Navigating OVIs and CDLs in Ohio


States have their own specific instructions for operating motor vehicles. In Ohio, you may encounter charges for an OVI (operating a vehicle under influence) and, much like a DUI, will need to undergo an administrative hearing process with the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Another common, state-specific regulation you might want to keep in mind is the commercial driver’s license (CDL).

In this blog, we will discuss the process for navigating an OVI charge, as well as regulations for holding a CDL in Ohio if you are, say, a driver in Youngstown looking to obtain a CDL or have a CDL suspension.

OVI Special Instructions

What Is an OVI?

Under criminal law in Ohio, an OVI refers to operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. While you may be charged with a DUI if you’ve allegedly been found driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher, you will be charged with an OVI if you allegedly have a BAC of 0.08%. First offenses are prosecuted as first-degree misdemeanors, and the court may decide whether to impose a jail term of up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00.

Reinstatement Requirements

If you have been charged with an OVI, reinstatement requirements are as follows:

  • Serve suspension as determined by the court
  • Pay a reinstatement fee
  • Provide current proof of insurance at the end of the suspension

The consequences of an OVI can be severe, depending on whether the driver was operating a personal or commercial vehicle.

CDL Special Instructions

CDL Suspensions

If you were charged with an OVI and hold a commercial driver’s license, the consequences will depend on whether you were driving a non-commercial or commercial vehicle at the time of the offense.

Upon arrest, if the CDL holder was driving a non-commercial vehicle, the BMV will suspend the CDL for 90 days. On the other hand, if the CDL holder was driving a commercial vehicle, the BMV will impose a 1-year CDL disqualification. In the event of a second conviction, they will incur a CDL disqualification for life. Be aware that the legal alcohol concentration limit while driving a commercial vehicle is lower than the limit for driving a non-commercial vehicle. Further, regardless of an OVI charge, if a CDL holder has any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, they will be immediately placed out of service for 24 hours.

To reinstate your CDL, you must serve the disqualification and pay a reinstatement fee. However, you may also choose to appeal a CDL disqualification by submitting a request to the BMV for an administrative hearing within 30 days after the date the BMV mailed the Notice of Disqualification.

A benefit to scheduling a hearing is that, upon receiving your request, the BMV will postpone the start of your disqualification until a final decision is issued after the hearing. Following the hearing, the examiner will issue a Report and Recommendation, and you will have10 days to file Objections. After the 10 days are up, the BMV will issue a final order.

You should also be aware of the BMV’s Out of Service Orders to ensure commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are traveling safely in Ohio. Enforcement agents and inspectors conduct safety inspections on CMVs to check that the driver and CMV meet state and federal regulations. Vehicles and drivers that fail to meet these regulations may be placed out-of-service and prohibited from operating until they are in compliance with the regulations. To reinstate activity, drivers need to serve the length of time ordered out of service and comply with regulations.

There are many nuances in both OVI and CDL penalties, as issued by Ohio’s BMV. Finding a good defense attorney can help you better understand these nuances. Our attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of any driving offenses.

Contact us at Hartwig Law LLC for a consultation today!

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