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My Ohio driver license is suspended. What are my options?

Low-income Ohio drivers face a growing number of problems caused by driver license suspensions. License suspensions can often make it difficult for drivers to get to work, which makes it even harder to pay back any fines, court costs, and reinstatement fees a driver might need to get their license back.

But if your license was suspended, you may have options for driving privileges or reinstatement depending on the type of suspension you received. For example, with a child support suspension, your license might be suspended until you contact CSEA (Child Support Enforcement Agency) and satisfy whatever requirements they give you. With an OVI conviction, your license will be suspended for a period set by the convicting court - though you may be able to ask for limited driving privileges.

You can find out the reason for your suspension by checking the notice you received, visiting, or contacting the Ohio BMV. Depending on the type of suspension, you may be able to appeal your suspension in court or apply for limited driving privileges so that you can get to work or school or medical appointments.

Different kinds of suspensions last different lengths of time, almost all suspensions require payment of fines, court costs, or reinstatement fees. Fines are penalties imposed by the court as punishment for the offense that caused your suspension. Court costs are the administrative costs charged by the court for processing your case and providing a hearing. Reinstatement fees are charged by the BMV after completing the period of suspension. Fines and court costs are owed to the court and payable to the court clerk’s office. Reinstatement fees are owed to the BMV and must be paid to the BMV to get your license back.

If you cannot afford to pay these fines, costs and fees, some programs offer help. Courts may allow you to do community service in stead of paying fines and court costs. In Cuyahoga County, see Court Community Services, for more information. You must be referred to CCS by the court, the Clerk of Courts, or your probation officer. The BMV also offers a payment plan to help low-income drivers pay reinstatement fees. The minimum monthly payment is $50. You can find more information and an application for the BMV payment plan at

Legal Aid provides assistance with driver’s license suspensions in some cases. Call Legal Aid at 1-888-817-3777 to apply for help.


This article was written by Adam Kornya and appeared in The Alert: Volume 31, Issue 2. Click here to read a full PDF of this issue!

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