Mayor’s Courts have no authority to suspend driver’s licenses for drug offenses. However, some mayors and magistrates in these courts suspend licenses anyway, out of ignorance.

Ohio ‘s 310 Mayor’s Courts cover municipalities that have 1.6 million residents. Most operate in villages with populations under 5,000, but some mid-size cities — such as Dublin (pop. 43,607) and Cuyahoga Falls (pop. 49,267) — continue the practice.

Mayor’s Courts handle traffic offenses and municipal misdemeanors, including possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. State law permits license suspensions only for those convicted of OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) of a drug, such as alcohol or marijuana.

Under the Ohio Revised Code (state law), Mayor’s Courts cannot legally suspend driver’s licenses for marijuana possession or paraphernalia charges, even if the pot was found in a car and local law says it is a “shall suspend” offense. Mayor’s Courts can only exercise powers granted by the state legislature — and this is not one of them.

Many, perhaps most, Mayor’s Courts know this and do not suspend driver’s licenses for drug offenses. However, a sizable number of Mayor’s Courts appear to suspend licenses despite lacking the authority to do so.

One thing to remember: If a person asks for a jury trial or appeals a Mayor’s Court verdict, the case is transferred to Municipal Court, which does have the authority to suspend driver’s licenses for marijuana offenses. ¬†In most cases, Mayor’s Court is a preferable venue for a marijuana defendant.

Improper license suspensions in Mayor’s Courts can often be stopped through education.

Ask a Mayor’s Court near you what it’s license suspension policy is — and fix it if it needs fixing.


The following chart shows what local laws say in 131 communities that have Mayor’s Court, notwithstanding the lack of legal authority to carry out the penalty.

Driver’s license suspension¬†
City Population Possession Paraphernalia
Amberly 3,597 Shall Shall
Amelia 4,897 Shall Shall
Anna 1,554 Shall Shall
Ashville 4,114 May Shall
Avon 21,193 Shall Shall
Beachwood 11,953 May May
Bedford Heights 10,751 May Shall
Belleville 1,887 Shall Shall
Belpre 6,441 May Shall
Bentleyville 863 Shall Shall
Bexley 13,057 May Shall
Blue Ash 12,114 Shall Shall
Boston Heights 1,296 May Shall
Bratenahl 1,180 May Shall
Brecksville 13,656 Shall Shall
Broadview Heights 19,400 Shall Shall
Brook Park 19,212 Shall Shall
Brooklyn 11,169 May Shall
Brooklyn Heights 1,528 Shall Shall
Brunswick 34,255 May Shall
Buckeye Lake 2,703 Shall Shall
Canal Winchester 7,101 May Shall
Canfield 7,515 Never Shall
Carlisle 5,107 Shall Shall
Chagrin Falls 4,056 May Shall
Cheviot 8,375 Shall Shall
Coldwater 4,447 Shall Shall
Columbiana 6,384 Shall Shall
Columbus Grove 2,082 May Shall
Crestline 4,501 May Shall
Cridersville 1,838 Shall Shall
Cuyahoga Falls 49,652 May Shall
Cuyahoga Heights 627 Shall Shall
Deer Park 5,736 May Shall
Delphos 7,101 May Shall
Doylestown 3,070 Shall May
Dublin 41,751 Shall Shall
Enon 2,414 May Shall
Evendale 2,769 Shall Shall
Fairlawn 7,437 Shall Shall
Forest Park 18,720 Shall Shall
Gahanna 33,248 May Shall
Glendale 2,156 Shall Shall
Grafton 6,007 Shall Shall
Grandview Heights 6,536 May Shall
Granville 5,719 May May
Greenhills 3,599 Shall Shall
Grove City 35,575 Shall Shall
Groveport 5,363 May May
Harrison 9,897 May May
Hebron 2,360 May Shall
Hicksville 3,471 Shall Shall
Highland Hills 992 May Shall
Hilliard 28,435 May Never
Hubbard 7,874 May Shall
Independence 7,133 May Shall
Indian Hill 5,808 Shall Shall
Kelleys Island 312 Shall Shall
Lexington 4,760 May Shall
Lincoln Heights 3,367 Shall Shall
Lockland 3,437 Shall Never
Louisville 9,186 May Shall
Loveland 12,081 May Shall
Macedonia 11,188 May Shall
Madeira 8,726 Shall Shall
Madison 3,184 Shall Shall
Maple Heights 23,138 Shall Shall
Marble Cliff 583 May Shall
Martins Ferry 6,915 May May
McDonald 3,200 May Shall
Middleburg Heights 15,946 May Shall
Milan 1,351 May Shall
Milford 6,709 May Shall
Monroe 12,442 Shall Shall
Montgomery 10,251 Shall Shall
Moraine 6,307 May Shall
Mount Gilead 3,665 Shall Shall
Mount Healthy 6,098 Shall Shall
Munroe Falls 5,012 Shall Shall
Nelsonville 5,392 Never Never
New Albany 7,724 Shall Shall
New Bremen 2,983 Shall Shall
Newburgh Heghts 2,167 May Shall
North Canton 17,488 May Shall
North College Hill 9,397 May Shall
North Olmsted 32,718 May Shall
North Ridgeville 29,465 May Shall
North Royalton 30,444 Shall Never
Northwood 5,265 Shall Shall
Norton 12,085 Shall Shall
Norwood 19,207 Shall Shall
Oakwood 9,202 Shall Shall
Oakwood Village 3,667 May Shall
Obetz 4,656 May May
Olmsted Falls 9,024 May Shall
Ontario 6,225 May Never
Orange 3,290 May Shall
Parma Heights 20,718 Shall Shall
Pataskala 14,962 May Shall
Pickerington 18,291 Shall Shall
Plymouth 1,821 Shall Shall
Poland 2,503 Shall Shall
Put-in-Bay 134 Shall Shall
Reading 10,385 Shall Shall
Reynoldsburg 35,893 Shall Never
Richfield 3,677 May Shall
Seven Hills 11,804 May Shall
Sharonville 13,560 May Shall
Sheffield Lake 9,137 May Shall
Sheffield Village 4,017 May Shall
Silverton 4,781 Shall Shall
Springboro 17,409 May Shall
Springdale 11,223 Shall Never
St. Bernard 4,350 May Shall
St. Clairsville 5,184 Shall Shall
Strongsville 44,750 May Shall
Sunbury 4,714 May Shall
Trenton 11,869 Shall Shall
Upper Arlington 33,771 Never Never
Utica 2,154 May Shall
Valley View 2,107 Shall Shall
Walton Hills 2,253 Shall Shall
West Carrollton 13,143 Shall Never
Westerville 36,120 May May
Westfield Center 1,141 Shall Shall
Whitehall 18,062 May Shall
Willoughby Hills 9,485 May Shall
Woodmere 874 May Shall
Worthington 13,575 May Never
Wyoming 8,428 May Shall
Yellow Springs 3,513 Shall Shall

 

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