Program to Help Suspended Drivers Regain Ohio Licenses
In June of 2018, the House passed Bill 336 which created the Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative. It is a 6-month program that started January 31st to help reduce or waive a driver’s license reinstatement fee for those that were suspended for certain violations.
With Ohio being the 2nd in the ranking of States with driver license suspensions per capita, the state Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s new program could help get thousands of drivers back on the road, including the many living in poverty.
Those receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), could qualify for complete amnesty of reinstatement fees or qualify for a reduction of at least 50 percent.
Approximately 410,000 Ohioans are eligible for the program.
The offender must have completed all other court-ordered sanctions other than paying the reinstatement fees. The offender’s offense cannot have involved drugs, alcohol or a deadly weapon; and at least 18 months must have passed since the end of any court-ordered suspension.
More than a million drivers across the state lose their licenses every year. There are 32 ways to have a driver’s license suspended in Ohio, and many of them disproportionately affect the poor.
Someone can have a license suspended for stealing gasoline, failing to appear in court or not paying child support. But the majority of Ohioans lose their licenses for failing to prove they have vehicle insurance.
In 2016, 1.25 million license suspensions were for failing to provide proof of vehicle insurance, according to the BMV. While court fines can sometimes be worked off through community service, reinstatement fees have to be paid in full before someone can legally drive again.
Southeastern Ohio Legal Services, a civil legal aid agency for low-income individuals, will hold a workshop in Perry County to help people apply for the amnesty initiative on April 26, 2019. The agency hopes to do similar workshops in Newark and Portsmouth before the initiative ends at the end of July.
For more information visit https://www.bmv.ohio.gov/susp-fees-amnesty
We here at Fred Martin Nissan will be happy to help get you into a new vehicle once you are ready to take on the road again!