How to Get an Ohio Driver’s License Reinstatement

If your license is suspended or revoked in Ohio, you’ll have to undergo several steps before reinstatement, including paying a reinstatement fee.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) reserves the right to suspend or revoke your driving privileges for a variety of reasons, and each suspension or revocation will include its own reinstatement protocol. In addition to waiting out the suspension or revocation period, you may have to attend driving school and will likely pay a fee. 
If you rely on your car to get around on a daily basis, losing your license—even temporarily—can be majorly disruptive. If your Ohio driver's license is suspended or revoked, it’s important to clearly understand exactly what you’ll need to do to get it back and hit the road again.
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Why you might need a license reinstatement in Ohio 

You’ll need a license reinstatement for one of two reasons: a
license suspension
or a license revocation. Ohio’s BMV may suspend or revoke your license for a
wide variety of reasons
, such as certain traffic violations, failure to pay child support, and failure to pay court debts. 
Some suspensions are ordered by a judge, and others are based on agency decisions and come directly from the BMV. The exact steps you must take to get your license back will depend on what type of suspension you have. 

How to get a license reinstatement in Ohio 

How you go about reinstating your license will depend greatly on why your license was suspended in the first place. In addition to waiting out the suspension period, you can expect to pay several fees
Ohio license reinstatement fees can be as little as $40 but can get quite expensive depending on your initial violation. 
If you owe more than $150 in fees and have satisfied all other suspension requirements, the BMV offers a
payment plan
to help you get back on the road. If you’re eligible for the plan, you must pay at least $25 every 30 days to keep your license valid. 

Insurance suspensions 

If your Ohio driver’s license was suspended due to a failure to show proof of car insurance at a traffic stop or after a car accident, you’ll likely have to show proof of an SR-22 from your insurance provider and pay a reinstatement fee
You can
access your BMV records
for information regarding your specific reinstatement fee. 

Alcohol and drug suspensions 

Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked due to a variety of alcohol and/or drug-related charges, such as operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI), refusing or failing a sobriety test, or even using someone else’s license to purchase alcohol when you’re under 21. 
A judge will determine the duration of your suspension, which could range from 90 days to 5 years. Additionally, you may have to:
  • Complete a driving course
  • Complete a drug/rehabilitation program
  • Maintain six months of sobriety
  • Retake your driving exam 
Of course, you’ll also need to pay the relevant reinstatement fees before you get your driving privileges back. 

Court suspensions  

The courts may order a suspension of your license due to non-driving related reasons, such as a failure to appear in court after a misdemeanor charge or if a warrant is out for your arrest. Typically, these suspensions are lifted once you resolve your obligations with the court and pay your reinstatement fees. 

Juvenile suspensions 

Ohio drivers under the age of 18 face unique restrictions and may encounter additional hurdles before reinstating their suspended licenses. 
Juvenile suspensions can occur if a minor:
  • Is found possessing, using, purchasing, or receiving any tobacco products
  • Is convicted of taking a weapon onto school property
  • Drops out of school or has frequent unexcused absences
If your license is suspended as a minor, you may not get it back until you turn 18. You’ll also very likely have to attend traffic school before paying your reinstatement fees. 
Key Takeaway In most cases, you’ll have to pay a $70 reinstatement fee and $50 service fee before applying for a new North Carolina license. However, some offenses will require additional steps and fees. 

How to get a hardship license in Ohio

If your license is suspended, you may be able to request limited driving privileges. This is sometimes referred to as a “hardship license” or “restricted license” and offers you limited privileges to drive to work, school, medical appointments, and/or court-ordered treatments. 

When can you apply for a hardship license?

You must request limited driving privileges in court any time after your license has been suspended. The court order must be a journal entry bearing a court seal. 
To exercise limited driving privileges, your license cannot be expired and you must comply with all your suspension requirements. 

What is an SR-22 certificate?

Ohio’s BMV may require an
SR-22 certificate
to reinstate your license. Sometimes called a “bond,” an SR-22 certifies that you have at least a minimum liability insurance policy as required by the state.
To obtain an SR-22 certificate, you must purchase a car insurance policy through a licensed insurance provider. They will then forward the necessary paperwork to the BMV. 
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