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How does the Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program help Ohio drivers?
The Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program is a permanent program within the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) intended to assist people who cannot afford to pay all of the reinstatement fees they owe following suspension of their driver’s license. The program only applies to certain types of suspensions. It does NOT cover suspensions resulting from offenses that involved alcohol, drugs or a deadly weapon. The program also does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses. The program became effective December 13, 2021.
Who is eligible for the Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program?
The Ohio BMV will automatically enroll any person who is eligible for the program and inform that person through an email or regular mail. Drivers do not need to apply for the program. But, drivers who think they may qualify should make sure the BMV has a working email address and current mailing address in order to contact them.
A person will be automatically enrolled when:
- The person's driver license or permit has been suspended for one or more eligible offense
- At least 18 months have passed since the end of the suspension period for at least one of the person’s eligible offenses
- The person owes reinstatement fees
- The person was not enrolled previously in the program
What offenses qualify for the Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program?
Most driver’s license suspensions that do NOT involve alcohol, drugs, or deadly weapons will qualify for the program. The following list of suspensions all qualify for the program:
Unruly child (R.C. 2151.354); Delinquent child (R.C. 2152.19); Juvenile traffic offender (R.C. 2152.21); Theft of gasoline (R.C. 2913.02); Incompetence by examination (R.C. 4507.20); Operating vehicle without proof of insurance (R.C. 4509.101); Failure to pay security deposit, or failure to request a hearing after receiving notice regarding a motor vehicle accident (R.C. 4509.17); Default on a payment that was required by written agreement after a motor vehicle accident (R.C. 4509.24); Nonpayment of a judgment (R.C. 4509.40); Repeat traffic offender (R.C. 4510.037); Violation of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to a statutory violation that imposes a suspension (R.C. 4510.05); Suspension under the federal Assimilative Crimes Act (R.C. 4510.06); Reckless operation (R.C. 4510.15); Failure to appear or failure to pay a fine related to specific vehicle-related violations (R.C. 4510.22); Incompetency adjudication (R.C. 4510.23); Commission of specific motor vehicle offenses by a minor (R.C. 4510.31); Habitual absence from school (R.C. 4510.32); Wrongful entrustment of a motor vehicle (R.C. 4511.203); Use of an electronic wireless communication device by a minor while driving (R.C. 4511.205); Street racing (R.C. 4511.251); Failure to stop for a school bus (R.C. 4511.75); Failure to stop after an accident (R.C. 4549.02); Failure to stop after a nonpublic road accident (R.C. 4549.021); and Trafficking in cigarettes or tobacco products with intent to avoid tax, when a motor vehicle was used in the offense (R.C. 5743.99).
What documents must be provided to enroll in the Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program?
Drivers will be notified by email or mail that they are eligible for the program. The notice will indicate the amount of fees reduced and the amount still owed. The notice will request that the person provide proof of insurance in order to activate the reduction in reinstatement fees. Proof of insurance may be provided with an insurance card, declaration page, policy, or other proof that can be verified.
A person can also provide proof of certain benefits to qualify for amnesty, or a complete waiver of reinstatement fees. To apply for a complete waiver of fees, a driver must complete BMV Form 2829 and submit proof of indigence. Drivers qualify as indigent by showing proof of participation in any of the following benefit programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Ohio Works First Program
- Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI)
- Veteran’s Affairs Pension Benefit Program
Proof of participation in these programs should include the driver’s name as an authorized participant and the current status or current month.
What will a person have to pay who qualifies for a reduction or waiver of reinstatement fees under the Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program?
A person who is “indigent” and participates in one of the benefits programs listed above qualifies for a complete waiver of reinstatement fees, or amnesty, and will not have to pay anything for the qualifying suspensions.
A person who is not indigent qualifies for a reduction in reinstatement fees for the qualifying suspensions. The individual receiving a reduction must pay 50% of the reinstatement fee owed. If reinstatement fees are owed for multiple offenses, the person must pay either the lowest reinstatement fee owed or 10% of the total amount – whichever is greater. Any payment must be at least $25 per month.
A participant may submit payments by regular mail, online, or in-person at the BMV or a deputy registrar office. All in-person payments must be accompanied by a $10 deputy registrar/BMV fee.
The fee waiver and fee reduction only apply to eligible suspensions. A person with other suspensions that are not eligible will still owe the full reinstatement fee for the other suspensions that do not qualify for the program.
Can a person get help with reinstatement fees more than once through the Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program?
A person may only be enrolled in the Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program once in their lifetime. The program is divided into two phases:
Phase 1 applies to eligible offense(s) that occurred before September 15, 2020, and 18 months have expired since the end of one of the court ordered suspensions.
Phase 2 applies to eligible offense(s) that occurred on or after September 15, 2020, and 18 months have expired since end of at least one court-ordered suspension.
In either phase, a person may qualify for the program even with other active suspensions as long as one suspension meets the program criteria. A person may have reinstatement fees reduced or waived through the program only once. Those who are eligible for the first phase are not eligible to participate in the second phase, regardless of whether the person actually participates in the first phase.
What should a person do if they qualify for the Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program but the BMV does not send them a notice?
Drivers who do not receive notice of the automatic reduction and who believe they are eligible for the program can submit an application. In some situations, drivers may have qualifying reinstatement fees, but are not yet eligible for the reduction because 18 months has not passed.
A driver who believes they are currently eligible should submit an application (BMV Form 2829), current proof of insurance, and proof of indigence (if applicable) for review. The application and supporting document can be submitted in the following ways:
- By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By fax: 1-614-308-5110
- In person at a deputy registrar license agency. NOTE: A service fee may be charged
- By mail to:
PO Box 16521
Columbus, OH 43216-6521
Be sure to keep a copy of all the documents submitted and proof of the date you submitted them.
Who can answer other questions about the Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program?
For additional information about Ohio’s Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program:
- Visit the Ohio BMV's website
- Call 1-844-644-6268