Crime and Traffic

Driver's license reinstatement fee reduction

If your driver’s license is suspended, the BMV may charge fees to get your license back. If you cannot afford the fees, you may be eligible for help paying the fees. Learn more about the BMV’s program to lower or eliminate driver’s license reinstatement fees.

Note: This is a new program, created by a law that went into effect on September 15, 2020. The Ohio Department of Public Safety has not finalized implementation of the program at this time, and has not started sending notices to people who are eligible for the program. We will update this page with more information as it is released by the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the BMV. 

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

If you cannot afford to pay driver’s license reinstatement fees, a new BMV program may help you. The program is called the Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program. If you qualify, the program lowers or completely waives fees to reinstate your driver’s license.

The fee reduction program lowers or waives fees, but it does not change other court requirements to get your license back.

Eligibility to reduce or eliminate fees

To be eligible for lower driver’s license reinstatement fees, you must:

  • Have an eligible offense. Your driver’s license must be suspended for an eligible offense.
  • Be charged fees. You must owe driver license reinstatement fees.
  • Wait enough time. At least one of your eligible offenses’ suspension periods must be completed at least 18 months ago.
  • Be new to the program. You can only participate in the fee-reducing program one time.

Read the full list of eligible offenses here. If your offense involves alcohol, a drug of abuse or a deadly weapon, it is not eligible.

The amount of help you get depends on your income. If you are indigent, you may qualify for a fee waiver. If you are not indigent, you may qualify for fee reduction. To be considered indigent, you must participate in one of these assistance programs:

There are two phases of the program. Your eligibility for each phase depends on whether or not your offense date is before or after September 15, 2020.

  • Phase 1 is for offense dates before September 15, 2020.
  • Phase 2 is for offense dates after September 15, 2020.

Note: After the day you you enroll in the program, any new reinstatement fees you gather are not eligible to be reduced or waived.

Applying to reduce reinstatement fees

If you are eligible for the fee-reducing program, the Director of Public Safety automatically sends you an enrollment letter or email. The enrollment notice includes:

  • Your phase. The notice tells you which phase you are eligible for.
  • The amount of assistance. The notice tells you the total amount of fees that are being reduced for each offense.
  • Additional instructions for paying fees. The notice tells you that the minimum monthly installment payment to pay your remaining fees is $25 per month. The notice also tells you that you may be eligible for a complete fee waiver if you can prove indigence. The notice explains how to prove indigence.
  • Additional reminders.  The notice reminds you that you must complete all terms of your suspension (besides fees) before reinstating your driver license.

If you do not receive an enrollment notice, and you believe you are eligible for the program, you may apply to participate by mail, online or in-person at the BMV or a deputy registrar’s office. If you apply in-person, there is a $5 registrar fee.

If you are not eligible for the program

If you are not eligible for the fee reduction program, and you still owe fees, you may be eligible for a special payment plan if:

  • You owe at least $150 in reinstatement fees.
  • Your license suspension period is over
  • You finish everything else the court requires to get your license back
  • You have proof of car insurance
  • You are not already paying a court-ordered payment plan

To learn how to enroll in a payment plan, visit the Ohio BMV website.

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