BMV Must Show They Complied with 4511.192 Rules or Administrative License Suspension Should Be Vacated

Although R.C. 4511.197 limits challenges to administrative license suspensions to four conditions, the State must show that it complied with 4511.192 before the licensee is required to show the 4511.197 challenges.

Toledo v. Ferguson, 2017-Ohio-1394 (6th Dist.)

April 14, 2017

In Ohio, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) implements an administrative license suspension (ALS) when the police have probable cause to believe that the person is operating a vehicle while impaired and that person either refuses to provide a sample for a chemical test or does provide a sample, usually through a breath test, and scores over the limits. 

That ALS can be challenged at the initial appearance; however, R.C. 4511.197(C) limits the ALS appeal to four conditions: "(1) officer had reasonable grounds to believe offender was driving impaired; (2) officer requested chemical or other test to determine impairment; (3) officer properly informed or notified of consequences for refusal to submit to the test; and, (4) offender refused to submit, or, test results show offender was driving impaired."

In this case, the Sixth District reviewed the implications of the police failing to provide a sworn copy of the report suspending the license within 48 hours pursuant to Revised Code 4511.192.  The Sixth District reasoned that the, "state cannot set forth a statutory scheme to suspend a person’s operating privileges, not follow the scheme, and then claim that since such actions are not one of the four issues allowed in an ALS appeal a municipal or county court has no authority to terminate the ALS.”

As a result, the licensee does not have to show that the four conditions in R.C. 4511.197(C) were not met when, "the BMV fails to present prima facie proof the officer complied with all mandates of R.C. 4511.192."