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Obtaining Identification After an OVI Arrest

We are frequently asked how a person can show proof of identification following an OVI arrest. The short answer is that use of a passport or other identification cards should be used until a temporary state ID can be obtained.

When someone is arrested for OVI and placed under an administrative license suspension for either refusing a chemical test or testing over the legal limit, their license is seized by law enforcement and destroyed. The accused is often left without any form of identification. In these circumstances, it is wise for defendants to obtain a temporary state identification (ID) card from the Ohio BMV.

Temporary state ID's can be issued to anyone who has an unexpired driver's license and whose license is currently suspended. These ID's are valid only during the length of the suspension. There is a critical difference between temporary ID's and a regular state ID.

A regular ID is valid for four years and, as opposed to a temporary ID, it invalidates a driver's license. Obtaining a regular state ID will require retesting and applying for a driver's license whereas obtaining a temporary state ID only requires a reinstatement fee. Additionally, when a person's driver's license is canceled, he is not be eligible for limited driving privileges. It is very important for suspended drivers to seek a temporary state ID versus a regular one.

Defendants should also keep in mind that it may take the BMV several weeks to process the suspension and update their records. Typically the wait time is 4 - 6 weeks. A defendant is not able to obtain the temporary ID until the BMV records reflect the suspension. Generally, the BMV should send notice through the mail to a defendant regarding reinstating his or her license once it has processed the suspension. The letter will indicate that a $475 reinstatement fee is owed. Speak with your lawyer before paying any money to the BMV as there is a chance you will have a reduced reinstatement cost at the end of your case. You can also check the status of your license online at: https://services.dps.ohio.gov/BMVOnlineServices/undefined

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