After being arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI/DUI), your first questions might be about your driver’s license. Will you lose your license? If so, for how long? The thought of getting your license taken away can leave you wracked with fear over how you will get to and from school or work and how you will take care of your family. Unfortunately, the possibility of losing your license after an OVI/DUI arrest is very real.
If you failed to submit to a chemical test upon arrest or you tested over the legal BAC limit of .08 percent, then your worst fear may come true within a matter of weeks. Ohio requires an administrative license suspension (ALS) following an OVI/DUI arrest during which you refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test to measure your alcohol or drug levels or for an arrest where you were over the legal limit.
Once you are given notice of an ALS, your license is suspended immediately. Your chance to get it back is through an administrative hearing. To learn more about appealing this decision and how a Cincinnati OVI/DUI lawyer can help, contact Brad Groene of Luftman, Heck & Associated today. For a free consultation, call (513) 338-1890.
Ohio’s ALS Law
Ohio has an implied consent law, which means if you drive within the state, you agree to submit to a chemical test upon an arrest for an OVI/DUI. By refusing to take a blood, breath, or urine test after a valid arrest, you are breaking the law. There can be criminal consequences for violation of this law. However, the most serious and immediate consequence is the civil administrative suspension. Once you refuse to take an alcohol or drug test, the police officer will provide you notice of the ALS, which revokes your right to drive immediately.
Additionally, you can be arrested for an OVI/DUI without taking a chemical test or having a BAC at or above .08 percent. An arresting officer does not need you to blow .08 or higher during a roadside breath test to arrest you, and a prosecutor does not necessarily need a high BAC to convict you. For instance, you can be intoxicated due to taking too many prescription medications. Despite having a zero BAC and taking legal drugs, you may still be deemed too inebriated to operate vehicle safely. However, if you do take a chemical test and the result is a BAC above the legal limit, you will receive notice of an ALS effective immediately.
Appealing the ALS
To get your driver’s license back while your OVI/DUI case is pending, you must appeal the suspension. You only have 30 days after you receive notice of your suspension to file a request for an administrative hearing with the bureau of motor vehicles. If you do not appeal within that time frame then you face a one-year suspension for a first-time refusal or 90 days for a first positive chemical test.
This is one of the many reasons why you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after an OVI/DUI arrest. Without an attorney’s knowledge of civil and criminal law regarding this type of offense, you may not know you only have one month to get your license back or that your only other chance to appeal is at your first court appearance after the arrest. You may also not realize that even if your OVI/DUI charges are dropped or you receive an acquittal, you may still have to complete your entire administrative suspension.
ALS hearings are administrative, which means it is not the same as going to a criminal court. However, it is still best to have an attorney who understands the law and will advocate on your behalf. It can be difficult to win an ALS appeal because there are only certain defenses to the offense. To get your driver’s license back, your attorney will seek to prove one or more of these defenses:
- The officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull your vehicle over
- The officer did not have probable cause to arrest you
- The officer did not ask you to submit to a chemical test
- You were not advised of the consequences of refusing to consent to a test or of a positive test result
- You did not refuse a chemical test
- Your chemical test results did not indicate a BAC at or above .08 percent or were not valid test results
The burden to prove one or more of these defenses by a preponderance of the evidence rests on your shoulders. It is not enough to attend the hearing with the argument that an ALS is unfair or unreasonable in your circumstances. You must prove it is not valid under the law. At attorney who regularly handles OVI/DUI cases will be experienced in ALS hearings and understand how to support one or more of these defenses in your situation. By working with a lawyer, you have a greater chance of getting your license back while your OVI/DUI case moves through the criminal court system.
Contact a Cincinnati OVI/DUI Lawyer for Help
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we understand that people make mistakes, which can lead to OVI/DUI charges. We also know that officers are just as likely to make mistakes and charge you with a serious crime when you were perfectly fine to drive. Either way, do not let a mistake take over your life.