Occupational Driving Privileges Under Ohio Law
Occupational Driving Privileges
If you are charged with OVI, you will need to obtain “occupational driving privileges” for the length of your case. This article discusses the parameters of limited driving privileges following the adoption of Annie’s Law in April, 2017.
Occupational driving privileges are governed by R.C. 4510.021, which states:
R.C.§4510.021 – Granting Limited Driving Privileges. [Effective 3/14/2017] (A) Unless expressly prohibited by section 2919.22, section 4510.13, or any other section of the Revised Code, a court may grant limited driving privileges for any purpose described in division (A) of this section during any suspension imposed by the court. In granting the privileges, the court shall specify the purposes, times, and places of the privileges and may impose any other reasonable conditions on the person’s driving of a motor vehicle. The privileges shall be for any of the following limited purposes:
(1) Occupational, educational, vocational, or medical purposes; (2) Taking the driver’s or commercial driver’s license examination; (3) Attending court-ordered treatment; (4) Any other purpose the court determines to be appropriate. [SB 204] (4) Attending any court proceeding related to the offense for which the offender’s suspension was imposed; [HB 300] (5) Transporting a minor to a child care provider, day-care, preschool, school, or to any other location for purposes of receiving child care.
(B) Unless expressly authorized by a section of the Revised Code, a court may not grant limited driving privileges during any suspension imposed by the bureau of motor vehicles. To obtain limited driving privileges during a suspension imposed by the bureau, the person under suspension may file a petition in a court of record in the county in which the person resides.
A person who is not a resident of this state shall file any petition for privileges either in the Franklin county municipal court or in the municipal or county court located in the county where the offense occurred. If the person who is not a resident of this state is a minor, the person may file the petition either in the Franklin county juvenile court or in the juvenile court with jurisdiction over the offense. If a court grants limited driving privileges as described in this division, the privileges shall be for any of the limited purposes identified in division (A) of this section.
(C) When the use of an immobilizing or disabling device is not otherwise required by law, the court, as a condition of granting limited driving privileges, may require that the person’s vehicle be equipped with an immobilizing or disabling device, except as provided in division (C) of section 4510.43 of the Revised Code. When the use of restricted license plates issued under section 4503.231 of the Revised Code is not otherwise required by law, the court, as a condition of granting limited driving privileges, may require that the person’s vehicle be equipped with restricted license plates of that nature, except as provided in division (B) of that section.
(D) * * * * *
(E) Before granting limited driving privileges under this section, the court shall require the offender to provide proof of financial responsibility pursuant to section 4509.45 of the Revised Code.
Will The Court Grant Occupational Driving Privileges?
Under Ohio law, the judge has broad discretion in determining whether or not to grant privileges, but the scope of the privileges is usually limited to occupational, educational, vocational and medical purposes, or for taking a driver’s license examination and attending court-ordered treatment. Some courts are liberal in granting privileges. Other judges do not allow privileges in certain cases. Having an accident, refusing the test, testing particularly high, being rude or violent with the officers are all things that may affect your driving privilege request. Another common problem is not knowing and following the rules of the court. When you hire us, we are able to make the process go as smoothly as possible. When granted, the limited privileges are valid for the remainder of the suspension.
In State v. Hollaender, 2014-Ohio-1782 – The policy of the trial court to not grant driving privileges evidences the trial court’s abdication of the exercise of its discretion, as exercising discretion would require the consideration of the facts and circumstances of the matter at issue. Such a policy ignores the clear intent of the statute, i.e. that, under some circumstances, to be determined by the trial court, it is appropriate to award driving privileges. Having a general rule of this kind is, thus, an abuse of discretion. See Smith v. Smith, 2001-Ohio-2139, (“To render a decision based upon a blanket court policy would rise, at least, to the level of an abuse of discretion.”); State v. Ritch, 4th Dist. Scioto No. 99 CA 2634, 1999 Ohio App. LEXIS 4709 (determining that such a policy to not grant occupational driving privileges would be an abuse of discretion but finding the issue appealed moot).
What Kind of Restrictions Can The Court Put On My Occupational Driving Privileges?
Some folks do not have control over their schedule. Tell us if your work schedule changes frequently and we will tell you what to do. We have work-arounds for many problem areas, such as: getting on a plane; renting a car; reinstating your license and seeking employment. If you routinely travel for your job we can make a request that your work travel be included in your privileges. A liberal reading of the law permits the court to grant limited privileges for a variety of reasons. A strict reading does not.
