The Eighth District Court of Appeals in Ohio recently overturned the conviction of a person for driving under a suspended license as the person was driving with valid driving privileges. The case, Lakewood v. Tate, began on June 18, 2017 when Tate was stopped by a police officer for violating a municipal ordinance that pertained to driving under suspension.
Tate pulled up to a five-point intersection and the officer ran Tate’s license plate. The officer also observed Tate roll through the red light and not complete stop. The officer pulled Tate over, but Tate had driving privileges because of a recent DUI / OVI conviction. Tate produced the driving privileges, which provided that he could drive from his home in Columbus, Ohio to Avon Lake to see his mother and to Cleveland, Ohio to see his brother on the weekends.
However, since Tate was stopped in Lakewood, Ohio, the officer felt that Tate was driving outside the scope of his privileges. Tate, unrepresented by an attorney, was found guilty by the trial court and sentenced to 180 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Driving Under Suspension in Ohio
Your license may be suspended for a variety of reasons in Ohio, including:
- Being charged or convicted of DUI / OVI
- Refusing to submit to chemical testing as part of a DUI / OVI stop
- Convicted of any drug offense
- Accumulating 12 points on your license
- A security suspension for failure to pay a judgment
- Failing to pay child support
Pursuant to ORC 4510.11, driving while under a license suspension is a 1st degree misdemeanor. This is a serious offense in Ohio and carries a potential 6 months in jail and a $1000 fine. Moreover, the court may impose an additional license suspension of 3 months to multiple years and, if you have a prior conviction for this offense in the last 3 years, the court may require that your vehicle be immobilized or forfeited.
Note, however, that to be convicted of driving under suspension in Ohio, the BMV must have mailed you a notice of the suspension. This does not mean that you must have received it. Simply mailing the notice to you will suffice.
Found to be Within Scope of Driving Privileges
After being convicted, Tate obtained an attorney who appealed his conviction. The appellate court found that Tate was driving within the scope of his driving privileges. Specifically, the appellate court found that Tate driving through Lakewood, Ohio was reasonable because it is on the way to Avon Lake, Ohio, where his mother resided, to Cleveland, Ohio, where his brother resided, or on the way home from either residence.
Moreover, after Tate was cited for driving under suspension and a towing company was called, the officer allowed him to continue driving after Tate found his driving privileges. Thus, even the officer wasn’t certain that Tate was not driving within the confines of his driving privileges.
Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your criminal offense case.
Johnson Legal, LLC serves the following cities in the central Ohio area for Criminal Defense:
Westerville, Worthington, Columbus, Polaris, Reynoldsburg, Grandview Heights, Shawnee Hills, Bexley, Pickerington, Gahanna, Sunbury, Powell, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Dublin, Hilliard, Lewis Center, Galena, Clintonville, Huber Ridge, Blacklick, Grove City, Delaware, Marysville, Groveport, Newark, Canal Winchester, Obetz, Marion, Mt. Gilead, Pataskala, Granville, Whitehall, Franklin County, Morrow County, Licking County, Knox County, Union County, Madison County and Delaware County