If your Ohio driver’s license has been suspended due to judicial orders or legal convictions, and you’re worried about how to pay the necessary fees, we have good news. There’s a permanent program in place that may be able to help you reduce the size of those fees.
Since 2018, there has been an Ohio BMV reinstatement fee amnesty program in place specifically designed to help people like you. Under this program, many people will be able to see reduced license reinstatement fees, or – in some situations – those fees may even be waived entirely. This program is specifically designed for situations where a person needs their vehicle to earn a living but lack the money necessary to get their license back.
It’s a complicated program, and not everyone qualifies. So, in this article, we’ll hit some of the most important points, and give you some tips on how to proceed.
How You Apply for The Ohio BMV Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Program
There’s good news here as well. In most cases, if you qualify for the fee amnesty program, you will be automatically enrolled by the state. You won’t have to proactively apply; you’ll simply be notified by mail or email that you have the option to participate.
This automatic enrollment will happen in situations where:
- A person’s license has been legally suspended for convictions of one or more eligible offenses.
- That person owes reinstatement fees before they can get their license back.
- At least eighteen months have passed since the end of their suspension period for one or more of the offenses. Note that this is 18 months after the suspension period ends, not since the conviction itself.
- And the person has not previously been part of the amnesty program.
Please note that final requirement. You can only qualify for the amnesty program once. If your license is suspended again, you will not be able to receive any more aid.
What To Do If You Think You Qualify, But Do Not Receive Notification
Mistakes happen, especially involving government bureaucracy. In some cases, a person may have reason to think they qualify for the Ohio BMV reinstatement fee amnesty program but were not automatically enrolled.
If you believe this is the case, you can manually apply for the program by filling out an application, which is BMV Form 2829 (PDF). This form can then be emailed, fax, mailed, or delivered in-person to your local DPS office. Email is typically easiest and fastest; the address to use is firstname.lastname@example.org.
However, it’s worth mentioning again that program eligibility only begins 18 months after the end of a person’s license suspension. Most of the time, when we talk to someone who believes they were wrongly excluded from the program, it’s because they misunderstood the time requirement.
The Documentation You Will Need to Provide
Whether you are automatically enrolled or apply manually, you will need to provide several pieces of information to demonstrate that you fully qualify for the program.
The most important piece of information is proof of insurance. This is an absolute must. If you have not obtained insurance, you will not be allowed to have your fees reduced.
Also, in some cases, you may be able to argue extra hardship and have your reinstatement fees waived entirely. This will be the case if you’re a part of any of the following programs:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veteran’s Affairs Pension Benefit
- Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Ohio Works First
To claim a full fee waiver, you will also need to submit valid proof of your participation in one or more of these programs. Be sure that proof includes your name as it appears on your license, as well as proof that the membership is current. Past membership does not qualify if you are not currently participating.
How Much Will I Pay in Fees?
If you do not qualify for a full fee waiver, here’s how the fee reduction program works:
If you owe fees from a single offense, the amount is simply reduced by half. If you owe for multiple offenses, you will have to either pay A) the lowest single fee owed, or B) 10% of the total fee amount – whichever is larger.
Payment plans are also offered if needed. In these cases, you must pay at least $25/month to continue to participate. Failure to pay regularly could endanger your participation in the program.
These payments can be submitted by mail, electronic payment, or in person at the DPS office. However, as there is an additional $10 fee for paying in person, we highly recommend using mail or e-payment systems.
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