Drug Policy Legislation

HB 307 – Driver’s License Suspensions for Drug Offenses (2015-2016)

Link to Bill:
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-HB-307
Status:
Failed
Summary:

Read our October 13, 2015 testimony in support of HB 307 before the House Judiciary Committee.

HB 307, along with its companion bill, SB 204, eliminates current mandatory driver’s license suspensions for drug offenses, regardless of whether a vehicle was involved in the offense. Judges are now able to decide whether a driver’s license suspension is appropriate on a case-by-case basis. The bill also makes it easier for courts to grant temporary driving privileges to people with suspended licenses. HB 307 also allows people to appeal previous drug-related driver’s license suspensions with two exceptions: 1) a vehicle was used to commit the offense or 2) the person was also convicted of or pled guilty to OVI arising from the drug offense.

Primary Sponsors:
Secondary Sponsors:
, , , ,
Committee:
Judiciary (H)
LSC Legislation Status:
https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-status?id=GA131-HB-307
Jurisdiction/Legislation Level:
State
Our take on this bill:

HB 307 is a positive step towards addressing flaws in existing law regarding how we deal with certain drug offenses. For too long, Ohio law has forced judges to suspend a driver’s license for as long as five years because of drug-related convictions. Under this legislation, these suspensions would no longer be mandatory. Instead, judges would have the ability to impose suspensions more fairly.

This bill contains another important aspect that expands options for judges. Under current law, when someone’s driver’s license is suspended for the relevant offenses, judges may only grant driving privileges for primarily work, school, and medical reasons. HB 307 allows judges to grant additional privileges as they see fit. Juvenile driving privileges would also enjoy greater judicial discretion than allowed under current law.

An additional positive change HB 307 would bring is the retroactive application to past driver’s license suspensions. Those with previously suspended licenses for the offenses named in HB 307 would be allowed to ask the court to have those suspensions lifted.

While these changes are modest with regard to changing the overall way lawmakers and courts address drug offenses, HB 307 would have serious positive effects on numerous Ohioans.

Bill Status:

Introduced in the House on 8/31/15

Referred to the House Judiciary Committee on 10/1/15

Received Committee hearings on 10/6/15 and 10/13/15