Why could my driver's license get suspended in Ohio?

You can lose your driving privileges for committing any of the following offenses:

  • Operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI) by alcohol or drugs
  • Refusing to provide breath, urine, and blood samples for chemical testing after being arrested for suspicion of OVI
  • Selling, producing, trafficking, or illegally using drugs of abuse, including prescription medications categorized as controlled substances
  • Causing a hit-and-run accident
  • Causing an accident that inflicts injuries and/or significant property damage
  • Fleeing a traffic stop
  • Eluding police while driving
  • Failing to produce a valid vehicle registration and proof of insurance when requested to do so by a police officer
  • Racking up 12 points against your license during a two-year period

Ohio authorities also have the discretion to suspend a person's driver's license or learner's permit (i.e., Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card) for violating probation, failing to pay child support, breaking certain liquor laws, skipping school for long periods, dropping out of school, and bringing weapons into a school building.

Can I drive at all while my license is suspended?

Maybe. You definitely will have to stop driving for some time after your license gets taken away, but you may later have certain driving privileges restored. For instance, a first-time OVI conviction carries a six-month suspension and a 15-day period when no driving is allowed. Following those two weeks of "hard" suspension, the OVI offender may be permitted to drive to and from work and other specific destinations.

You should speak with a DUI license suspensions attorney in Columbus, Ohio if giving up driving altogether will make it impossible for you to keep your job and care for your family. A skilled driving under suspension attorney can help you put together an effective appeal for driving privileges.

Does Ohio enforce license suspensions imposed by other states?

Yes. Any court-ordered driving restrictions imposed in another state remain in effect when you visit or move to Ohio.

If my personal driver's license gets suspended, do I also lose my commercial driver's license?


This can be another reason to contact a traffic violations lawyer. Commercial drivers face certain automatic license suspensions when charged with OVI-related offenses. Retaining a commercial endorsement while awaiting trial is possible, but you must act quickly and go through a challenging hearing process administered by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

What penalties can I face for driving with a suspended license?

Pleading guilty to, or getting convicted of, driving under suspension for the first time can land you in jail for six months and subject you to a fine of up to $1,000. You will also be handed a new license suspension that lasts for as long as another 12 months. Penalties for repeated violations of driving restrictions bring harsher penalties, such as increased fines and vehicle immobilizations (e.g., booting, impoundment).

Some types of offenses carry additional penalties, as well. For instance, getting convicted of OVI while on a suspended license results in either a mandatory three-day jail sentence or six months on house arrest with electronic monitoring.

Do defenses against charges of driving with a suspended license exist?

Of course. First, if you can prove you needed to drive in order to meet a legal obligation you had no other way to meet or to respond to an emergency, you may be excused. You can also show that the officer who charged you with driving while under suspension was mistaken about who was behind the wheel.

An experienced Columbus license suspension attorney can listen to your story and determine whether one of these or another defense is available to you.

How do I get my Ohio driver's license reinstated?

Having your license reinstated following a suspension requires filing forms with the BMV and paying a fee. The amount of the fee will depend on why you lost your license and whether you have had your driving privileges restricted previously. You may also need to prove you have valid and up-to-date auto insurance and to pass the tests for new drivers. Retesting is usually required for reinstatement of a CDL.

Can Campbell Law help with a license suspension case?

Give us a call. April Campbell founded this Columbus-based criminal defense law firm after spending years prosecuting traffic offenses. One of her primary responsibilities was representing the BMV during hearings over the reinstatement of commercial driver's licenses. That experience taught her how police, prosecutors, and judges can subject drivers to unfair penalties.