BMV Points Suspension Ohio
19 Apr
Author: Colin Maher
Date: 2021-04-19
Categories: Traffic

BMV Points Suspension Ohio

What You Must Know About a 12-Point Driver’s License Suspension in Ohio

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles automatically suspends the license of any driver who accumulates 12 penalties points within a 24-month period. A points-based suspension lasts 6 months, and having the license reinstated requires doing all of the following:

  • Completing a remedial driving course,
  • Obtaining a certificate of insurability called an SR-22 and submitting it to the BMV,
  • Paying a reinstatement fee on top of the fee for obtaining an Ohio driver’s license, and
  • Passing the entire Ohio driver’s license exam.

A BMV points suspension is issued for a personal driver’s license, but maintaining a commercial driver’s license in Ohio requires having a valid operator’s license. The practical effect of a BMV suspension, then, is that commercial truck drivers are sidelined until they can reinstate their own license.

Penalty points accrue instantly when drivers pay traffic tickets, get convicted in traffic court, or receive convictions on certain criminal offenses. Once imposed, the penalty points remain on a driver’s BMV record for 2 full years. There is no way to remove penalty points, so the best option can be to partner with a Columbus traffic ticket defense attorney to contest a ticket.

How the Ohio BMV Assesses Penalty Points

Most of the Ohio state laws and local ordinances that define moving and equipment violations for drivers specify penalties that include fines and penalty points. A partial list of the penalty points follows.

Reckless Operation

2 or 4 points

Speeding 30 or more miles per hour over the speed limit

4 points

Speeding 10 or more miles per hour in a zone with a 55 mph speed limit or higher

2 points

Speeding 5 or more miles per hour in a zone with a speed limit lower than 55 mph

2 points

Defective equipment

2 points

Failure to signal a turn or lane change

2 points

Child restraint violation

2 points

Seatbelt violation

2 points


2 points

Since a ticket issued by a state trooper or police officer can list more than one alleged traffic violation, the violation with the highest point value will be the points assessed upon a conviction.

It is also important to understand that reckless operation (what Ohio state statutes call reckless driving) is prosecuted much like a criminal offense. The driver is typically required to appear before a judge or hire a Columbus traffic defense attorney to appear for them. Possible penalties can include four points, jail time, a fine, court costs, a license suspension, and probation. The same goes for third speeding tickets within the same year.

Penalty Points Are Not Assessed Only for Traffic Tickets

State laws also call on the BMV to record penalty points when a driver pleads to or is convicted of any of the following criminal offenses:

  • 6 points for operating a vehicle while intoxicated/driving under the influence (OVI/DUI)
  • 6 ponits for vehicular homicide or vehicular assault
  • 6 points for fleeing a traffic stop or eluding a police officer
  • 6 points for fleeing the scene of an accident even if the driver did not cause the crash (often call hit/skip)
  • 6 points for street racing
  • 6 points for driving with a suspended license in violation of limited driving privileges
  • 6 points for using a vehicle without the owner’s authorization even if the car or truck is not technically stolen
  • 6 points for committing a felony while driving a vehicle
  • 4 points for underage OVI/DUI

In each of these cases, a court-ordered license suspension is a possible penalty. Usually, a driver who has their license suspended by a judge will have limited driving privileges reinstated after a few weeks or months of serving a complete ban on driving. Sticking to the terms of partial privileges to drive to work, school, appointments and court dates is essential to avoid a new license suspension, jail time, high fines and court costs, and additional BMV penalty points.

You Can Fight to Keep Points Off Your BMV Record

Fighting every ticket may be impractical, but you should always contact a Columbus traffic defense attorney to discuss your options.  Fighting traffic tickets before you have a points problem is extremely important.  The better your traffic record, or lack thereof, the more likely it is to be able to avoid future traffic convictions. 

If you already have multiple traffic violations, it may not be too late.  Drivers who have received a warning letter from the Ohio BMV that they have accumulated six penalty points should be extremely cautious and wary of adding to their total. If you are at risk of a 12-point suspension or face any type of charge that could result in a driver’s license suspension, consider reaching out to Columbus traffic attorney Colin Maher.

The Maher Law Firm is a full-service traffic defense and criminal defense law firm based in Columbus, Ohio. Colin advises and represents clients throughout Franklin County.  He offers free phone consultations to all potential clients. To speak to attorney Maher now, call (614) 205-2208 or contact him online.

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