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One of the most comprising situations an individual can find him or herself in is being charged with an OVI, but needing to be able to drive to work, school, daycare.

Here is the skinny on how driving privileges work.

First: They are called driving privileges for a reason, and I tell my clients that. This is no reflection on my client’s guilt of the OVI charge, but is rather more a reflection that a driver’s license is a privilege for anyone who holds it. It’s not driving rights, it’s driving privileges.

Second, the statute relating to driving privileges while an OVI is pending really only includes occupational, educational, vocational and medical purposes, or for taking a driver’s license examination and attending court-ordered treatment.  As you can see, it doesn’t say anything about taking your kids to school, or going to the dry cleaners or to church.

Notwithstanding that, judges are given broad discretion with regard to driving privileges–some will not grant privileges at all, some will grant them only for work, and some will grant them for a lot– church, daycare, grocery store and other errands. Consult with your attorney about their experiences in the particular court you are in.

Third, and often most important to clients, is when can you get the privileges?

That depends on several factors, including how many OVI convictions you have in a six year period, whether you submitted to a breath or other test (urine, blood) or whether you failed such a test (tested at or above the legal limit)

An example is as follows:

If an individual submits to a breathalyzer and the result is a .09 (legal limit is .08) and this is the first OVI this person has been charged with, then he or she will have to wait 15 days from the date of the incident for driving privileges.

If that same individual had refused the test, he or she would have to wait 30 days from the date of incident to  receive driving privileges.

In that example, either the 15 or 30 days is what we call “hard time”, meaning it is a hard and fast rule and you cannot get around it– you just have to wait it out. If you choose to drive under this suspension, you can be charged with Driving Under an OVI suspension, which comes with a new possible jail term in addition to what you are already facing with the OVI.

The waiting time changes with the number of prior OVI’s in a six year period the individual has, and there are other issues that become relevant- such as whether you have a prior conviction for OVI and refuse a test at a later time, so be sure to consult an attorney as to your specific situation.

If you are charged with an OVI, please consult an attorney—it is TOO important not to.

Call me at (216) 736-8511, [email protected], www.ashleyjoneslaw.com