Does an Administrative License Suspension Terminate If One Is Found Not Guilty of OVI?

A recent Ohio Court of Appeals case points to a very important aspect of Ohio’s OVI law.  The case, State v. Lewis, 187 Ohio App. 3d 701 involved the arrest of an individual for OVI.  The defendant refused to take a chemical test.  The defendant was tried on the charge of OVI only found not guilty.  As a result, the court terminated the defendant’s administrative license suspension.
The City of Cincinnati appealed arguing that a finding of not guilty to an OVI charge does not terminate an administrative license suspension.  The court, in its opinion stated:
“R.C. 4511.191(B) provides for an automatic license suspension following the refusal to submit to a chemical test. And R.C. 4511.191(D)(1) specifically states that “[a]ny subsequent finding that the person is not guilty of the charge that resulted in the person being requested to take the chemical test or tests under division (A) of this section does not affect the suspension.”
Clearly, if a defendant refuses to submit to a chemical test and is subsequently found not guilty of OVI, their administrative license suspension will continue not withstanding the not guilty finding.
Now, what is the administrative license suspension results from a chemical test exceeding the legal limit (.08 in the case of a breathalyzer test).  It is this writer opinion that a subsequent not guilty finding WILL result in a termination of the administrative license suspension.  4511.19(D)(1) is very specific.  It relates to a suspension resulting from a refusal to take a test only.  Therefore, a not guilty finding when the defendant has agreed to take a chemical test will result in a termination of the ALS.

A recent Ohio Court of Appeals case points to a very important aspect of Ohio’s OVI law.  The case, State v. Lewis, 187 Ohio App. 3d 701 involved the arrest of an individual for OVI.  The defendant refused to take a chemical test.  The defendant was tried on the charge of OVI only found not guilty.  As a result, the court terminated the defendant’s administrative license suspension.
The City of Cincinnati appealed arguing that a finding of not guilty to an OVI charge does not terminate an administrative license suspension.  The court, in its opinion stated:
“R.C. 4511.191(B) provides for an automatic license suspension following the refusal to submit to a chemical test. And R.C. 4511.191(D)(1) specifically states that “[a]ny subsequent finding that the person is not guilty of the charge that resulted in the person being requested to take the chemical test or tests under division (A) of this section does not affect the suspension.”
Clearly, if a defendant refuses to submit to a chemical test and is subsequently found not guilty of OVI, their administrative license suspension will continue not withstanding the not guilty finding.
Now, what is the administrative license suspension results from a chemical test exceeding the legal limit (.08 in the case of a breathalyzer test).  It is this writer opinion that a subsequent not guilty finding WILL result in a termination of the administrative license suspension.  4511.19(D)(1) is very specific.  It relates to a suspension resulting from a refusal to take a test only.  Therefore, a not guilty finding when the defendant has agreed to take a chemical test will result in a termination of the ALS.

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