In this two-part blog I will look at the treatment requirements as well as the license suspension issues for Ohio drivers that are charged with or convicted of a DUI in Kentucky. This first blog post will deal with some of the license suspension issues.

Kentucky license suspensions are noticeably different than Ohio license suspensions when it comes to DUIs. Let’s compare a first offense DUI in Kentucky with a first offense OVI in Ohio. By the way, DUI and OVI are synonyms – the two states simply chose to use different terms with the same meaning. DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence and OVI stands for Operating a Vehicle under the Influence.

A first offense DUI conviction in Kentucky will result in a 30-120 day license suspension. If a person takes the chemical test(s) offered by the police officer at the time of their arrest, there will be no pre-trial license suspension imposed. In other words, if the person takes a breath test and tests over the legal limit, they may continue to drive while the case is pending. Obviously if the person takes a test and there’s no alcohol detected, they will not be suspended pre-trial. However, it is possible for a Judge to suspend a person’s license as part of a condition of their bond.

In Ohio, a first offense OVI conviction will result in a license suspension of 6 months to 3 years. If the person either refuses a chemical test(s) or tests over the limit at the time of their arrest, they will be placed under an immediate pre-trial suspension. That suspension is imposed by the officer on behalf of the Ohio BMV and is effective at the time of the person’s arrest. The pre-trial suspension for a test over the limit is 90-days and for a refusal, 1-year.

If a person refuses to submit to a chemical test in Kentucky, the judge will suspend their license to drive at the arraignment. However, there is an option for the person to obtain driving privileges – its known as an ignition interlock. An ignition interlock is an alcohol breath-testing device that is installed on the vehicle that requires a person to blow into it in order to start the vehicle. An application for an interlock license can be filed at the person’s arraignment.

If a person refuses or tests over in Ohio, they may petition the court for limited driving privileges. There is a waiting period of 15-days from the date of arrest before a person’s privileges can go into effect on a test over the legal limit and a 30-day waiting period on a refusal of a chemical test.

Kentucky and Ohio only have the ability to suspend a person’s right to drive in their own state. If a Kentucky resident is suspended in Ohio, that suspension is only effective in Ohio – unless and until Kentucky takes action against their license holder. In the pre-trial context, this is a very common occurrence. When an Ohioan is suspended pre-trial for a Kentucky DUI arrest, they may continue to drive in any state other than Kentucky until they are notified that the Ohio BMV has suspended their Ohio license. It is uncommon for the home state to take action against a person’s license while a case is pending. The most frequent issue that comes up is if a person’s license is due to be renewed during the case while they are under a pre-trial suspension. This may result in them not being able to renew their license because a ‘block’ has been entered into the National Driver’s License Registry.