One of the hallmarks of drug policy in the United States has been for harsh penalties for nearly all offenses involving drugs. The focus for drug offenses has slowly begun to change as more emphasis is being put on rehabilitation and treatment instead of strict penalties. Ohio recently passed a law that illustrates this change in emphasis with Senate Bill 204. The new law eliminates the mandatory driver’s license suspension for a wide range of drug charges and goes even further by providing an opportunity for previous license suspensions for drug charges to be terminated.
What Are The Details of Senate Bill 204
Senate Bill 204 was introduced by State Senator Bill Seitz from Cincinnati, who believed that mandatory driver’s license suspensions for drug offenses made it difficult for those convicted to later find employment and made it more likely for them to return to drugs as a means of support. The proposed law received widespread support in the Ohio Legislature, passing unanimously in the Senate and passing in the Ohio House by a margin of 95 to 2 a month and a half later. Senate Bill 204 was later signed by Governor John Kasich and became effective September 13, 2016.
The law eliminates mandatory driver’s license suspensions for certain drug charges that do not involve the use of a vehicle. The charges affected by Senate Bill 204 cover a wide range of offenses from the trafficking of drugs such as cocaine and LSD to the distribution of anabolic steroids to possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia.
The court may still impose a driver’s license suspension on someone convicted of the affected drug offenses but the suspension is no longer mandatory. Perhaps even more importantly, the new law allows someone who had received a mandatory license suspension for a conviction that did not involve the use of a vehicle before the effective date of the law to petition the sentencing court requesting termination of the suspension.
How a Cincinnati Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Driver’s license suspensions are often considered just an addition to other, more severe penalties following a criminal conviction. However, the restriction in freedom and impact on the ability to find or get to work caused by a license suspension can be life altering. The elimination of mandatory licenses suspensions by Senate Bill 204 now gives you a chance to avoid those consequences if you are charged with a drug offense that does not involve a motor vehicle and also creates an opportunity to have your current suspension terminated. An experienced Cincinnati criminal attorney can help you to take advantage of the provisions of this new law.
Attorney Brad Groene with Luftman, Heck & Associates is a Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer who has represented hundreds of clients over the years and has worked hard to achieve the best possible outcome no matter the situation.
Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates to get the help that you need. Call (513) 338-1890 to set up a free and confidential consultation.