Ohio Driver License Suspensions For Marijuana Possession Has Changed

By: Peter R. Certo, Jr. Attorney at Law

For many years now if you possessed marijuana, or had any drug conviction, you were assessed a driver license suspended for a minimum of 6 months to a maximum 5 years. This suspension was mandatory and a judge did not have any discretion in this matter. This would happen even if the possession had nothing to do with a motor vehicle. Then, if that individual applied for a job or had an insurance update the words "DRUG SUSPENSION" appeared on the print out. This made many people unable to get a job or lose a job they had. It would also cause insurance rates to increase and they had to pay costly reinstatement fees. This made the penalties very severe.

Ohio has now changed the law. Although a court can still impose a suspension, it is no longer mandatory. My experience is that many judges were not happy with the mandatory suspension. I suspect most judges now will not impose the suspension unless there are multiple violations. This is much more in line with the fact that Ohio decriminalized marijuana possession many years ago. Possession of less than 100 mg (personal use) carries a maximum fine of $150 and no jail. This is no more than any other routine traffic offense.

Older suspensions can be now be removed. Anyone who has had this drug suspension imposed may now file a request for the drug suspension to be removed. This request is discretionary by the court and the judge can choose to leave it in place.