Driving Privileges

Driving Privileges

A Columbus, Ohio, Traffic Lawyer Discusses Driving Privileges

In the eyes of the law, “driving privileges” has the simple definition of permission from the state to operate a motor vehicle. In real-life terms and for the vast majority of people, though, holding a driver’s license means being able to hold a job, care for family members, and do everything from shop to take in a ballgame and go on vacation. Failing to qualify for a license or losing one’s driving privileges due to a series of convictions for committing traffic violations can make living a full, productive life difficult or impossible.

As briefly described here, earning and keeping an Ohio driver’s license can require completing many steps. On the flip side of the driving privileges coin, there are multiple ways to lose a driver’s license in the Buckeye State. If you find yourself at risk for having your license suspended or revoked for even a short period, you need the assistance and advice of a traffic violations attorney in Columbus, Ohio at Leist Warner.


Teens Earn Licenses Gradually

Ohio teens must proceed through a graduated licensing process. They can qualify for a learner’s permit at the age of 15 years and six months by completing 50 hours of in-car supervised driving, passing a written test, and passing a road test administered through the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Driving between the hours of midnight and 6 am is restricted for fully licensed 16 year olds, and between 1 am and 5 am for 17 year olds. Teen drivers also have to avoid texting behind the wheel and limit the number of passengers they transport. Failing to meet any of these requirements can delay or derail licensing, leaving high school and college students, as well as new members of the workforce, behind when it comes to achieving important milestones on the road to adulthood.


Motorcycle Riders Need Separate Licenses

Teenagers younger than 18 must hold a valid driver’s license in order to also earn a motorcycle license. Younger riders must also complete a state-certified safety course and pass an on-cycle road test. Older bikers can skip the introductory course, but adults and teens must all pass a written test and road test at a BMV office. Helmets are required for all motorcyclists and their passengers.


Commercial Drivers Must Meet Special Requirements

Tractor-trailer, bus, tanker truck, and dump truck drivers are among the people who need to obtain commercial driver’s licenses, or CDLs, in Ohio. Different requirements exist for Class A, Class B, and Class C CDLs, but all commercial drivers must pass multiple tests of safety knowledge, traffic rules, and driving ability to obtain their certifications. Also, commercial drivers must maintain with the BMV up-to-date driving records that include evidence they are medically cleared to operate large vehicles.

Once a CDL is issued, it can be suspended or revoked for multiple reasons. As listed in the Ohio Commercial Driver License Handbook, causes for taking away commercial driving privileges include, but are not limited to:

  • Operating with a blood alcohol content of .04 or higher
  • Operating with detectable amounts of illegal drugs or prescription narcotics in one’s bloodstream
  • Committing another moving violation while illegally impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Causing a hit-and-run accident
  • Committing two major moving violations, such as exceeding a posted speed limit by 15 mph and tailgating (i.e., following too closely), within a single 60-day period
  • Driving on a suspended license or during a period of temporary medical disability
  • Ignoring requirements to stop at railroad crossings
  • Showing hazardous materials placards incorrectly or not at all
  • Holding more than one CDL at a time


Some Restrictions May Apply

Unlike many states, Ohio does not place specific restriction on the ability of state residents over the age of 70 to renew their drivers’ licenses. The BMV can, however, insist that people take and pass vision tests. The bureau can also issue licenses that limit people to daytime driving, operating only specially equipped vehicles, and driving only with proof of medical clearance.


Scoring Points Is Never a Positive

Earning 12 points for committing traffic violations results in an automatic suspension of driving privileges. Suspensions generally last six months or a year, but a person can permanently lose his or her driving privileges for life following repeated severe violations, multiple short-term suspensions, or particularly egregious felonies involving the use of a vehicle. These rules apply to car, truck, and motorcycle drivers of all ages.

Ohio assigns different point values to a wide range of moving violations, with a sample list looking like this:

  • Vehicular homicide (6 points)
  • OVI, which is drunk driving or drugged driving (6 points)
  • Hit-and-run/fleeing the scene of an accident (6 points)
  • Auto theft (6 points)
  • Reckless driving (4 points)
  • Speeding (2-4 points)
  • Operating an overweight vehicle (2 points)


Points remain on a driver’s record for two years, and they are cumulative. One of the things that means is that anyone facing a drunk driving charge while also having relatively recent tickets for exceeding the speed limit on their record needs help from a Columbus, Ohio, OVI lawyer at Leist Warner to potentially avoid losing their driving privileges. With or without representation from an attorney, completing a safe driving course can wipe out accumulated points, but individuals can only take that option one time every three years.


Contact a Traffic Violation Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

If you face serious traffic-related charges in Ohio’s capital city or Franklin County, consider calling Leist Warner at (614) 222-1000 or contacting us by filling out this web form. Whether you need representation by a Columbus drunk driving lawyer, or you just need a few clear answers on how to keep your CDL or minimize penalty points on your license, we offer no-cost case consultations. Even if we cannot take you on as a client, we are ready to point you toward the legal resources you require.

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