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Ohio BMV Closure and Driver License Issues During Covid-19

Since Governor DeWine's Order closing the majority of BMV locations one month ago, we have had a lot of questions related to driver license issues.

What if I need to renew my driver's license, CDL, or vehicle registration?

Thankfully, Governor DeWine signed a bill that protects people who have a driver's license or vehicle registration that expires during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill keeps licenses and registrations valid for an additional 90 days from the date the State of Emergency ends or until December 1, 2020 whichever is sooner. Meaning, you can drive even if your license or registration expired after the BMV offices closed. Your license and registration must be renewed within 90 days after the State of Emergency ends.

What if I want to travel?

Like the grace period given to Ohio drivers, the TSA is accepting expired driver's licenses so long as the expiration date is within one year plus another 60 days after the covid-19 crisis ends.

What if I am required to get restricted license plates as ordered by a court?

Restricted Ohio license plates are required for people who are convicted of a high tier OVI (breath test greater than 0.17) or a multiple OVI offense (refusal with a prior offense within 20 years). The closure of the Ohio BMV offices due to the covid-19 crisis presents a problem for people who need restricted license plates. Thankfully, our office has had success asking courts to suspend the restricted plate requirement during the period that the BMV is closed. Defendants are often still required to use an interlock ignition device in their vehicle during their suspension and thankfully companies that install these devices are still operating.

Recently, we were able to secure driving privileges for a client in Warren County Court without the restricted plates. This client would ordinarily have been required to have the plates since the offense was a second OVI in 10 years. The Court, however, recognized the difficult situation presented by the BMV closure and granted our request to waive this requirement until the BMV re-opens. We plan to make similar requests in other courts such as Hamilton County Municipal Court, Mason Municipal Court, and all of the Butler County Area Courts.

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Rittgers & Rittgers, Attorneys at Law

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