December 21, 2012
Municipal Court Committee - January Topic: Collateral Sanctions Act
~ written by Mike Rankin, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Registrar
Municipal Court Committee Meeting
January 8, 2012 (12-1pm)
Columbus Bar offices
In Ohio, there are currently 46 ways to lose your driver’s license. Nearly 20 of those have nothing to do with your driving (eg. non-payment of child support, no insurance, etc.). Frequently, this has kept many first time suspended drivers from driving to work, and if they take the risk and are stopped for a violation, they accrue added reinstatement fees they often cannot pay. This creates additional driving under suspension issues prohibiting the ability to regain driving privileges and become valid.
To address this issue, the Collateral Sanctions Bill on June 26, 2012 was signed into law to help Ohioans get back to work. The bill became effective Sept. 28. The new law, the topic of discussion at the Municipal Court Committee January 8 meeting, helps ease the restrictions for those individuals with certain driver license suspensions or outstanding reinstatement fees.
One of the key highlights of this bill is the modification of a first non-compliance violation (no auto insurance) from a 90-day mandatory suspension to indefinite, until compliance by meeting the below requirements. This allows first time non-compliance offenders to avoid any suspension time by meeting their reinstatement requirements (paying the $150 reinstatement fee and the filing of insurance in the form of an SR-22 bond) prior to the start date of the suspension. This law change also eliminates the added cost, time and necessity of having to apply to the court for limited driving privileges (to go to and from work, etc.) during the period of the 90 day suspension.
Another change that will greatly impact suspended drivers is the ability to apply for limited driving privileges after serving the first 30 days of a third non-compliance suspension and limited driving privileges may now be requested on a child support suspension. Prior to implementation, there were no provisions in the law to allow for limited driving privileges on these types of suspensions.
Additionally, one provision of this legislation allows the BMV to create a payment plan system in which customers will be able to set up reinstatement fee payment plans directly with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Under a BMV payment plan, customers can change their status to valid, provided they continue to make monthly payments of $50 each month and do not accrue further suspensions. The Ohio commercial drivers benefit most from this statute, as they will now have the ability to maintain or gain employment previously unavailable prior to this legislation. Currently, drivers seeking a payment plan must file for a payment plan with the local Municipal Court where they were convicted. This process costs the applicant time and money, the privileges are granted for six month intervals unless extended by the court, and the process ties up court time and resources. The BMV payment plan is scheduled to be up and running by late spring of 2013.
In short, these changes are a “win-win-win” for affected customers who are otherwise safe drivers wanting to get valid and get to work; for employers needing employees who can drive to and from work or drive in connection with their job; and, for the courts, police, clerks of court and jails who are often tied up processing these drivers, due to unnecessary driving under suspension issues. It also allows our law enforcement officials and courts to devote more time and attention to those who commit more serious offenses.
January’s meeting will include an update from Municipal Court Clerk Lori Tyack. Ms. Tyack will report on the Clerk’s progress toward e-filing and other important issues for Columbus Bar members. Plan to attend!