I was recently retained by a CDL holder who had one prior Ohio DUI / OVI conviction, which resulted in a one-year disqualification of his CDL privileges over five years ago. He was charged with a new OVI in Cleveland Municipal Court. If he were to be convicted of this OVI, it would cause him to lose his CDL for life. However, if he pleads guilty to or is convicted of a lesser charge, such as physical control while intoxicated, he would keep his CDL. It would not cause a disqualification for life, and he could keep driving. He hired a local attorney, who was able to get the charges reduced to physical. He thought he could keep his CDL, and all was okay—wrong!

In Ohio, the disqualification process is triggered by the issuance of the ALS (Form 2255 Administrative License Suspension) by the police to you. When the 2255 ALS gets to the BMV, it is sent to the CDL Section, and a notice of disqualification is sent out. The ball keeps rolling on the disqualification, no matter what happens in court. The only way to stop this is by appealing to the ALS and stopping it. That stops the BMV from moving forward to disqualify the CDL for life or for one year if it is your first OVI conviction.

I couldn’t help this client because his attorney never did anything to stop the ALS with the BMV. Even though the OVI was reduced to a non-disqualifying charge, which would not cause the person to lose his CDL, the BMV went on to disqualify his CDL for life based on the ALS (2255).

Be careful when you have a CDL and are charged with an OVI. Make sure your lawyer knows how to protect you and keep your CDL.

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