Huey Defense Firm - Ohio Law Summary
Prepared by Timothy Huey - Columbus Ohio
Ohio Procedures in Cases Involving Out of State DUI Convictions
Below is a summary, primarily meant for attorneys, setting forth the procedures and statutes involved when a person with an Ohio Driver's License is convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or a Drug of Abuse in another state. Note: portions of the relevant statutes are included below the summary.
The primary purpose is to advise out of state attorneys of what the Ohio statutes seem to say and an idea of what will generally happen if a client, who has an Ohio driver's license, is convicted of DUI in another state.
It is worth noting that pretty much the same suspensions and procedures apply when your client is convicted of any drug offense -whether related to or unrelated to driving a vehicle- except that Ohio may be less likely to find out about misdemeanor drug convictions.
Not Legal Advice
Nothing herein is meant to be legal advice. In particular, this summary is not meant to be used or relied upon by non-lawyers without the aide of a lawyer who can review the statutes referred to herein and make his or her own determination as to what the statutes specify.
To the extent that this summary describes standard practices of the BMV and courts, it does so based upon the experience of the author. The BMV or individual employees may not always follow the standard practices described herein. More importantly, individual courts, judges and BMV hearing officers may have their own practices, procedures and views of how these statutes should be interpreted.
If you are a non-lawyer and your lawyer has forwarded this summary to you, you should address all questions to him or her.
To prevent misunderstandings, our office will not answer legal questions for non-clients. In general, clients are folks who pay us for our advice, non-clients are everybody else.
How it All Starts
Per Ohio Revised Code Section 4510.17, if an Ohio licensee is convicted in another state of an offense "substantially similar" to any of our Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI) offenses set forth in RC 4511.19  and Ohio receives notice thereof -which is pretty likely - the Registrar of the Ohio BMV will take action.
Implied Consent Suspensions Don't Trigger this Action
There is no specific provision in the Ohio revised Code for the Ohio BMV to impose a separate suspension where an Ohio driver suffers an Implied Consent suspension in another state and our experience is that an Administrative License Suspension will not trigger a separate Ohio suspension.
However, if the client's license expires or he otherwise needs to renew, replace or reinstate his Ohio license during the ALS suspension period he will probably have great difficulty and may find it to be impossible. After the ALS ends the client will want to make sure all fees are paid and all conditions are met such that he is "cleared" in your state or he will have similar problems renewing, replacing or reinstating his Ohio license.
The Triggering Notice
At some point after the client is convicted of DUI in your state, often quite awhile after, the Registrar of the Ohio BMV will notify the licensee that a suspension will be imposed 21 days after the mailing of the letter.
This letter will be sent ordinary mail to the address on client's Ohio license unless client does a "change of address" with the BMV providing them with a new address.
Your client should be looking for this letter as timing can be important in terms of applying for Limited Driving Privileges and is critical if the client desires to appeal the suspension. (See below.)
Length of Suspension
Irrespective of whether this is a 1st offense or subsequent offense (2nd, 3rd etc) the Ohio BMV will impose a "Class B-4 suspension" which is a six month suspension. (As per RC 4510.02(B)(4))
Does the Suspension End Earlier than Six Months?
Note according to last paragraph of RC 4510.17 (set forth below) the suspension is to end on the last day of the six month Ohio suspension period or on the last day of the suspension of the person's nonresident operating privilege imposed by the other state or federal court , whichever is earlier.
In our experience, the Ohio BMV normally imposes a full six month suspension and does not end the suspension automatically on the date the suspension ends in the other state. Thus, you or your client or an Ohio attorney will likely have to contact the BMV and try to convince the BMV that the suspension is supposed to end earlier, if that is the case.
You should make sure both you and your client have certified copies of any entries from your court imposing a suspension in your state as they will be needed to try and get BMV to acknowledge the suspension and terminate the six month suspension early.
Please Note: it may be necessary to appeal the suspension in order to pursue this relief. The 21 day clock on the appeal starts running on the date the suspension notice is mailed.
Limited Driving Privileges
Your client will be eligible to get limited driving privileges during the Ohio suspension. Technically these are to be directed at preserving "the ability to continue the person's employment," but most courts will consider granting privileges for some school, medical and, perhaps, family related driving needs.
These privileges are not granted by the BMV but rather by a judge in the Ohio Municipal Court, County Court or Juvenile Court whose jurisdiction includes your client's Ohio address. Thus, if your client were charged with DUI in front of his house, whichever Municipal Court or County Court (or juvenile court if under 18) he would have to appear in for the DUI is the court he would petition for Limited Driving Privileges.
Are Limited Privileges Automatic?
In practice most courts seem to grant such privileges as a matter of routine but the statute says "the court may (not shall) grant the person limited driving privileges" and thus whether to do so is clearly within the court's discretion. Moreover, the judge "may impose any condition it considers reasonable and necessary to limit the use of a vehicle by the person." Presumably this could include an "ignition interlock" device or require the client to obtain the distinctive yellow and red plates for his car. If this is a first offense the overwhelming majority of our courts are not going to require either of these conditions but there are undoubtedly a few who will.
