How long will I lose my license for if I get convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

A first-time OVI conviction results in the suspension of a personal driver's license for at least six months. You will also have all your driving privileges revoked for at least 15 days.

Wait. How does holding a driver's license differ from having driving privileges?

State courts and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) can limit when and where a person may drive. Even if your license gets suspended due to an OVI conviction, you may retain special privileges to drive to and from work or school, health care appointments, and court-ordered classes. You may also be allowed to take road tests to qualify to have your license reinstated.

Do multiple drunk and drugged driving convictions carry longer license suspensions?

Yes. The basic chart of minimum penalties looks like this:

ConvictionSuspensionNo Privileges
2nd offense in 6 years1-5 years45 days
3rd offense in 6 years2-10 years180 days
4th offense in 3 years3 years-life3 years

Are those suspensions the same for everyone?

Commercial drivers and drivers under the age of 21 can face longer license suspensions and losses of driving privileges. Also, the sentences summarized above are just guidelines.

Can I lose my commercial driver's license (CDL) or motorcycle license?

All licenses get suspended following an OVI conviction.

Can I drive after an arrest for OVI?

Probably not. Police officers can seize and suspend a license even before a drunk or drugged driving suspect goes to court. Legal reasons for such administrative license suspensions include the following:

  • The person being detained holds a CDL and was pulled over while driving a commercial vehicle.
  • The suspect refuses to submit to a breath alcohol test and also declines to provide blood and urine samples for chemical testing.
  • Breath and/or chemical tests show the suspect to be impaired (e.g., a blood alcohol content [BAC] of .08).
  • Laboratory tests show clear evidence of the use of drugs such as amphetamines, heroin, and marijuana.
  • The individual in custody already has a record of DUI/OVI convictions.

If the arresting officer took my license, can I get it back while awaiting trial?

Administrative license suspensions can be appealed for 30 days. If you miss that deadline, the license remains suspended for at least a year. Appeals regarding CDLs must be filed with the BMV.

Can I at least have some driving privileges restored while my OVI case is pending?

You can, and should, request limited driving privileges during your first court appearance, which must happen within five days of getting charged. You bear all the burden for proving why you should be allowed to drive, which highlights the importance of contacting a talented Columbus DUI attorney as soon as you can following an administrative license suspension.

What grounds could I have for appealing a license suspension?

You may be able to get your license fully reinstated if you can show any of the following facts:

  • The officer who took your license cannot state a compelling reason for suspecting you of driving while impaired.
  • The officer cannot articulate a probable cause for arresting you for OVI.
  • The officer did not ask you to submit to breath, urine, and blood tests.
  • The officer did not fully inform you of the consequences of refusing the tests.
  • The officer did not fully inform you of the consequences of registering a high BAC or high blood and urine concentrations of intoxicating drugs.
  • You did agree to submit to laboratory and chemical tests, but the officer took your license anyway.
  • The test results did not show intoxication at a levels assumed to cause impairment.

Do I need to worry about anything besides losing my license?

Yes. Many OVI arrests are followed by the towing and impoundment of your car. You can be ordered to surrender that vehicle completely if you have prior drunk or drugged driving convictions.

Also, once you are allowed back on the road, you may have to comply with court orders to use an ignition interlock device and specially colored and formatted OVI offender plates.

Do I need a Columbus, Ohio, DUI lawyer?

Absolutely yes if you have been charged with drunk or drugged driving and had your license suspended. Losing your driving privileges for even a few days can make keeping your job and taking care of your family impossible.

Hiring a criminal defense attorney who understands the complexities of DUI license suspension rules, BMV hearings, and OVI testing can help you make the best case for being allowed back on the road. April Campbell has handled thousands of these kinds of cases, and she even used to represent the BMV at hearings for commercial drivers asking to have their driving privileges restored. In short, Campbell knows exactly how the system works-and fails.

Contact Campbell Law now to request a free consultation regarding your OVI case.