Ohio used to have some of the most draconian licensing laws in the country. Every year, Ohio citizens lost their privilege to drive due to “collateral sanctions” or issues that had absolutely nothing to do with their driving record or their ability to operate a car safely. You failed to pay child support? You were in an accident that wasn’t even your fault and didn’t report it immediately? Your check bounced, your insurance lapsed and you drove without insurance? These and similar non-driving offenses have resulted in nearly a million Ohioans having their drivers licenses suspended.
Relief from draconian license sanctions
Last year, the legislature finally provided some relief. In September 2012, the Collateral Sanctions Act was enacted, providing for alternative sanctions other than a driver’s license suspension for certain wrongs. A driver involved in a fender-bender is no longer subject to mandatory license suspension where he is named in the accident report as uninsured and fails to give proof of financial responsibility to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. A parent who has fallen behind on child support payments can apply to the court for limited driving privileges, which permits that person to continue to drive to work or as part of his job so he can catch up on child support payments. License reinstatement fees are unaffordable? Now the Registrar of Motor Vehicles can adopt rules permitting people to pay their reinstatement fees in installments.
Driver’s license suspensions are not simple cases. The kind of suspension, the length of the suspension and the reason for the suspension give rise to different defenses and options. Also, in weighing your possible defenses and the consequences of these criminal charges, it is important to know that there is a difference between a suspension, a cancellation and a revocation. Failure to deal with these seemingly simple violations could result in jail, fines, impoundment of your vehicle and the loss of your job if you need your license to work or commute to work. Above all, failure to take care of these kinds of traffic charges may result in a criminal record which impacts your insurance rates, and increases the penalties for any future violations.