Automatic License Suspension (Refusal to Take Test)
If you are stopped for suspicion of impaired driving (OVI, DUI or drunk driving) and you refuse to take an evidentiary chemical test, law enforcement will take your license on the spot and you will begin serving an automatic license suspension. Depending on prior offenses and/or refusals to take a DUI/OVI mandated evidential test, you can have your license suspended from 90 days to 5 years. Immobilization of your car will occur after a second offense.
Appealing an A.L.S. Suspension
Within five (5) days of your arrest for DUI/OVI (or this issuance of a DUI/OVI citation) you will have an initial appearance in court, wherein you can appeal the A.L.S. Suspension. There will be a "hard time" during which you cannot obtain driving privileges. (O.R.C. 4511.191) If you need more information regarding a DUI or OVI arrest, please contact attorney Charles M. Rowland II immediately here, or by calling 1-888-ROWLAND.
Termination of Suspension (O.R.C. 4511.191 (K))
Your A.L.S. refusal suspension will be terminated if you enter a guilty or no contest plea to a violation of 4511.19 (DUI, OVI, drunk driving) and your A.L.S. suspension arose from the same incident.
How Do I Reinstate My License?
If you are charged with an drunk driving charge (a.k.a. DUI or OVI) you should consult an attorney. Your attorney may get your A.L.S. suspension vacated or terminated thereby saving you a hefty reinstatement fee. To get your license back you can:
- Serve the required suspension period.
- Pay the proper Reinstatement Fee (click here for the BMV's Reinstatement Fee List (http://bmv.ohio.gov/driver_license/reinstatement_fees.htm).
- Show proof of insurance by providing proper documentation to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 16520, Columbus, Ohio 43216-6520, Attn: Reinstatement Fee
What is Ohio's Implied Consent Law?
The substance of R.C. 4511.19.1, the implied consent law, is that every person who operates a motor vehicle on the public highways in Ohio has given his consent to a chemical test of his blood, breath or urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his blood if arrested for the offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol. The test shall be administered at the direction of a police officer having reasonable grounds to believe that the person was driving a motor vehicle upon the highways in this state while under the influence of alcohol. Such person shall be advised at a police station of the consequences of his refusal to submit to such chemical test. This advice shall be in a written form prescribed by the registrar of motor vehicles and shall be read to such person. The form shall contain a statement that it was shown to the person under arrest and read to him in the presence of the arresting officer and one other police officer or civilian police employee. Such witness shall certify to this fact by signing the form. If the person under arrest refuses to submit to the chemical test after first having been advised of the consequences of his refusal, the test shall not be given.
When the registrar of motor vehicles receives a sworn report by the police officer that he had reasonable grounds to believe the arrested person had been driving a motor vehicle upon the public highways in this state while under the influence of alcohol, and that the person refused to submit to the test after being advised of the consequences of his refusal, said registrar shall suspend his driver's license for a period of six months. The registrar shall immediately notify the person in writing that his license has been suspended and that he may appeal this decision and petition for a hearing.
Any person whose license to drive has been suspended under this section may within 20 days of the mailing of the notice by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles file a petition in the municipal or county court alleging error in the action taken by the registrar. Such petitioner shall notify the registrar of the filing of the petition and send him a copy. The scope of the hearing shall be limited to the following issues: (1) whether a police officer had reasonable ground to believe the person had been driving a motor vehicle on the public highways in this state while under the influence of alcohol; (2) whether the person was placed under arrest; (3) whether he refused to submit to the test upon request of the officer; (4) whether he was advised of the consequences of his refusal.
The registrar shall furnish a copy of the registrar's affidavit, which was prepared and signed by the arresting officer, to the court. The court shall decide whether the registrar has erred in the action he has taken and this issue will be decided upon the registrar's certified affidavit and such additional, relevant, competent and material evidence as either the registrar or the person whose license is sought to be suspended submits. If the court finds that there was no error in the action taken by the registrar he shall impose sentence by suspending the license for six months. If the court finds that such person has shown error in the action taken by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles the suspension of his driver's license shall not be imposed.
A most difficult issue to be decided by a municipal court is whether a police officer had reasonable grounds to believe that a person was driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
Reasonable grounds will be determined from the totality of all the facts and circumstances, including the person's actions immediately prior to his driving the motor vehicle; during the period of time he was driving the motor vehicle, including, but not limited to, the manner in which he was driving the motor vehicle; and immediately after he discontinued driving the motor vehicle, including his activities immediately after getting out of the motor vehicle.
It is not necessary that the police officer have reasonable grounds only from the manner in which the person was driving the motor vehicle because a person may be driving under the influence of alcohol and driving in a manner that would not indicate he was under the influence of alcohol. Each case must be decided on its own facts. It was the intention of the legislature that the police officer determine whether there were reasonable grounds to believe the person was driving while intoxicated after all of the foregoing acts.
Reference to reasonable grounds is contained in several places in R.C. 4511.19.1, and all such references are in the past tense. It is stated in R.C. 4511.19.1(A): "* * * The test or tests shall be administered at the direction of a police officer having reasonable grounds to believe the person to have been driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. * * *"
R.C. 4511.19.1(D): "* * * but the Registrar of Motor Vehicles upon the receipt of a sworn report of the police officer that he had reasonable grounds to believe the arrested person had been driving a motor vehicle * * * while under the influence of alcohol. * * *"
R.C. 4511.19.1(F): "* * * The scope of such hearing shall be limited to the issues of whether a police officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person had been driving a motor vehicle upon the highways in this State while under the influence of alcohol. * * *"