A court may require, as a condition of allowing you to have pre-trial limited driving privileges, that you abstain from the use of alcohol. The issuing court also has the discretion to order you to wear a transdermal alcohol detection unit (commonly called the S.C.R.A.M., “Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor”). What is more, the court will make you pay for the installation and monitoring of the device. If the court imposes such restrictions, they will remain in effect until the conclusion of your case. R.C. 4511.198(A)(1). Violations of the alcohol monitoring will result in a termination of the court’s occupational driving privileges. In practice, your OVI attorney will be able to advise you about the peculiarities of the court and the possibility of obtaining occupational driving privileges with or without the restrictions.
When Can I Drive Again? (The Bad News)
After the passage of Annie’s Law, it was contemplated that courts would adopt a scheme involving an accused to obtain an interlock ignition device. Once the person puts this device in their car they can have unlimited occupational driving privileges.
This law is the latest in Ohio’s ever harshening “war” on drunk drivers. For years, MADD and their partners at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been laying the groundwork for universal ignition interlock devices. Their “DADDS” system would require every car manufactured to be equipped with sensors. If the driver attempts to start the car and has some alcohol on their breath, it does not allow the car to start. While this is still their objective, public opinion is very against this idea. MADD was handed a defeat when the public in Ontario voted on this issue. So they changed tactics.
Now, a person ACCUSED of drunk driving will have to get an ignition interlock in their car in order to get driving privileges. The quid pro quo of this arrangement is the harsh mandatory time that an ACCUSEDperson cannot drive is eliminated. Targeting the easily vilified drunk driver makes the use of ignition interlock tools pervasive. Many states have already passed this law. Ohio has moved markedly toward the right in matters of criminal justice so it was a natural choice. Ohio joins Kentucky and West Virginia who have similar laws.
The OVI (drunk driving) law expanded to allow for a 10 year look-back instead of the current 6. That means that if a convicted OVI offender gets another conviction, the offender will be subject to lengthy incarceration and other enhanced penalties.
When Can I Drive Again? (The Good News)
Most courts have yet to fully implement the Annie’s Law system. It is most common to have a judge who will operate under the old law. Here are the restrictions under Ohio law.
Failed Chemical Test R.C. 4511.191(C): Occupational driving privileges cannot be granted during the following periods in test cases:
- 15 days of suspension on a first offense
- 30 days of suspension on a person who had a prior OVI or refusal within 6 years.
- 180 days for a person who has had 2 prior OVI/refusals within 6 years.
- 3 years of suspension on a person who had 3 or more previous OVI/refusals within 6 years
OVI Refusal R.C. 4511.19(B): Occupational driving privileges cannot be granted during the following periods in refusal cases:
- 30 days of suspension on a first offense.
- 90 days of suspension on a person who had a previous refusal within 6 years.
- 1 year of suspension on a person who had 2 previous refusals within 6 years.
- 3 years of suspension on a person who had 3 previous refusals within 6 years.
- A person, who within the preceding 7 years, has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to 3 or more OVI violations cannot be granted limited privileges.
For first-time offenders, if you took test and your BAC was at or above the legal limit, you will not be eligible for even limited driving privileges for 15 days from the date of arrest. If you refused to submit to a BAC test, you are not eligible for driving privileges for 30 days from the date of arrest. The time during which the court cannot grant driving privileges is commonly referred to as a “hard time.” A judge cannot grant privileges before the end of the “hard” suspension.If you have a CDL or a prior, we will address this matter at your consultation.
Much confusion is caused by the fact that the Administrative License Suspension is a pre-trial suspension generated by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The warnings given by the arresting officer are misleading. Often a client will come to our office under the misimpression that the worst case scenario will be a 90 day suspension. If our client refused a chemical test, they believe they are condemned to a one year suspension. This is not usually the case. Upon a plea to a reduced charge (such as Reckless Operation) or to an OVI, the Administrative License Suspension will be terminated and the court will impose its own suspension. The minimum mandatory suspension for a first OVI offense is one year. This will horrify the person who believed that they were facing 90 days.
What If I Drive Anyway?
