An Administrative License Suspension (ALS) is a driver’s license suspension that can be imposed, before any court involvement, on individuals charged with Operating a Vehicle Impaired (OVI).
Upon arrest for OVI, if you submit to a chemical test and the results are at or above the legal limit, your license will be suspended, immediately, for 90 days. No driving privileges can be granted for the first 15 days. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, your license will be suspended, immediately, for one year, and you will not be eligible for limited driving privileges for the first 30 days.
The duration of the suspension and time without limited driving privileges are extended for those who have committed more than one OVI offense.
Q: Can I drive during the suspension?
A: You may be granted limited driving privileges after the appropriate waiting period (which is called the “hard suspension”). Once you become eligible, a court may grant you driving privileges for the remainder of your suspension for employment, medical, educational and vocational purposes. In addition, the court may grant you privileges to attend court-ordered treatment and to take a driver’s examination.
Q: Can I challenge an ALS?
A: Yes. You must file an appeal within 30 days of the initial appearance, which must be held within five days of your arrest. A hearing on your appeal may take place at the initial appearance or at any time thereafter.
If appropriate legal procedures are followed by the arresting officer, the ALS is deemed valid and you have the burden of proving that the ALS was wrongfully imposed.
If the court finds that the ALS was illegally imposed or if certain legal procedures are not followed, it can declare the ALS void and terminate it.
Q: How do I get my license back when the ALS suspension period is over?
A: Your license will have been destroyed, but you can get a new license once you pay a reinstatement fee of $475 to the BMV and show proof that you have car insurance. Generally, the ALS is eliminated as part of your OVI case. It is wise to seek the advice of counsel before you pay the reinstatement fee.
If you do not have the full $475 reinstatement fee when your ALS is over you can enter into a Reinstatement Fee Plan with the BMV. Under this plan, you can pay $50 a month toward the reinstatement fee until it is paid in full.
Q: If I am found not guilty of the OVI offense, does the ALS end?
A: If you submitted to a chemical test, the ALS will be terminated if you are found not guilty of the OVI. Most judges will terminate the ALS if the prosecution asks the judge to dismiss the OVI charge, but some judges will not terminate the ALS without a “not guilty” finding by a judge or a jury after trial.
If you refused to submit to a chemical test, the ALS will remain in effect even if your OVI charge is dismissed or you receive a “not guilty” verdict. If you refused to submit to a chemical test, the only way your ALS can be terminated is if the court declares the ALS void or you win your appeal.
This "Law You Can Use" consumer legal information column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association. It was originally prepared by attorney Jon J. Saia, a partner in the Columbus law firm, Saia & Piatt, Inc., and updated by attorney Jessica G. D'Varga of the same firm.