Many drivers throughout Ohio are facing issues as the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has significantly reduced its operations following orders of the Governor regarding Coronavirus precautions. The only BMV offices open at this time are the for the issuance and renewal of commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs).
Drivers often think that when a suspension or license restriction ends, that they are immediately okay to drive. However, this is not the case and people do not realize that their license is not yet valid until they go to the BMV office and reinstate their license. This often requires paying a fee and possibly showing proof of insurance.
With the restrictions to the BMV currently in place (Ohio allowing only five BMV locations to remain open), drivers who have not reinstated risk new charges if pulled over by police while driving without a valid license.
OHIO STATE HIGHWAY PATROL TOLD NOT TO ISSUE EXPIRED LICENSE TICKETS
The Governor has ordered the Ohio State Highway Patrol to not issue tickets to drivers whose licenses recently expired or expire while BMV’s services are unavailable. Governor DeWine has recommended that other law enforcement agencies in Ohio do the same.
It is unclear from the Governor’s order whether police will continue to cite drivers for other license-related offenses, such as failure to reinstate. If you are cited for failure to reinstate during this crisis, you will have a strong defense against the charges.
FAILING TO REINSTATE (ORC 4510.21)
A driver may assume that he or she is able to drive once a license restriction, such as a suspension, has ended, but during a traffic stop the driver could face a new charge for failing to reinstate.
Failing to reinstate in Ohio is considered an unclassified misdemeanor. Unclassified misdemeanors do not carry a threat of jail time, but drivers could face a fine up to $1,000 and could be ordered to complete five hundred hours of community service.
If you are cited for failure to reinstate while BMV offices are closed, you would have a strong defense against the charges.
FAILING TO REINSTATE OR DRIVING UNDER SUSPENSION
A driver is cited for driving under suspension (ORC 4510.11) when a license suspension or restriction is still in effect and the driver does not have applicable driving privileges to cover him or her for their driving. Driving under suspension is a first-degree misdemeanor and can lead to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If your suspension has not yet ended, you could still be subject to citation for this offense even during the coronavirus crisis.
MITIGATING FAILING TO REINSTATE OR DRIVING UNDER SUSPENSION CHARGES
A driver cited for any type of traffic charge relating to a driver’s license that is not valid faces additional challenges in light of the limited operations of Ohio BMV offices following Coronavirus restrictions. Reinstating is no longer as simple as going to the BMV and completing the necessary requirements in order to reinstate.
It may be necessary to contact an Ohio attorney who specializes in traffic and criminal matters, including license issues like failing to reinstate and driving under suspension. If you have questions about your Ohio traffic or criminal charges, talk to our defense attorneys at 614-361-2804.