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Can Filing Bankruptcy Get My Driver’s License Back?

Did you know filing bankruptcy may get your Ohio drivers’ license back?

In Ohio, many people depend on their cars for their livelihoods. Larger cities such as Cleveland or Columbus have public transportation, but the schedule and frequency of a bus doesn’t always match up with someone’s work schedule — especially if you work nights or weekends, or work in outlying areas away from the city core.

The ability to drive is a lifeline in many ways in addition to being able to get back and forth to work. Reliable transportation can be critical to getting to medical appointments, or to the grocery store, or to taking your children to school.

When your driver’s license is suspended, that can throw your entire life out of whack. You may lose your job if you can’t get to work, or be unable to find employment if you’re looking for a job. You may not be able to make it to medical appointments, and any health conditions you suffer may become worse because of it. You may find yourself shopping at a convenience store in your neighborhood when you can’t make it to a grocery store further away — and spending more on less healthy food.

Many people know that a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help them when they feel overwhelmed by credit cards, medical bills, car loans, or mortgage payments. However, there are a number of other types of debts that can be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or repaid through a Chapter 13 plan. That includes fees that you owe to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to reinstate your driver’s license if it is suspended.

Discharging BMV Reinstatement Fees

Under federal bankruptcy law, driver’s license reinstatement fees are a dischargeable form of debt. That means the fees can be wiped out in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge, or included in a Chapter 13 plan and paid pennies on the dollar the same as other unsecured non-priority debts, with the balance discharged at the end of your Chapter 13.

As soon as you file bankruptcy, the filing of your petition triggers a provision in federal bankruptcy law known as an automatic stay that prevents creditors from taking any action against you. The automatic stay can be used to stop car repossessions, or to get your utilities turned back on if you’ve been disconnected because you fell behind on your gas or electric bills.

The automatic stay also can be used to get your driver’s license reinstated when you include BMV reinstatement fees in your list of debts. Your license has to be eligible for reinstatement, meaning any other conditions to get your license back must have been met, such as getting insurance if you didn’t have it before or that the suspension period for a DUI or other offense has expired. But if the only thing holding you back from getting your license back are the reinstatement fees, then a bankruptcy filing can help.

How To Get Your Ohio Driver’s License Back

Once your bankruptcy petition is filed, your Ohio bankruptcy lawyer will give you a copy of your filed petition that shows the court stamp with the date and time your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition was filed. You can take the copy of your petition showing that your driver’s license reinstatement fees were included in your bankruptcy to an Ohio BMV office to get your license back. You also can mail your documents to:

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Compliance Unit
P.O. Box 16583
Columbus, OH 43216-6583

Once the BMV has notice of your bankruptcy filing, your license should be reinstated without your having to pay reinstatement fees, as long as you’ve met any other conditions for reinstatement.

If you’re driver’s license has been suspended, an experienced Ohio bankruptcy lawyer can review your situation and help you decide whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing might be beneficial for you. If you have other debts, a bankruptcy filing may help you get your finances under control and your life back in order. Call Luftman, Heck & Associates today for a free consultation today at .

Consultling with a Cleveland Bankruptcy Lawyer

The best way to learn about your bankruptcy options in Ohio and what your options might be is to call an experienced Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer. We serve all of Northern Ohio and would be happy to learn more about your situation and guide you through some of your options. Call or email us at advice@clevelandbankruptcyattorney.com to speak with one of our Cleveland bankruptcy attorneys today. 
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