Ohio Administrative License Suspension

What is an Ohio Administrative License Suspension?

An Ohio Administrative License Suspension (ALS) is a driver’s license suspension associated with a DUI / OVI charge. It is called an “administrative” suspension because it is issued by the BMV. Therefore it is civil not criminal. Police will suspend your license for one of two reasons:

  1. Testing over the legal limit (.08); or
  2. Refusing to take a test

If you refuse or fail a breath test, your license will be suspended immediately. The length of the suspension depends on whether you refused or failed the test, and whether you have failed or refused previous tests (see below). For example, if you have no prior refusals or DUI / OVI convictions, your suspension for refusing is one year. But a failed test with no prior refusals or DUI / OVI convictions is 90 days.

Refusal License Suspension Penalties

  • 1st refusal: 1 year license suspension and driving privileges after 30 days;
  • 2nd refusal: 2 year license suspension and driving privileges after 90 days;
  • 3rd refusal: 3 year license suspension and driving privileges after 1 year;
  • 4th refusal or more: 5 year license suspension and driving privileges after 3 years.

Breath Test Over the Limit Penalties

If you choose to submit to a breath test and test over the legal limit (.08) you will face the following penalties:

  • 1st failed test: 90 day license suspension and driving privileges after 15 days;
  • 2nd failed test: 1 year license suspension and driving privileges after 45 days;
  • 3rd failed test: 2 year license suspension and driving privileges after 180 days;
  • 4th failed test: 3 year license suspension and driving privileges after 3 years.

How can I regain my ability to drive after receiving an Administrative License Suspension?

There are two ways:

  1. Requesting a Stay of Administrative License Suspension; or

Your attorney will generally request that the judge issue a stay of your administrative license suspension at your initial court date (i.e. arraignment). If the judge stays your ALS suspension, you will have your driver’s license back immediately without any driving restrictions or limitations. You will receive a certified copy of BMV Form 2261, which you can take directly to the BMV reinstatement office to have a replacement driver’s license issued.

  1. Requesting Limited Driving Privileges

If you choose to request limited driving privileges instead of requesting a stay of the ALS, you will have to wait a designated period of time. The time you must wait before you are eligible for limiting driving privileges depends on whether you refused or failed the blood alcohol test, and whether you have failed or refused previous tests (see above). 

For example, if you have one prior refusal or conviction for DUI / OVI within the past 10 years and refused to submit to a breathalyzer test, you are eligible for limited driving privileges after 90 days. However, if you have one prior refusal or conviction for DUI / OVI within the past 10 years and failed the chemical test, you are eligible for driving privileges after 45 days.

Can I appeal the Administrative License Suspension?

Yes. After you are arrested for DUI / OVI and fail or refuse to take a chemical test, you will receive a yellow copy of BMV Form 2255 and your license will be suspended. You have the right to appeal your suspension within 30 days of your initial court date (i.e. arraignment date). If you do not appeal in time, your right to appeal is waived.

There are a number of reasons for appealing an ALS, including the following:

The officer must:

  1. List valid reason to stop and arrest you for DUI / OVI;
  2. Request that you submit to a chemical test;
  3. Read you the consequences of refusing or failing a test on the back of BMV Form 2255;
  4. Let you refuse or take the test within 3 hours;
  5. Find that you have refused or failed the test (above .08% limit);
  6. Validly execute BMV Form 2255;
  7. Check the box that says “Was placed under an Administrative License Suspension”;
  8. Make sure the form was sworn to and/or attested to properly;
  9. File a valid / notarized form with the court or BMV within 48 hours; and
  10. Set your arraignment date within 5 business days of your arrest.

You can also appeal if health problems (such as breathing, reflux, or veins) disrupt the test. This may be treated as a refusal, but this is an invalid reason for suspending your license.

Furthermore, the officer cannot suspend your license after passing the blood alcohol test. He may choose to still charge you with DUI / OVI (because you may still be considered to have operating a vehicle while impaired), but issuing an Administrative License Suspension after passing the test is improper and should be appealed.

Overall, if the police break any of these rules, the suspension is invalid and should be appealed within 30 days of your initial court date.

How is a Court Ordered Suspension different from an Administrative License Suspension?

A Court Ordered Suspension is only issued by the judge after you are convicted of DUI / OVI, whereas an Administrative License Suspension is issued by the BMV after you have been charged with DUI / OVI because you either refused or failed a chemical test (breath, blood, or urine). Therefore, it is issued by a judge (not the BMV) after you are convicted (not simply charged with DUI / OVI).

How to get your license back after you have served your Court Ordered Suspension or Administrative License Suspension?

After your ALS Suspension or Court Ordered Suspension has expired, you must visit the BMV to:

  1. Pay a $495 reinstatement fee, and
  2. Show proof of current insurance

If you are unsure of the end date of your license suspension, contact us.