If you’re arrested for an OVI, you can face some harsh penalties. And one of those penalties can be imposed upon you automatically and immediately, even before your case resolves in court. That’s because, depending on your circumstances, you may be subject to an Administrative License Suspension (ALS). This is when the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) suspends your driving privileges as a result of your OVI arrest.
An ALS can be triggered in two situations: when you take a chemical test and your BAC is at or above the legal limit, or when you refuse to take the chemical test. If either applies to your case, the arresting officer may seize your driver’s license and send the information to the DMV, which will take away your driving privileges. The length of suspension depends on whether you have previously been convicted of an OVI or you have refused a chemical test previously.
Driver’s License Suspension Periods After a Failed Chemical Test
In Ohio, it’s illegal for a person to operate a vehicle when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above .08%. The amount of alcohol in your system is measured by taking a blood, breath, or urine sample and analyzing it through a chemical test. If your BAC is at or above that legal limit, you have “failed” the test and your license will be suspended immediately.
The possible suspension lengths are below:
- 3 months for a first offense
- 1 year if the individual has, within the past 10 years been convicted of an OVI
- 2 years if the individual has, within the past 10 years, been convicted of 2 OVIs
- 3 years if the individual has, within the past 10 years, been convicted of 3 or more OVIs
Driver’s License Suspension Periods After a Chemical Test Refusal
Under O.R.C. 4511.191, a person who operates a vehicle on public roads is deemed to have given permission to have their blood, breath, or urine tested to determine their BAC level if they have been arrested on suspicion of OVI. A refusal is a violation of this law and can result in a driver’s license suspension. As with a failed chemical test, if you refuse to give a sample, the arresting officer can confiscate your driver’s license on the spot.
The suspension length is as follows:
- 1 year for a first refusal
- 2 years for a second refusal within 10 years (or if the individual has been convicted of an OVI within the past 10 years)
- 3 years for a third refusal within 10 years (or if the individual has been convicted of 2 OVIs within the past 10 years)
- 5 years for a fourth or subsequent refusal within the past 10 years (or if the individual has been convicted of 3 or more OVIs within the past 10 years)
ALS and Conviction Suspensions Are Separate
It’s important to note that a suspension resulting from a failed chemical test or a refusal is separate from penalties imposed for an OVI conviction. Even if the BMV suspends your driving privileges, you must still fight your charge in court.
If you’ve been accused of drinking and driving, contact Rion, Rion & Rion at (937) 223-9133 to get the legal guidance you need from our Dayton lawyers.