Driving Privileges after DUI
When you are arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) in Ohio, your first thought may be about your driver’s license. Can you still drive? Why did the officer take your license? What is an administrative license suspension? There is no doubt about it – an OVI/DUI arrest can have a tremendous impact on your license. If you are convicted of a first or subsequent DUI, you will lose your license for a period of time.
To learn more about the administrative and criminal penalties that impact your driving privileges after DUI arrests or convictions, contact an experienced Cincinnati DIU attorney at Luftman, Heck & Associates. We are highly experienced in defending against OVI/DUI charges and can help you keep your driver’s license – or get it back as soon as possible.
Ohio DUI Law
You can be charged and convicted of a DUI based on Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4511.19. This states that no one shall operate any vehicle if, at the time of operation, they are under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of the two. Therefore, if you are 21 years or older, you are considered over Ohio’s legal limit when your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at .08 percent. If you are under 21 years old, a BAC of .02 percent or higher will lead to an OVI arrest. If you are a commercial driver in your commercial vehicle at the time, your legal limit is .04 percent. Ohio law also lays out limits for intoxication by certain controlled substances.
However, you can be arrested and charged with an OVI without being over the legal limit. There may be other evidence that you were impaired by alcohol, controlled substances, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, or a combination of these intoxicants.
If you are ever arrested for a DUI in Ohio, you should contact an experienced Cincinnati DUI defense lawyer to discuss your rights, OVI driving privileges while your case is pending, and defense options.
Implied Consent in Ohio
An issue closely related to your driving privileges after an OVI arrest is Ohio’s implied consent law. ORC 4511.191 states that anyone who operates or is in physical control of a vehicle in public, or on private property used by the public, is deemed to have consented to a chemical test or tests of the person’s blood, breath, or urine to determine the alcohol, drug, or combination in the person’s body, if arrested for an OVI offense.
What does this mean for you? If you are arrested for a DUI, based on ORC 4511.192, you will be given verbal and written notice of Ohio’s implied consent law and the repercussions of refusing to submit to a chemical test, which includes the loss of your driver’s license. The officer will then ask you to submit to a certain type(s) of chemical tests, such as a blood test, breath test, or urine test.
To be clear, the field sobriety tests or roadside breath test, commonly called a breathalyzer, an officer asks you to take prior to a DUI arrest are not covered by the implied consent law. You may refuse to take any field sobriety tests or breathalyzers during a traffic stop.
If you do refuse to submit to the test, then your driver’s license will be confiscated, and you will be given notice of an administrative license suspension. Your refusal to take a breath test could also lead to harsher criminal penalties if you are convicted. If you refuse to take a warrantless blood test, you can face civil penalties, however, you cannot be criminally punished.
You May Lose Your License After a DUI Arrest
If you are arrested for an OVI in Ohio, there are two ways to lose your driver’s license right away:
- You refuse to submit to a chemical test, or
- You submitted to a chemical test and were over the legal limit.
This is an administrative license suspension (ALS) and it is handled by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). It is not a criminal sanction, it is a civil penalty.
The length of your suspension depends on the reason for it and whether you have a prior record of this issue.
- First Refusal – a one-year suspension
- 1 Prior Refusal – a two-year suspension
- 2 Prior Refusals – a three-year suspension
- First Failed Test – a 90-day suspension
- 1 Prior Failed Test – a one-year suspension
- 2 Prior Failed Tests – a two-year suspension
If you have additional prior refusals or failed chemical tests, you can lose your license for up to five years.
To try and avoid an ALS, you must request a hearing within 30 days of your initial appearance in court. This is not a lot of time. After a DUI arrest, you should contact a DUI defense lawyer immediately.
You Will Lose Your License After a DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of an OVI in Ohio, you are going to lose your license. The term of your criminal driver’s license suspension depends on whether this is your first DUI conviction or a subsequent conviction:
- First DUI: Between six months and three years
- Second DUI: Between one and five years
- Third DUI: Between two and 10 years
- Felony DUI: Between three years to life
If you are under 21 years old when you are convicted of drunk or drugged driving, you may lose your license for 90 days to two years. For a second underage DUI conviction, your license suspension will be between one and five years.
You May Ask for Limited Driving Privileges
Under certain circumstances, you can work with a Cincinnati DUI defense attorney to ask the court to grant you limited driving privileges after a certain period of a hard suspension:
- First DUI: 15 days
- Second DUI: 45 days
- Third DUI: 180 days
- Felony DUI: 3 years
- Underage DUI: 61 days
If you are granted limited driving privileges, you may be allowed to drive to and from work, school, court appointments, and medical appointments. You may also have to install yellow restricted driving license plates, commonly known as party plates, on your vehicle.
Additionally, you may be responsible for paying for the installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device. You must blow into this device before you can turn on your car and periodically while you drive. If the device detects alcohol, you will not be able to start your car, or you will receive a warning to pull over and turn the car off. Any failed test will be recorded by the device and reported to the authorities. Failed tests may force you to use the device for a longer period of time or lose your driving privileges.
Driver’s License Points
When you are convicted of a DUI in Ohio, you get six driver’s license points placed on your record. You need to be aware that accumulating too many points can lead you to lose your license. If you acquire 12 points on your record, your driver’s license will be suspended. This is another way in which a DUI could lead you to lose your driving privileges for a significant period.
Reinstating Your License
Once your administrative and/or criminal license suspension is finished, you may get your driver’s license reinstated. This is not an automatic process. You cannot jump back behind the wheel the day your suspension ends. You must go to the BMV, pay a reinstatement fee, and provide the BMV with proof of insurance. Once you have your new driver’s license, then you have regained your driving privileges after a DUI.
Arrested for a DUI in Ohio? Call Luftman, Heck & Associates
If you have been arrested or charged with an OVI in Ohio, do not hesitate to obtain legal advice. Our Cincinnati DIU lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates are ready to investigate your case and advise you of your options. We will work on your behalf to obtain the best possible outcome in your case, including protecting your driving privileges after a DUI.