The 10 Most Common Ways to Get a Suspended License in Ohio

From OVIs to dropping out of school, here are some common ways your license can get suspended in Ohio.
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
You can get your license suspended in
for reasons as severe as operating a vehicle under the influence or something as simple as driving without your corrective lenses. And no matter how a driver’s privileges are lost, attempting to drive with a suspended license will result in worse punishments—sometimes even jail time. 
Once your driver’s license is finally secured, it can be easy to forget that the driving privileges it comes with can also be taken away. While it’s obvious that breaking serious rules of the road could lead to license suspension or revocation, it might be easier to lose driving privileges than you’d expect. 
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What’s the difference between a license suspension and revocation?

You might think the terms “license suspension” and “license revocation” can be used interchangeably, but their meanings are actually different.  
Here’s how the definitions vary in Ohio: 
  • License suspension—Your driving privileges have been temporarily withdrawn but can usually be reinstated after a certain period of time or an action has been fulfilled
  • License revocation—Your driving privileges have been permanently withdrawn, and you must file a motion with the sentencing court to attempt to reinstate your license
Generally, a license suspension is reserved for lesser offenses like failing to have proper
proof of insurance
, whereas a revocation is implemented for serious charges like vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter. 

Common reasons your license may be suspended in Ohio

Ohio has quite a lengthy list of reasons why your license might get suspended. Here are some of the more common ones. 

1. Accumulating too many points

Ohio utilizes a
point system
, like many other states, as a way to keep track of the number of traffic offenses accumulating on a driver’s record. If you receive 12 or more points within a two-year timeframe, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will issue you a six-month license suspension.
To reinstate your license, you will need to: 
  • Complete a remedial driving course 
  • Pay a reinstatement fee 
  • Retake your driving test and exam 

2. Operating a vehicle under the influence

DUIs in Ohio
are known as OVIs, which stands for "operating a vehicle while intoxicated." as does driving while impaired by drugs. If it is your first time receiving an OVI in the last 10 years, you will need to serve out a suspension period determined by the court. If you receive three or more OVI convictions within a three-year period, however, your license will be suspended until six months after you complete a rehabilitation program

3. Refusing to take a sobriety test 

If you refuse to take a sobriety test or if you test positive with drugs or alcohol over the legal limit, an Ohio law enforcement officer will suspend your license on the spot. Refusal to test will lead to a suspension ranging from one to five years, while a positive test will lead to a suspension from 90 days to five years.

4. Violating the liquor law 

The liquor law in Ohio deems it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or consume alcohol. Using your license to purchase alcohol for someone under 21 is therefore considered a violation of this law and will lead to a one-year suspension

5. Dropping out of school

Ohio has a set of license suspension laws specific to juvenile drivers—or any driver who’s under the age of 21. If you’re under 18, however, you are also beholden to a school dropout suspension, in which a superintendent can direct the BMV to suspend your license for frequent unexcused absences or withdrawal from school. So if you want to keep your driving privileges, keep going to those classes! 
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6. Using tobacco while underage

Just like alcohol is illegal for anyone under 21, tobacco is illegal for anyone under 18. If you’re caught possessing, using, purchasing, or receiving tobacco products and you’re not 18 yet, your license will be suspended for a month. You will also need to attend a youth smoking education and treatment program in order to reinstate your driving privileges. 

7. Failing to pay child support

It might not seem related, but failing to pay child support actually entitles a child support enforcement agency to impose a suspension on your license until the requirements they set are met. To reinstate your license, you will need to contact your child support agency—once the requirements are satisfied, they will notify the BMV to release your suspension. 

8. Not wearing your glasses

In Ohio, violating a license restriction is a suspendable offense. While this could mean you failed to comply with a daylight driving-only restriction, it can instead mean you failed to wear your corrective lenses. Bottom line: make sure you put your glasses on before you hit the road. 

9. Not paying an out-of-state ticket

Failing to pay an in-state traffic fine can lead to a bench warrant (i.e., the police can pick you up at any time to force you to either pay or serve time). But an unpaid out-of-state traffic ticket will earn you what is called a non-resident violator compact suspension. Under this suspension, the BMV will withhold your driving privileges until they receive notice from the out-of-state court that the payment has been received. 

10. Failing to comply with Ohio insurance requirements

If you fail to show proof of
Ohio’s minimum insurance requirements
, you will receive a non-compliance suspension. This suspension remains in effect until valid proof of coverage is presented to the BMV. 
If you didn’t have valid coverage when pulled over, you will need to carry SR-22 insurance for three years to reinstate your license for a first non-compliance offense. Second and third offenses will result in longer suspensions and five years of an SR-22 certificate of insurance. 
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