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A license suspension can be a hardship, but luckily, it does not last forever. Unfortunately, your driving permissions are not immediately returned to you simply because the suspension has passed. If your license has been suspended for any reason, whether a DUI, drug conviction, or simply unpaid parking tickets, you cannot drive again after the suspension is over until you have fulfilled all license reinstatement requirements.
If you are caught driving on a suspended license, even if the official term of suspension has passed, you can be arrested for a misdemeanor. This may not seem like a big deal, but it can have serious long-term consequences and even make it more difficult to get your license officially reinstated.
If you are convicted for failure to reinstate your license, you will face misdemeanor charges. A first and second offense will be considered an unclassified misdemeanor offense. This is punishable by up to 500 hours of community service and a fine of up to $1,000.
The third offense and all subsequent offenses are taken more seriously. Instead of an unclassified misdemeanor arrest, you will be arrested for a first degree misdemeanor. It is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 as well, but also up to 180 days in jail. This misdemeanor is generally treated quite harshly, as it is a third offense, so the courts are often unsympathetic.
Getting your license properly reinstated is therefore vital before getting back behind the wheel. You should ideally send in proof of fulfillment of all the license reinstatement requirements 20 days before the suspension is up in order to ensure that there are no delays.
Depending on the reason for your license suspension, you may have a variety of requirements to complete before you are eligible. These commonly include defensive driving or remedial driving courses, alcohol or drug treatment, community service, payment of restitution, and proof of insurance or a liability bond. In addition, you will always have to pay the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) reinstatement fees.
The exact amount of the BMV fee required to reinstate your license depends on the reason for the original suspension. Some of the most common BMV reinstatement fees are as follows:
You must send the BMV payment via mail by a check or money order payable to the “Ohio State Treasurer” or online by electronic check. If you cannot afford the reinstatement fees, you can apply for a payment plan through the BMV if you owe at least $150. This will allow you to reinstate your license immediately after presenting proof of financial responsibility. The reinstatement will remain valid for as long as your payments are current. Reinstatement fees can also be discharged in bankruptcy, so long as the fees are listed in the schedule of debts.
It may seem like no big deal to drive after your suspension is lifted before your driver’s license has been officially reinstated, but the courts would not agree. These charges can have a serious impact on your life for years to come, even it is your first offense. If assigned many hours of court-mandated community service, you will have an even more difficult time getting back to normal life. A Columbus traffic lawyer can help you negotiate with the prosecution and get the best outcome possible for your case.
If you’ve been charged with driving after a suspension and failing to reinstate your license, the Columbus traffic lawyers at Luftman, Heck, and Associates can help you minimize the impact of these charges. Call us today at for a free consultation on your case to find out how we may be able to help.