DUI Appeals Reports 02/22/16

The Eight District holds that R.C. 4510.54 and 4510.021 grant trial courts authority to terminate or modify license suspensions or grant occupational driving privileges, even if convicted of R.C. 2903.06 and 2903.08, with DUI specifications

State v. Hyde, 2016 Ohio 113 (8th Dist.).


January 14, 2016

In 1998, Hyde pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide and three counts of aggravated vehicular assault, with the DUI specifications.  In addition to prison sentences, the trial court suspended Hyde's driver's license for life.

In 2013, Hyde filed a "motion for termination of suspension, or for limited occupational driving privileges." Hyde contended he was eligible for termination of the life suspension pursuant to R.C. 4510.54 because he fulfilled the mandated requirements of the statute.   The trial court denied Hyde's motion concluding, "Ohio trial courts do not possess the authority to modify a criminal sentence that has been imposed unless there is a specific statutory authority to do so." It went on to concluded, "courts have held that where a defendant is convicted for aggravated vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of alcohol, a trial court lacks the authority to grant occupational driving privileges for the revocation period imposed by statute." It held that because Hyde had been convicted of R.C. 2903.06 and 2903.08, with DUI specifications, R.C. 4510.54 and R.C. 4510.021 did not apply.

Hyde appealed, arguing that the cases cited by the trial court were all decided prior to the enactment of R.C. 4510.54 and 4510.021.

The Eighth District observed that in 2004, R.C. 4510.021 was enacted to allow a trial court discretion to grant limited driving privileges during any suspension and R.C. 4510.54 was enacted to allow motions for modification or termination of lifetime suspensions of driving privileges.  The Eighth District concluded that these statutes granted the trial court authority to terminate or modify the license suspension or grant occupational driving privileges.  Therefore, it remanded the case for the trial court to conduct a hearing to determine whether "other considerations" weigh against terminating Hyde's life suspension pursuant to R.C. 4510.54(D) and to allow Hyde to provide "proof of financial responsibility.

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