License Suspension Attorney Delaware, Ohio
About Ohio License Suspensions
When a person is stopped by police and arrested for OVI, the motorist is subject to Ohio’s “implied consent” laws. This means that the arrestee must submit to a chemical test selected by law enforcement (breath, urine, etc.) within two hours of the time of the alleged violation. (R.C. 4511.192(A)). The arresting officer has three hours (beginning at the stop) to collect the test from arrestee.
If the arrestee chooses to refuse to such chemical testing, they may face administrative sanctions. The accused has the right to appeal the license suspension at the initial appearance within 5 days of the arrest or within 30 days of the initial court appearance. It’s important that an attorney be consulted early on in an OVI case as there are immediate issues to be addressed concerning the arrest and license suspension.
Administrative License Suspension
There are typically two general kinds of suspensions associated with an OVI: an Administrative License Suspension (“ALS“) and a Court imposed License Suspension. The ALS is the suspension that is immediate upon refusal of a chemical test or a failed chemical test. The arresting officer makes the decision on behalf of the BMV to suspend the arrestee’s license by filling out the BMV form 2255 and issuing a copy both to the arrestee, and the Court (within 48 hours). In many cases, the arresting officer is required to read the BMV form 2255 to the arrestee.
The ALS remains in effect unless it is “stayed,” “terminated,” or “vacated” by the Court. The motorist can apply for, and be granted, driving privileges at the discretion of the judge after a set period of time passes. This is generally referred to as the “hardtime” of a suspension: where the arrestee/defendant is not eligible for driving privileges and cannot drive legally.
Failing a Chemical Test
A failed chemical test is one where the arrestee’s body contains levels of alcohol or control substances in excess of the legal limits as provided in R.C. 4511.19. This is measured in a variety of ways. However, the most common is by breathalyzer device operated by law enforcement. This type of license suspension goes into effect at the time of the alleged offense.
This type of suspension ends when:
A. The suspension is successfully appealed;
B. The Defendant pleads guilty to OVI or another offense carrying a suspension as a sanction;
C. The Defendant is found guilty at trial; or
D. The time period of the suspension expires.
The immediate license suspension varies depending upon the number of prior offenses:
0 prior offenses in 10 years – 90 day suspension. (privileges after 15 days).
1 prior offense in 10 years – 1 year suspension. (privileges after 45 days).
2 prior offenses in 10 years – 2 year suspension (privileges after 180 days) and interlock required if alcohol OVI.
3 or more prior offenses – 3 year suspension (privileges after 3 years) and interlock required if alcohol OVI.
Refusal of a Chemical Test
The arrestee has two hours to submit to a chemical test at the request of law enforcement. Failure to submit constitutes a refusal.
The immediate suspension varies depending upon the number of prior offenses or refusals:
0 prior offenses/refusals in 10 years – 1 year suspension (privileges after 30 days).
1 prior offense/refusals in 10 years – 2 year suspension (privileges after 90 days).
2 prior offenses in 10 years – 3 year suspension (privileges after 1 year).
3 or more prior offenses – 5 year suspension (privileges after 3 years).
Court Imposed Suspension
If the Defendant pleads to, or is found guilty of OVI, or another offense carrying a license suspension, the Court can (and is often required to) impose a license suspension. This suspension is imposed as part of sentencing. It is considered a penalty for being convicted of the offense. At the same time, the Court will terminate the ALS by completing the BMV form 2261. This means the Defendant will only have one suspension: the Court imposed suspension
The Defendant will be credited the time spent on ALS onto the time the Court imposed suspension. This means if a Defendant failed a chemical test; and was given a 90 day ALS; and the same Defendant pleads guilty to a 1st OVI; and is given a 1 year license suspension, they will be suspended for 275 days (365 imposed -90 served).
The length of a Court imposed license suspension varies by the number of prior offenses AND whether there was a “high test” or refusal with a prior conviction of OVI within 20 years. (See R.C.4511.19(A)(2)):
1st OVI in 10 years – 1-3 year suspension (privileges after 15 days).
1st OVI in 10 years and a “high test” or refusal within 20 years – 1-3 year suspension (privileges after 15 days).
2nd OVI in 10 years – 1-7 year suspension (privileges after 45 days).
2nd OVI in 10 years and a “high test” or refusal within 20 years – 1-7 year suspension (privileges after 45 days).
3rd OVI in 10 years – 2-12 year suspension (can be reduced to 1 year) (privileges after 180 days).
3rd OVI in 10 years and a “high test” or refusal within 20 years – 2-12 year suspension (privileges after 180 days).
4th or 5th OVI in 10 years or 6th OVI in 20 years – 3 years – life (privileges after 3 years).
4th or 5th OVI in 10 years or 6th OVI in 20 years and a “high test” or refusal within 20 years – 3 years – life (privileges after 3 years).
As the felony OVI offenses get more numerous from here, the Court imposed suspension remains 3 years – life.
Stays and License Suspension Appeals
As mentioned above an Administrative License Suspension can be challenged at the initial appearance or at a hearing held within 30 days of the initial appearance. There are criteria set out by R.C. 4511.197 that allow for the Court to terminate an ALS that examine the procedure and reasoning of an officer’s imposition of an ALS. An attorney will discover the issue by reviewing whatever evidence is available at this early stage and by examining the BMV form 2255.
A Court may also issue what is called a “stay” of the ALS. This order is usually issued at the initial appearance. It essentially pauses the ALS from going into effect. The BMV is then notified by the Court’s BMV form 2261 indicating that the suspension does not go into effect. In this case, the time while on a “stay” will not be credited if a court imposed suspension is ultimately ordered.
It is very important that you consult with an attorney when facing license suspension issues, as they can be complex to navigate and extremely time sensitive. If you need help now, call Attorney Geoff Spall.