The facts of your case play a major role in how long you lose your license after a DUI in Ohio. It could be as little as 90 days, or as long as a lifetime revocation of your driving privileges. When police arrest you on suspension of drunk driving — known as operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) in Ohio — you face an automatic, immediate administrative license suspension. If convicted in trial court, you will face mandatory sentencing including an additional license suspension.
In some cases, you may qualify to request limited driving privileges after serving the “hard time” suspension required under Ohio law. This hard time may be as little as 15 days for first offenders who test at or slightly above the legal limit.Lose Your License

Administrative Driver’s License Suspensions

When a law enforcement officer stops you and asks you to perform field sobriety tests and take a breath test, there are two ways you can end up with an automatic and immediate administrative driver’s license suspension (ALS). If you test over the legal limit or refuse the blood alcohol content testing, the arresting officer will take your license and you will lose your driving privileges on the spot.
These administrative suspensions can last from 90 days to five years, depending on how many previous OVI arrests you have. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles oversees this type of suspension.
Sometimes, we can request an ALS hearing for our clients and provide evidence in this hearing to show they were not impaired at the time of their arrest. If we can prove there was a problem with testing equipment or protocols, or that the police violated your rights, we may be able to fight the administrative suspension. You can appeal this suspension and request a hearing within 30 days after the date of your arrest.

Driver’s License Suspensions as Criminal Penalties

Ohio outlines its mandatory minimum license suspension penalties in Ohio Revised Code § 4511.19. These penalties increased recently, when a bill known as Annie’s Law went into effect in 2017. Under these laws, the court must suspend the driver’s license of anyone convicted of an OVI for a specific length of time. This includes:

  • One to three years suspension for a first OVI conviction
  • One to seven years for a second OVI conviction
  • Two to twelve years for a third OVI conviction
  • A fourth conviction or other felony drunk driving conviction could lead to a lifetime suspension

In general, the look-back period for OVI offenses is ten years. It is important to note that, unlike the administrative license suspension, you will only have to serve the criminal penalties if the court convicts you of drunk driving. We can help you fight the charges against you. Depending on the facts of your case we may be able to get the charges dropped, negotiate a lesser charge, or win a “not guilty” verdict in court.

Getting Limited Driving Privileges During Your Suspension

Ohio law allows you to request limited driving privileges after you serve a set length of “hard time” as required based on your sentencing. In general, this includes:

  • 15 days for a first OVI
  • 30 days for a first offense refusal to submit to testing
  • 45 days for a second OVI
  • 90 days for refusing to submit to testing on the second offense
  • 180 days for a third OVI
  • One year for refusing to submit to testing on the third offense

After serving the hard time of your suspension, we can file a petition on your behalf and present a case for why you need limited driving privileges. In general, Ohio will only grant this type of temporary permit to allow you to drive to and from:

  • Work
  • School
  • Medical appointments
  • Court-ordered drug and alcohol counseling, and similar appointments

The law gives the judge wide discretion to grant limited driving privileges, and we may be able to argue you need to drive for additional purposes based on your situation. We understand how much your ability to drive means to you and your family and will do everything in our power to reduce the impact your license suspension has on your life.

Are you or someone you know facing DUI / OVI charges? 

If you are facing DUI charges, you need to speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams is recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and is one of U.S. News' Best Law Firms.  Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation. 

Steven R. Adams
Steven R. Adams was a criminal defense lawyer dedicated to DUI, OVI, and criminal defense in Cincinnati, Ohio.