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Ohio's Financial Responsibility Law And The FRA Suspension

Minimum Insurance Requirements For Ohio Drivers

Under Ohio law, drivers must carry automobile insurance or other proof of financial responsibility. The state requires drivers to purchase liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage. The current state-minimum requirements are $25,000 in liability coverage for bodily injury per person and $50,000 in liability coverage for bodily injury per accident regardless of how many persons are injured. The state's current required minimum liability coverage for property damage is $25,000 per accident. Rather than purchasing traditional automobile insurance to meet the state's minimum coverage requirements, an individual can apply and pay for an SR-22/bond, which is a minimum-limit liability insurance policy covering only the named individual on the policy.

Civil Liability For Uninsured Motorists

Individuals who do not carry an insurance policy complying with the state minimum requirements can face negative consequences. If an uninsured individual causes injury to another while driving, the victim or victims of that accident may not be made whole. In the event an injured person sues the uninsured driver for damages, the uninsured driver can be held personally responsible for those damages and be forced to forfeit personal assets, including wages. In fact, many people obtain automobile liability policies that exceed the state minimum coverage amounts to protect their personal assets.

Criminal Liability For Uninsured Motorists

Even if no accident is involved, individuals face an FRA suspension, also known as a noncompliance driver's license suspension. An FRA suspension is triggered when the BMV sends a licensed driver a form in the mail requesting the person send proof of financial responsibility to the BMV and the person fails to do so. An FRA suspension is also triggered when the individual pleads guilty to or is found guilty of committing a traffic violation and does not provide proof of insurance for the date of the offense. Once the BMV receives notice of the traffic conviction and the lack of automobile insurance, the BMV suspends the individual's driver's license.

Driver's License Penalties For FRA Suspensions

A first FRA suspension lasts indefinitely until the individual pays a $100 reinstatement fee and carries an SR-22/bond for three years. If the individual is placed under a second FRA suspension within five years, the individual's driver's license is suspended for one year and the individual must pay a $300 reinstatement fee and carry an SR-22/bond for five years. Further, on a second FRA suspension within five years, the person is not eligible to obtain limited driving privileges until after 15 days into the suspension. If the person is placed under a third FRA suspension within five years, the individual's driver's license is suspended for two years and the person must pay a $600 reinstatement fee and carry an SR-22/bond for five years. The mandatory sentence for a third FRA suspension within five years prohibits limited driving privileges until after 30 days have passed since the suspension went into effect.

Meeting the state's required minimum liability coverage is crucial. The attorneys at Rittgers & Rittgers handle FRA suspension-related issues. If you need help navigating through these BMV hurdles, feel free to contact us at (513) 932-2115 for a free consultation. 

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