What is an Administrative License Suspension?
Posted in Criminal Defense on June 3, 2016
In the State of Ohio, if you operate a motor vehicle on any public or private property used by the public for vehicular travel or parking then you have been deemed to have given consent to a chemical test for the purposes of determining the alcohol or drug content. However, before any law enforcement officer can seek to obtain a sample of your bodily substances, usually breath, blood or urine, you must first be placed under arrest for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol (OVI/DUI). After being placed under arrest, the officer is then required to inform you of certain rights and the potential penalties if you refuse to submit to a chemical test. One of the potential penalties for testing over the legal limit or refusing to submit to a chemical test is an Administrative License Suspension (“ALS”), where your driver’s license is immediately taken away and your right to drive suspended.
It is important to understand that an ALS is civil in nature and is completely separate from any license suspension that may be imposed upon you from the criminal charge of OVI/DUI. This means that even if you are found not guilty of OVI/DUI, then you may still be subject to a license suspension for a refusal to submit to a chemical test. This is because the ALS is imposed by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles as part of the aforementioned implied consent law. As such, it is necessary to fight the Administrative License Suspension as well as the criminal charge for OVI/DUI if you want to terminate the suspension and get your divers license back. This is typically done by filing an appeal of the ALS within 30 days after an initial appearance is made in Court. The Court will then hold a hearing to determine whether or not the license suspension was properly imposed and/or should remain.
There are a lot of criminal defense attorneys who neglect to appeal the ALS suspension because they can be difficult to win, require a separate hearing and can involve complex issues of law. However, failing to file an appeal is a mistake since that may be the only way to get your driver’s license back. An ALS hearing also has the added benefit of permitting the attorney to elicit sworn testimony from the arresting officer that can be used to defeat the criminal charge during a suppression hearing or at trial. Below is a decision from the Fairborn Municipal Court in which attorney Douglas Brannon successfully appealed an ALS and restored a client’s right to operate his vehicle. If you have been criminally charged with OVI/DUI and placed under an ALS call the attorneys at the Brannon Law Firm for a free consultation at (937) 228-2306 to learn how to get your license back.