Like all states, Ohio may suspend or revoke your license for a variety of reasons. If you drive while your license is suspended or revoked, you could be charged with a crime.
Reasons for Suspension
Your driver’s license may be suspended for certain traffic violations, criminal convictions, and civil matters.
One well-known reason for suspension is a points-based suspension. Ohio operates a point system for determining when drivers' licenses may be suspended for certain traffic offenses. A certain number of points are assessed to your license for traffic convictions. If you accrue 12 points within a two-year period, your license may be suspended. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.037(B).)
Alcohol offenses, including being in physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated, are another common reason. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4511.194(D).)
There are many other reasons your license may be suspended revoked. For example, it may be may be suspended if:
- you are convicted of reckless operation, or
- if you default on a child support order. (Ohio Rev. Code § 3123.58, § 4510.15.)
Reinstating your License
Your license may be suspended or revoked for varying periods of time. After your period of suspension or revocation expires, you may have to pay a reinstatement fee, pay other fees, or complete other conditions before you receive a new license.
If your license is suspended, disqualified or canceled for at least 90 days, you may have to pay a $40 reinstatement fee and a $10 service fee. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4507.45.)
In certain cases, your reinstatement fee may be $30. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.072(A).)
If your license was suspended for accumulating too many points or operating under the influence, you may have to complete a driving instruction course, take a written examination, and provide proof of vehicle insurance. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.038(A).)
Criminal Charges for Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
You may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if you drive while your license is suspended or revoked. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.11.) The maximum sentence for a first-degree misdemeanor may involve:
- 180 days in jail, and
- a maximum $1,000 fine. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.11, § 2929.28(A)(2).)
If your license was suspended because you failed to provide financial responsibility for your vehicle or for nonpayment of a judgment, you may be charged with an unclassified misdemeanor for the first offense. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.16(D).) The sentence may not involve jail time, but you may be ordered to complete community service and pay a fine up to $1,000. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.16(D).)
If convicted, your license may be suspended for an extended period of time. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.11(D).) In some circumstances, your vehicle may be immobilized or your license plates impounded. (Ohio Rev. Code § 4510.11(D).) If you have three or more prior convictions within three years, your vehicle may be forfeited. (Ohio Rev. Code § 510.11(D)(2)(c).)
Legal Help for Charges of Driving on a Suspended License
The fines and possible jail time that come with a conviction for driving on a suspended license are serious consequences. As a result, you may have difficulty keeping employment, staying in school, obtaining or retaining insurance, and generally living your life. The law provides specific penalties for this crime, but your sentence will depend on the circumstances of your case and the attitude toward the crime held by local prosecutors and judges. Consider hiring an attorney who is familiar with these charges in your area and will be able to give you individual advice.