Losing your license is more than an inconvenience. Being unable to drive legally can make it impossible to keep a job or meet all your personal and family obligations.
Unfortunately, Ohio courts and statutes recognize more than 30 reasons to suspend a driver’s license. The punishment can apply to everything from leaving the scene of an accident, letting your auto insurance policy expire, failing to pay child support, getting convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI), which is what state officials call driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and much more. AVOID AN OVI CONVICTION ON YOUR RECORD
The drawbacks to getting your license suspended fall into four broad categories:
Limited to No Driving Privileges
Depending on many different factors ranging from the charge and defendant’s history to the quality of the defense or plea deal, an Ohio driver’s license suspension may be partial or total. A partial suspension grants the driver restricted driving privileges, which are usually limited to trips to and from work, medical appointments, and court dates or meetings with a lawyer.
A total suspension usually precedes the reinstatement of restricted driving privileges. For an OVI conviction, the period of total suspension can last anywhere from 15 days to more than a year. While under total or “hard” suspension, a driver is not allowed to drive at all without risking rearrest, jail time, and a new or lengthier suspension. Violating the restrictions on when and where you can drive with a partially suspended license also risks those new and enhanced penalties.
Surrendering your CDL
Suspensions related to criminal charges or convictions usually apply to both your own driver’s license and any commercial driving licenses you hold. This is always true for drunk or drugged driving suspensions.
Under Ohio law, getting a CDL suspended means you cannot legally drive a commercial vehicle until the term of suspension expires and the CDL is fully reinstated. In other words, getting a CDL suspended often means losing a job that requires driving a truck, bus, or taxi. The lesson? Hiring an experienced Columbus, OH, DUI attorney to fight an OVI charge is a must if you drive for a living.
Increased Risk for Future Suspensions
Suffering through one Ohio driver’s license suspension greatly increases your chances for losing your license again. This is especially true if the suspension comes as part of a sentence for driving under the influence.
Not only do periods of total suspension tend to last longer for people under penalty for driving while drunk or stoned, mandated penalties for second and subsequent OVI convictions include automatic suspensions. The longer a total suspension remains in effect, the more likely you will be to have an absolute need to drive somewhere to respond to an emergency. A dedicated Columbus OVI license suspension can negotiate with prosecutors to minimize the harshest sanctions.
Reinstatement Hassles and Expenses
Once a suspension expires, you must jump through several hoops and pay fees to get your license reinstated. You must present the Bureau of Motor Vehicles proof that you have completed your sentence or paid off the debts that cost you your license. If you went through a lack of insurance suspension, you will also need to present a certificate of insurability called an SR-22. On top of that, the BMV will demand a special reinstatement fee and may require you take portions of the CDL test.
Then, when you get your license back, it will carry whatever points your offense merits. For instance, an OVI conviction brings a six-point penalty. Rack up 12 points on a reinstated license, and it will get suspended again.