Although penalties such as jail time and step fines may come to mind as major consequences of a DUI charge, there are other penalties that may be just as problematic. When anyone in Ohio is arrested for a drunk driving offense, they face an automatic administrative suspension of their driver’s license. This action is taken by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), and is therefore independent of any following criminal penalties.

There are options available to alleged offenders, however, which can temporarily restore limited driving privileges while awaiting the resolution of their charges in court. Within 30 days of the arrest, the driver can submit a written request for a hearing to dismiss the suspension. This administrative hearing will examine evidence and witnesses to determine if the driver’s license should be restored. Certain factors, such as improper protocol during the traffic stop or arrest may lead to a reinstatement of driving privileges. The outcome of this civil review does not impact any criminal proceedings.

A driver’s license suspension cannot always be lifted, however. In some scenarios a revocation of driving abilities is mandated by Ohio’s laws. When a drive is detained on a suspicion of DUI, officers may request a breath, blood, or urine sample to analyze for blood alcohol content. Ohio Revised Code 4511.191 explains that the driver is legally able to refuse to provide a sample, but this refusal carries consequences. The penalties for refusing to provide a sample for testing vary based on the alleged offender’s prior history. For a first refusal, the driver’s license will be suspended for one year.

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