New Ohio Law Gives Judges Discretion Over License Suspension

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CLEVELAND (AP) – A new state law has given judges in Ohio discretion over whether to suspend the driver’s license of someone convicted of a drug offense that doesn’t involve impaired driving.

The law, which the Legislature passed earlier this year, took effect on Tuesday. Prior law had called for mandatory suspensions of between six months and five years for all drug convictions, including minor misdemeanor citations for possessing small amounts of marijuana or drug paraphernalia.

State Sen. Bill Seitz sponsored the measure. The Cincinnati Republican said Tuesday fewer drug-related license suspensions will help Ohioans obtain jobs or maintain employment.

Akron Municipal Court Judge Joy Malek Oldfield said she welcomes having discretion in sentencing and that she’ll no longer suspend licenses for drug offenses unless they involve a person driving.