges in OVI cases.

    The statute permits a judge to grant limited driving privileges for:

    (1) Occupational, educational, vocational, or medical purposes;

    (2) Taking the driver’s or commercial driver’s license examination;

    (3) Attending court-ordered treatment.

    Depending on the situation, some judges may also order an ignition interlock be installed on the car before privileges are granted.   Additionally, some courts will permit limited driving privileges to include child care, grocery and other basic household needs.

    Lets work on getting you driving again as soon as possible.

    Call our office to schedule a free initial consultation at (614) 361-2804.