Bankruptcy Gets Rid of Your Ohio Drivers License Reinstatement Fees

Bankruptcy can get rid of your driver’s license reinstatement fees!  Recently many clients have come to see me regarding problems they’re facing in repaying their debt because they cannot legally drive due to unpaid reinstatement fees.  They ask me “Can I get rid of my license reinstatement fees?”  The good news is that the Ohio reinstatement fees are dischargeable in bankruptcy!

When the law was introduced  in the early 1980’s several attorneys tried have it struck down by saying it was a new punishment and unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that in fact  it was not a fine or penalty but simply a fee.  Well what ruined the day for many DUI lawyers was great news for bankruptcy attorneys.  That’s because, while I can’t get rid of fines and penalties in bankruptcy, fines are dischargeable!

When the issue was brought before the bankruptcy court (a United States court), the lawyers for the state tried to have their cake and eat it too saying that the fee wasn’t actually a fee but rather was designed as a penalty!  The US Bankruptcy Court saw right through this and determined that since the Ohio Supreme Court thought it looked like a fee, walked like a fee, talked like a fee that it was…A FEE!

Now Ohio Revised Code 4510.10(H) specifically states that the fees may be discharged in bankruptcy.

The key to this discharge though is whether the client makes the attorney aware of these fees.  License reinstatement fees won’t show up on the credit reports so make sure when you come in for a FREE initial consult you tell me that you have reinstatement fees.  Regardless of how many thousands of dollars may have accrued, the entire fee can be discharged through bankruptcy filing.


Erik R. Blaine, Esq.

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