Columbus Attorney Assists Motorists Cited for Driving Under Suspension
Experienced trial lawyer offers vigorous defense to misdemeanor traffic charges
Residents of Columbus and Central Ohio depend on their cars. Commuting to work or school, running errands, and simply enjoying life seem to require a motor vehicle. So, if you’ve had your license suspended, you’re facing a harsh penalty. And the temptation to take the car out on the road, hoping you won’t get pulled over, can be great. Unfortunately, that kind of gamble can lead to serious consequences, such as a longer suspension and even misdemeanor charges. To protect your rights and minimize the risk, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side. For more than 30 years, Luckett Law Office has helped Ohioans with traffic offenses as well as felony and misdemeanor charges. We’re ready to fight on your side for a favorable resolution.
Reasons for license suspensions in Ohio
Any driver in Ohio who accumulates 12 or more penalty points in a two-year period faces an automatic license suspension. You could also have your license suspended if you missed a court appearance or neglected to pay a fine. The state is required to notify you of the suspension, but if you don’t get word, you could be driving unaware of the fact that you’re breaking the law.
In other instances, the suspension is immediately obvious. For example, if you are convicted of a first-offense DWI, or OVI, the judge will suspend your license for six months to three years. But Ohio also has an implied consent law, which requires a person arrested for DWI/OVI to submit to a chemical test. If you refuse the test, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles immediately imposes an administrative license suspension (ALS). The ALS holds even if you are not convicted of the DWI/OVI charge.
Penalties for driving with a suspended license in Ohio
Driving under suspension is a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. A conviction could get you up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The court also extends the period of your suspension. But if your license was suspended for something other than a poor driving record, such as failing to appear in court or pay a fine, you can be charged with an unspecified misdemeanor, which is generally resolved with a $1,000 fine and up to 500 hours of community service.
If this is a repeat offense, you can expect the maximum penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor as well as additional fines and community service. There are also consequences for your car, which the court can order immobilized and stripped of your license plates for 60 days. This is especially troubling if you share your car with a spouse or your family. When faced with these kinds of penalties, it pays to consult a capable traffic offense attorney.
How a capable defense attorney can help with charges of driving under suspension
There are only three viable defenses to a charge of driving under suspension:
- Mistake — If your license should never have been suspended in the first place, you’re free and clear. If an administrative error or the actions of an identity thief caused your license to be suspended, the court will correct that error.
- Lack of notice — A misdemeanor charge requires you to commit an act knowingly. If you had no idea your license was suspended, due to a failure of the court to notify you, you have not committed a necessary element of the crime.
- Necessity — If an emergency forces you to drive, you can rely on the old legal maxim “That which is necessary is legal.” So, if a family member had a medical emergency and it was unreasonable to wait for an ambulance, you would have the right to drive to the hospital.
In defending you, we explore all avenues for challenging the charges against you. But even if the facts are against you, we can often persuade the court with pertinent facts that support more lenient sentencing.
Contact a seasoned Columbus attorney for assistance with license suspension issues
Luckett Law Office defends motorists from traffic violations throughout Central Ohio, including charges of driving under a suspension. Our office is conveniently located at 24 North High Street, just one block away from the Ohio Statehouse in the heart of downtown Columbus. To schedule a free consultation, call 614-721-2949 or contact our office online.