If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in Ohio, your driving privileges are at immediate risk. You may know that your driver’s license can be suspended if you are convicted, but many people don’t realize that an administrative license suspension, or ALS, is put in place right away.

There are two kinds of driver’s license suspensions in Ohio. The first, the ALS, is virtually automatic. The court suspension, which comes after conviction, extends the ALS period. If you need to drive, you need to fight both types, and you only have 30 days to request a hearing to fight the ALS.

The officer who pulled you over may have taken your driver’s license. Even if your license wasn’t taken, however, don’t assume you aren’t subject to an ALS.

Your license can be administratively suspended for being above the limit or for refusing the chemical test

There are four main situations that occur after you are pulled over for OVI in Ohio:

You passed the blood-alcohol test. If your blood-alcohol content was below the legal limit, your license should not be administratively suspended. If it was, call a lawyer.

You failed the blood-alcohol test. Your license will be automatically suspended for 90 days. If you are convicted, the court can suspend your license for between six months (minimum) to three years.

You refused the blood-alcohol test. Your license will be suspended for a year simply for refusing to take the test. If you are convicted of OVI, however, we may be able to get the ALS shortened.

The officer didn’t ask you to take the blood-alcohol test because it could not be administered for some reason. Your license will be suspended, but we may be able to help you get it back at your initial appearance.

What if I need to drive for work or school?

We understand that you rely on your car, but you should never drive while on an administrative or court suspension — the penalties are harsh.

Unfortunately, there is a “hard” suspension period after an Ohio OVI arrest. If your blood-alcohol content was at or above the legal limit, you will not be allowed to drive at all for 15 days. If you refused the test, you are prohibited from driving at all for 30 days. After that, however, an attorney can help you petition for limited driving privileges that allow you to go to work, job training, school, doctors’ appointments, court-ordered addiction treatment or taking a driver’s test.

If you’ve been arrested for OVI, a lawyer from Saia & Piatt can help. We offer a free case evaluation and our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.