Driving under an OVI suspension is a violation of Ohio Revised Code 4510.14. It is a separate offense from a DUI/OVI charge and carries harsh mandatory penalties. Most of these charges originate when a person is desperate to live up to their obligations. Often, the automatic license suspension is the worst part of the DUI experience. It is the position of this author that taking a person’s license prior to being found guilty of an offense is an unconstitutional governmental taking, a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right of assembly and a violation of Due Process in that a person is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Thus far, these arguments have not carried the day. Here are the punishments for the various levels of the offense.
A first offense violation of R.C. 4510.14 is a first degree misdemeanor (punishable by a maximum fine of six months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine). The offense carries a mandatory three day jail sentence and a mandatory Class 7 license suspension of up to one year. The judge has the discretion to allow the jail time to be served by a minimum of 30 days on Electronic Home Detention (house arrest). In addition, if the car used in the offense belongs to the offender, a 30 day immobilization of the car and impoundment of plates is required. Some courts will not consider granting limited driving privileges following this charge because they see the offense as a direct violation of “their” order. If a court does grant privileges it must be with the restricted yellow plates. The judge may, but does not have to, require an ignition interlock device.
A second offense violation of R.C. 4510.14 is a first degree misdemeanor (punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,500.00 fine). The offense carries a mandatory ten day jail sentence and a mandatory Class 7 license suspension of up to one year. The judge has the discretion to allow the jail time to be served by a minimum of 90 days on house arrest.
In addition, if the car used in the offense belongs to the offender, a 60 day immobilization of the car and impoundment of plates is required. Most courts will not consider granting limited driving privileges following this charge because they see the offense as a direct violation of “their” order. If a court does grant privileges it must be with the restricted yellow plates. Additionally, the judge may, but does not have to, require an ignition interlock device. Be aware, a second violation can result in a very big bond being placed and may result in your being in jail until the case can be heard.
THIRD OFFENSE. A third driving under OVI suspension is an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,500.00 fine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail. Unlike a first or second violation, Electronic Home Detention (house arrest) is not an option. Forfeiture of the vehicle is required on a third offense, but the granting of driving privileges is still possible with restricted plates.
What Do You Need To Bring To DaytonDUI?
There are many advantages in hiring an experienced DUI lawyer. Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in obtaining and maintaining occupational driving privileges. From the very start we give you information about getting you back to driving. In addition, we have a dedicated employee who works on your privileges. She is responsive to your questions and can help you through the process. With more than twenty years experience, we are often able to avoid all-to-typical pitfalls.
Here is what you need to bring:
- Bring in or send us your proof of insurance. This can be a card, or the declaration page of your insurance policy.
- Is your name on the card?
- Does your insurance cover the incident date?
- Is this your first offense? If not, an SR-22 bond may be required prior to getting your privileges.
- Contact us at 937-318-1384, or by fax at 937-879-0232,or by emailing our administrative staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Depending on the court you will be permitted up to 60 hours per week. This includes to/from/during work, school, parenting time, medical and/or treatment appointments.
- Bring in a letter from your employer on company letterhead stating your work hours. In addition, it should state your days worked and hours worked.
- If you don’t want your employer to know of your arrest, please a pay stub will usually suffice. (Also, carefully review your company policy as you may be required to disclose an arrest for insurance purposes)
- If you are self-employed, prepare a two-week schedule that we can use to obtain privileges. Get with us every time you need an update.
- If you need to travel, contact us to get permission to drive to the destination and/or the airport. We can also help you get a temporary Ohio identification for travel purposes.
We will promptly submit your occupational driving privileges request. Be aware, different courts have different procedures. Some require you to pay a filing fee. Others make you appear in person to apply. In addition to applying, some want you to appear in person to pick up your privileges (or other requirements). Some courts are quicker in turning our requests into your privileges. It is important that you have some patience and stay in contact with our office. We are here to help you!
Finally, facing a DUI offense is overwhelming. I offer a free consultation where we address the process of getting occupational driving privileges. Even if you do not hire me, you will be immeasurably relieved to know there is a plan to overcome most obstacles. In addition, will tell you that it is important to focus on the ONE decision in front of you. Also, if you break down your case into manageable bits, you will feel much better. Most of the time, your first (and most important) decision will be in deciding on an attorney. Give me a call or text at (937) 318-1384 or 888-ROWLAND.