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Is my license suspended before or after I go to court for my DUI?

CarMany people think that their license is not suspended as long as they have not gone to court. The answer to this question is, “It depends.”

There are two types of license suspensions: an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) and a conviction suspension. We will explain these two types and when they are imposed below.

First Comes the Administrative License Suspension

If you are pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving, the police officer will most likely try to get you to take a field sobriety test. We recommend that you never take a field sobriety test (unless you are sure that you are below the legal limit), and here’s why.

By refusing to take the test, whether it’s a blood, breath, or urine test, the officer can take your license right then and there. This means that your license has been suspended, and it goes into effect immediately. This ALS lasts for one year. You will have the opportunity to ask the court to grant you limited driving privileges based on your employment, medical, educational, and vocational needs. If this is your first offense, you can request these privileges after 30 days; if this is your second offense, you can request them after 90 days.

Even if you submit to the test, the officer can and most likely will take you license if you fail the field sobriety test. In this case, your license will be suspended for 90 days under the ALS.

If you have received an ALS, you should contact an Ohio DUI/OVI defense attorney as soon as possible, as you might be able to have it terminated. You can file an appeal with the court; if the court grants your request, there will be a hearing in which they determine whether or not the suspension is valid. If the arresting officer imposed it illegally or did not follow other legal procedures, it may be terminated.

It is important to note that this suspension is on top of a conviction suspension. Read on to learn more about this type.

Second Comes a Conviction Suspension

An ALS is imposed by the police officer on behalf of the BMV, which is an administrative agency. This is why it is called an “administrative” suspension. This is completely separate from a judicial suspension—or one imposed by a judge through a court—which is also known as a conviction suspension. In other words, if you are tried and found guilty of drinking and driving, your license can be suspended from anywhere between six months and three years.

If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, your license may have already been suspended administratively (by the BMV), and in addition, you may be facing up to three years with a suspended license for a first offense and up to five years for a second offense. We are only talking about license suspension here; you are likely facing time in jail and hefty fines on top of this. Click here to learn more about the various DUI penalties in the state of Ohio.

For advice on how best to proceed after being charged with a DUI, fill out the form above or call us at (513) 621-8700 to speak with an Ohio DUI/OVI defense lawyer. We are located in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, and have been defending people like you for 36 years. You always have options—let us help you explore them.