Administrative License Suspension Appeal Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

An arrest and charge for driving under the influence in Ohio usually comes with an administrative license suspension (ALS). This penalty, which is also called an implied suspension, is assessed on the spot by the arresting officer when the DUI suspect either refuses to submit breath, blood, and urine samples for testing or when the driver tests positive for alcohol or drug use.

The ALS must be appealed quickly. Otherwise, the administrative suspension remains in effect until it expires or a judge replaces it with a court-ordered license suspension. Left in place, the ALS also applies to any commercial driver license that the person under penalty holds. Ohio refuses to grant limited commercial driving privileges, so having a CDL administratively suspended can amount to losing a job.

How an ALS for Suspected Drunk or Drugged Driving Works

First, it is essential to understand that Ohio officially calls the alleged offense of driving under the influence “operating a vehicle while intoxicated,” or OVI. Enforcing the OVI law involves testing vehicle operators (a category that includes motorcycle riders and boaters) for alcohol and drugs.

Exceeding the applicable legal limit for an applicable blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or for a per se limit for a controlled substance is considered clear evidence of an OVI offense. The legal limits for BAC are as follows:

  • .08 for adults who are older than 21 and operating a privately owned vehicle;
  • .04 for operators of commercial vehicles such as tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, or construction equipment; and
  • .02 for any driver who is younger than 21.

Ohio courts recognize per se limits for the following illegal drugs and prescription medications:

  • Amphetamines, including those in ADHD medications
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamines
  • PCP
  • Salvia

Opioid painkillers such as oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) produce nearly all the same effects as heroin. Drivers who take such medications should recognize their risks for drawing OVI charges.

Drivers have the right to refuse to requests to blow into a breath-testing device and to supply blood and urine samples. Exercising those rights will not stop an arrest or prevent an OVI charge. A driver may want to consult with a DUI/OVI defense attorney during their detainment to receive advice on whether to consent to testing or refuse. Law enforcement officials cannot deny a suspect the opportunity to call a lawyer.

ALS Penalties

Keep in mind that an administrative or implied consent license suspension precedes and runs separately from any OVI penalties imposed by a judge. The two tables below spell out what a driver who is arrested for and charged with drunk or drugged driving can expect.


If you Refuse the Test

Refusals / Offenses in 10 years

Length of Administrative Suspension

Partial Personal Driving Privileges Can Be Restored

Use of Restricted License Plates

Use of Ignition Interlock Device

1st 1 year After 30 days Optional Optional
2nd 2 years After 90 days Optional Optional
3rd 3 years After 1 year Optional Optional
4 or more 5 years After 3 years Optional Optional

If You Fail the Alcohol or Blood Test

Offenses in 10 years

Length of Administrative Suspension

Partial Personal Driving Privileges Can Be Restored

Use of Restricted License Plates

Use of Ignition Interlock Device

1st 90 days After 15 days Optional Optional
2nd 1 year After 45 days Optional Optional
3rd 2 years After 180 days Optional

Required if registering a BAC above the legal limit

4 or more 3 years After 3 years Optional

Required if registering a BAC above the legal limit

Personal driving privileges granted to Ohio residents with suspended licenses are usually restricted to driving to and from work or school, driving to and from health care appointments, and driving to and from court appearances and meeting with an attorney.

Appealing an ALS

Until an ALS is successfully appealed or expires, the person under penalty faces harsh penalties if they violate the terms of their suspension. A violation of an ALS can result in arrest, jail time, fines, additional points on the license, and a longer court-issued license suspension.

An OVI defense attorney will be able to help you appeal an administrative license suspension. Acting immediately is key because state law sets a 30-day deadline for filing the appeal.

The notice to appeal can be given during the arraignment on the OVI and any related charges. If a CDL has been suspended, both the court handling the case and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles must be notified. The BMV follows a different procedure than the court, so working with a knowledgeable and experienced administrative license suspension lawyer will be important.

Colin Maher of the Maher Law Firm has served for many years as a license suspensions attorney in Columbus, Ohio. He offers free consultations to potential clients, and he takes many OVI cases for a flat fee. You can speak with Maher by calling him at (614) 205-2208 or completing this online contact form.

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