When Can I Drive?

Man driving
If a driver gets charged with an OVI or refuses to take a breath, blood, or chemical test under the suspicion of OVI, The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) can suspend driving privileges. The length of a driver’s license suspension will depend on the number of prior OVI arrests, refusals, and convictions. It will also depend on the severity of the offense. Depending on the OVI charges or conviction, a driver’s license can be suspended between 90 days to five years. During the suspension period, the individual cannot drive unless he or she is granted limited driving privileges. Once the suspension term has elapsed, the driver can apply for a driver’s license reinstatement.

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After an OVI arrest, the driver will be given a driver’s license suspension notice, known as an administrative license suspension (ALS). The ALS is handled by the BMV. Once the notice is received, the driver has 20 days from the date on the notice to request an ALS hearing with the BMV to petition for limited driving privileges. If an ALS hearing is not requested with the BMV, the driver can address the ALS in court during their first court appearance or file a petition within 30 days of their first court appearance. If limited driving privileges are granted, a person will be able to drive to and from work, school, and court-mandated programs.

When an arrest has been made for a first-time failed OVI breath or chemical test, driving privileges will not be available for the first 15 days following an OVI charge. After 15 days, a driver risks a license suspension of 90 days if they do not appeal. If the driver refused to take a breath or chemical test on a first-time OVI, their driving privileges are immediately suspended for 30 days. Following the 30 days, a driver risks getting their license suspended for one year.

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