How to Get Limited Driving Privileges in Ohio

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If your Ohio driver's license has been suspended, you might be able to get limited driving privileges. The state usually grants driving privileges so you can get back and forth to work, but in some cases you may qualify for another reason such as a medical issue, school or vocational training.

After an OVI

The state of Ohio can suspend a driver's license for several reasons, including serious offenses like operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your license was suspended for Operating a Vehicle Impaired, you can't apply for limited driving privileges right away even if you need to drive to get to work, school or a doctor's appointment. Instead, you must first complete the “hard time” portion of the suspension, which can vary from 15 days to three years depending on the offense.

The reinstatement fee for an OVI is $475 as of publication. After you complete the hard suspension, the requirements to petition for limited driving privileges are the same as for other suspensions.

Other Suspensions

Your license can also be suspended for other reasons, including getting 12 points on your license for moving violations within two years, failure to carry insurance, or causing an accident without insurance.

If your license was suspended because you didn't have insurance, you cannot apply for limited driving privileges on your first offense. Instead, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles will reinstate your license as soon as you file proof of insurance and pay the reinstatement fee. If this is your second offense, you will have to file proof of insurance, pay the fee or get on a payment plan and wait 15 days before you can apply for limited driving privileges. If this is your third offense, you will have to wait 30 days.

There are different rules for different offenses, and the court is not required to grant temporary driving privileges even if you've met all the requirements.

Applying for Driving Privileges

To apply for limited driving privileges in Ohio, go to the county or municipal courthouse for the area you live in. If your license has been suspended in Ohio but you don't actually live there, you can petition for limited driving privileges at either the Franklin County Municipal Court or the court in charge of the area where the incident occurred.

The court will provide you with a petition form along with a list of the requirements you need to meet. Don't file the petition until you can meet all the requirements because the filing fee -- $123 as of publication -- is non-refundable. If you aren't sure whether you qualify or not, consult a lawyer.

Requirements to Apply

To qualify for a limited driving privilege order, your driver's license must be up to date. If your license expired more than six months ago, the court may allow you to take the driver's test so you can get your license renewed. If your license expired more recently, the court may allow you to renew it without re-testing.

You must also provide proof of financial responsibility, regardless of the reason for the suspension. Your car insurance company can give you a SR-22 Surety Bond as proof of financial responsibility, or you can leave a $30,000 deposit with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The BMV can also provide you with a real estate bond for $60,000 if you prefer. Whenever you make a payment to your insurance company, you must file of your payment with the court.

You must be able to pay all license reinstatement fees within 90 days for the court to grant you limited driving privileges, although you can request a monthly payment plan if you can pay off the fees within 180 days. You must also be up to date on any other court ordered payments such as fines.

If your license was suspended because of an accident, you must pay all damages before you file your petition.

If your license was suspended for more than one reason, you'll need a separate order for each suspension before you can legally drive. If the court grants your limited driving privileges order, it will take the form of a journal entry with a court seal to show that it is authentic.

Filing the Petition

When you file your petition with the court, you must provide the reason for your request, the times in which you will be driving and the locations you will be driving to.

If you're asking for driving privileges so you can get to work, you must provide a letter from the employer verifying your work schedule as well as the employer's address.

If you're asking for driving privileges so you can get to school, you must provide a copy of your official course schedule.

If your work, school or living circumstances change in any relevant way you must inform the court or your license will be suspended again.

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