Administrative License Suspension Hearing Defense Lawyer
If you are arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI) in Ohio, you may find yourself released from jail with notice that your driver’s license has been suspended. This is not a criminal penalty – you cannot face a criminal penalty unless you are convicted of a crime. This is an administrative license suspension (ALS), and it is a civil penalty handled by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
Once you receive notice of this suspension, you only have a brief period of time to ask the BMV for an ALS DUI hearing. You should contact an administrative license suspension hearing defense lawyer from Luftman, Heck & Associates online or at (513) 338-1890 right away.
Ohio’s Administrative License Suspension (ALS)
In Ohio, your driver’s license can be suspended after an OVI arrest for two reasons:
- You failed a chemical test by testing over the legal limit for drugs or alcohol, or
- You refused to take a chemical test in violation of the implied consent law.
Failing a Chemical Test
If you fail a chemical test by having an amount of alcohol in your body at or over the legal limit, then the BMV presumes you have broken the law. If you are 21 years or older and were driving a personal vehicle at the time, then your legal limit is typically .08 percent. However, if the police test your blood serum or plasma, the legal limit is .096 percent. If the police test your urine, the legal limit is .11 grams.
However, your legal limit is different if you are underage or a commercial driver. If you are under 21 years old at the time and were driving a personal vehicle, your legal limit is .02 percent. For a blood serum or plasma test, the legal limit is .03 percent, and for a urine test, the limit is .028 gram. If you have your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and you are driving a commercial vehicle at the time, then your legal limit is .04 percent for blood, .048 for blood serum or plasma, and .056 for urine.
For a first-time failed test, you face a 90-day ALS. If you have a prior failed test on your record, you face an ALS for one year. Two prior failures result in a two-year suspension.
Refusing a Chemical Test
Ohio’s implied consent law, ORC 4511.191, states that any time you operate or are in physical control of a vehicle in Ohio, you have consented to submit to one or more chemical tests when you are arrested for an OVI offense. If you are arrested for drunk or drugged driving and are asked to take a blood, breath, or urine test, you may so no, however, the repercussion of refusal is an ALS.
For a first-time refusal, your ALS will be for one year. A second refusal leads to a two-year suspension, and a third refusal causes a three-year suspension.
How Do You Know Your License Is Suspended?
You may wonder how you’ll know if you are subject to an ALS. Essentially, if your license is suspended for an OVI arrest, the police will confiscate your driver’s license and destroy it. Then, you will be given BMV Form 2255: Report of Law Enforcement Officer Administrative License Suspension.
In some cases, you can also find out about the ALS later. You could receive a letter in the mail from the BMV informing you of the suspension and when it goes into effect. No matter what your situation is, if you’ve been arrested for OVI, it is very important to discuss the impact on your license with your DUI lawyer.
Appealing an ALS
ALS appeals in DUI cases are established in ORC 4511.197. To be clear, your ALS is separate from your OVI charge. However, you can address the ALS in court either at your initial court appearance (arraignment) or within 30 days of your initial appearance. In Ohio, the judge who handles your OVI case can also hear your DUI defense attorney’s argument against the ALS.
You may not know to appeal your ALS right away. When you speak with an attorney in the days or weeks following your OVI arrest, you should ask about your ALS. If the time limit has not already run out, then your attorney will immediately file for an ALS hearing.
Your lawyer may also address the ALS with the BMV. To obtain a BMV administrative hearing, your lawyer must request a hearing within 20 days of the date (or mailing date) you received notice of your suspension, which may be the same day you were arrested. You may also have received notice of a license suspension in the mail at a later day. You have 20 days from the date the letter was mailed to ask for a hearing.
Grounds for an ALS Appeal
You should always speak with a DUI defense attorney about fighting your ALS in court or with the BMC. However, you should know that winning an appeal is challenging. There are limited grounds for having an ALS overturned. Your appeal is limited to determining whether:
- The officer had reasonable grounds to believe you were committing an OVI offense;
- The officer had probable cause to arrest you for an OVI offense;
- The officer properly informed of you Ohio’s implied consent law and consequences of refusal;
- The officer properly requested you to submit to a chemical test;
- You actually refused to submit to a test, if your ALS is for refusal; or
- Your body, at the time, actually contained a concentration of alcohol or controlled substance above the legal limit, if your ALS is for a failed test.
The criminal court or administrative judge is looking to see whether your driver’s license was lawfully suspended, or whether the suspension was wrongly imposed. You will not win an appeal by claiming the ALS is unfair or a hardship. You must prove that your license should not be suspended based on Ohio law.
Once you contact a DUI defense lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates, we will immediately investigate your traffic stop and arrest. We will go over everything that happened, step by step, to determine whether you were lawfully stopped, investigated, arrested, and given an ALS. We will also review the BMV Form 2255 to determine if it was properly filed by the police.
If we have any evidence that the officer did not properly follow the law and you should not have had your license suspended, we will prepare your defense for court or the administrative hearing.
Call an Administrative License Suspension Hearing Defense Lawyer for Help
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we know how tough it can be to handle your responsibilities without a driver’s license. You may not have access to public transportation, or it may not be available when and where you need it. You may not have family members or friends who can drive you around. For your education, career, and family, you need your driver’s license, which is why a DUI defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate your arrest to determine if there are grounds to appeal your ALS. If your ALS moves forward, we will work with you to obtain limited driving privileges as soon as possible.