What is an administrative license suspension?

In Ohio, if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can lose their driver's license immediately -even though haven't gone to court or been convicted of DUI. The arresting police officer has the authority to make an administrative license suspension (ALS), which entails physically taking away the suspects driver's license and ordering the person not to drive.

When does an ALS occur?

Administrative license suspensions occur under two general circumstances:

  • Refusals: An ALS is imposed when a person arrested for a physical control or OVI offense refuses to submit to a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine). Generally, this ALS suspension lasts a year, but you are eligible for driving privileges in 30 days.
  • Failed Chemical Tests: An ALS is imposed if a person arrested for an OVI does take the chemical test but fails it because he or she tested over the legal limit. Generally, this ALS suspension lasts 90 days but you are eligible for driving privileges after 15 days.
    Note: there is no ALS suspension for someone who fails a chemical test, if the person is only being arrested for a physical control violation.

Does an ALS apply to a commercial driver's license?

Yes. Even if a person is charged with DUI/OVI while driving their own vehicle, a suspension applies to all the driver's licenses they hold.

How are OVI suspects informed about an administrative license suspension?

An Ohio police officer must inform you of your ALS by handing you a completed BMV Form 2255. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles paperwork includes the reason for immediately revoking the license and an affirmation that the form was given to the suspect. The officer and a witness must also sign and date the form.

When can an ALS be appealed?

One reason to hire an experienced Ohio DUI/OVI defense attorney as soon as possible is that an administrative license suspension can be appealed during the first court appearance following arrest. This will happen within five days of being taken into custody and charged. If an ALS is not appealed immediately, a suspect and their defense lawyer have 30 days following the suspect's arrest to request a hearing on the suspension.

Why should an ALS be appealed?

An ALS should be appealed for a number of reason. For one, if your found not guilty of an OVI but don't appeal your ALS, your license could stay suspended under the ALS. For another, sometimes there are issues with how or when your ALS was imposed, which could cause a court to "get rid of" of your ALS suspension by setting it aside.

Who decides an ALS appeal?

An appeal of an ALS on your private driver's license is heard your local criminal court judge. But if you are appealing your CDL suspension, that is heard by an official with the Ohio BMV.

Any commercial driver facing an OVI charge should seek representation from a lawyer who has experience handling CDL suspension appeals. Because essentially, a CDL suspension means that your livelihood is at stake.

Does an ALS mean no driving at all?

It can. Many drunk and drugged driving suspects receive special permission to drive their own vehicles only to work, school, doctor appointments, and court. However, having limited driving privileges reinstated is not guaranteed. Also, a CDL lost to administrative suspension remains completely inactive until it is officially reinstated.

What grounds exist for appealing an administrative license suspension?

An ALS cannot remain in effect if a judge or BMV hearing official rules that one of the following things happened:

  • The arresting officer lacked reasonable evidence that the suspect had used alcohol or drugs and was impaired.
  • You were not arrested when the ALS was imposed.
  • The arresting officer did not properly ask the suspect to provide samples for blood, breath, and urine tests.
  • The arresting officer did not clearly and fully explain the consequences of refusing to provide samples for alcohol and drug testing.
  • No evidence exists that the suspect actually refused drug and alcohol testing.
  • Results from chemical tests did not show clear evidence of intoxication and impairment, such as a BAC of .08 or higher for a person older than 21.
  • The arresting officer did not complete the BMV Form 2255 correctly.
  • The arresting officer did not provide a copy of the form to the suspect.

Establishing the facts for any of these types of ALS appeal takes hard work and expertise. Conducting the necessary investigation and building a case must also be done quickly. Getting assistance from an experienced Ohio license reinstatement attorney is highly recommended.

How long does an ALS remain in effect?

Generally, an ALS lasts until the criminal case is resolved.

A judge or BMV official must lift an administrative license suspension. Usually, the ALS will be replaced with a court-ordered license suspension when you've been convicted of OVI, or the judge cancels the suspension when declaring you not guilty, or when dismissing your charges.

April Campbell can answer any other questions you may have regarding an administrative license suspension. She has handled thousands of different types of suspensions, and can help you with your DUI and your ALS appeal. Schedule a free consultation by calling (614) 356-8515 or completing this contact form.