Note: your client may have a pretty good idea as to how tough the judge or judges in his home locale tend to be in DUI cases and/or what conditions the judge may impose in granting privileges. (Hint: does he see a lot of vehicles with yellow and red plates when driving around his town?)
If your client does not like his chances to get privileges (without onerous conditions) in his local court the primary option available to him is to move.
If your client were to move to another location within the state and complete a BMV change of address form before the notice of suspension is sent out, the court with jurisdiction over the new address would be the proper court to petition for limited driving.
In general, a multi-judge municipal court presiding over a large population (the Franklin Country Municipal Court, Hamilton County Municipal Court, Dayton Municipal Court and Cleveland Municipal Court are examples) may be easier to deal with in petitioning for limited privileges than a small, single judge court.
How Quickly can the Client get Privileges?
The client can petition the appropriate court for limited driving privileges as soon as he receives the notice of suspension. (The notice should be attached to the petition.) In general courts seem to grant privileges effective immediately without waiting the "hard time" period that would apply if client was convicted of OVI in Ohio. However, a strict reading of the statutes would seem to require certain hard time periods be imposed for out of state convictions.
"Hard time" is a period of the suspension in which no privileges can be granted. For out of state convictions the appropriate hard time would be: 1) the first 15 days of the 6 month suspension if the client has no prior DUI or related vehicular injury or death convictions within six years, 2) the first 30 days if there is 1 prior DUI or related vehicular injury or death conviction within six years. If there are 2 or more priors within 6 years, and if the court strictly applies the statute, the client can not get limited privileges during the entire 6 month suspension period
Appeal of Suspension
If your client wishes to appeal the suspension a Notice of Appeal must be filed within 21 days of the date the BMV mailed the notice of suspension.
Portions of Relevant Statutes
R.C. § 4510.17
(B) The registrar shall impose a class D suspension of the person's driver's license, commercial driver's license, temporary instruction permit, probationary license, or nonresident operating privilege for the period of time specified in division (B)(4) of section 4510.02 of the Revised Code on any person who is a resident of this state and is convicted of or pleads guilty to a violation of a statute of any other state or a municipal ordinance of a municipal corporation located in any other state that is substantially similar to section 4511.19 of the Revised Code. Upon receipt of a report from another state made pursuant to section 4510.61 of the Revised Code indicating that a resident of this state was convicted of or pleaded guilty to an offense described in this division, the registrar shall send a notice by regular first class mail to the person, at the person's last known address as shown in the records of the bureau of motor vehicles, informing the person of the suspension, that the suspension or denial will take effect twenty-one days from the date of the notice, and that, if the person wishes to appeal the suspension, the person must file a notice of appeal within twenty-one days of the date of the notice requesting a hearing on the matter. If the person requests a hearing, the registrar shall hold the hearing not more than forty days after receipt by the registrar of the notice of appeal. The filing of a notice of appeal does not stay the operation of the suspension that must be imposed pursuant to this division. The scope of the hearing shall be limited to whether the person actually was convicted of or pleaded guilty to the offense for which the suspension is to be imposed.
R.C. § 4510.02
(B) When the bureau of motor vehicles elects or is required to suspend the driver's license, commercial driver's license, temporary instruction permit, probationary license, or nonresident operating privilege of any person from a specified suspension class, for each of the following suspension classes, the period of suspension shall be as follows:
(1) For a class A suspension, three years;
We hope the above answers many of the questions you might have. If the above does not address questions you might have, we are happy to answer any general questions attorneys in other states. Feel free to contact us via email.
However, again, to avoid any misunderstandings, our office will not answer legal questions for non-clients. In general, clients are folks who pay us for our advice, non-clients are everybody else.
Huey Law Group - Ohio Law Summary
All rights reserved by Timothy Huey Attorney at Law, Columbus Ohio. DTHLAW@gmail.com. Permissive use: You may forward this -in its complete form, including attribution to our firm- to others and are free to post it on your web site if you so desire. But please don't be so foolish as use it in any manner without attribution or there will be hell to pay - Tim Huey.
 There has not been a great deal of litigation on the "same or similar" language in this statute. Pursuing an appeal on this issue can be expensive; however, if client was convicted of "physical control" he may wish to consider an administrative appeal as Ohio has separate statutes for OVI and Physical Control.
 Ohio is a member of, seemingly, all compacts and, moreover, will act on any notice of DUI conviction sent to it by another state or to a national registry, so odds are Ohio will act on an out of state conviction. Thus the only chance that Ohio will not find out about the conviction is if the state where the conviction occurs is bad at sending such notices. You, as an attorney in that state will have a better idea of that than I.
The statute references a suspension by a state or federal "court" and thus may not be helpful when client is convicted in a state where DUI suspensions are not imposed by the court but is imposed by the DMV or BMV or other agency. (But it is certainly worth a try.)