IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES: OHIO’S NEW INTERLOCK PENALTIES & INTERLOCK FALSE POSITIVES
Ohio has recently changed its OVI law, which governs operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Under the new language of the law, Ohio puts much more reliance on ignition interlock devices. These machines monitor the levels of alcohol in a person’s system by requiring the driver of a vehicle blow into the device before the car will start.
Lawmakers insist interlock devices will reduce the amount of drivers on the road that are under the influence of alcohol, but the heavy reliance creates new potential hardships and legal issues that must be addressed.
POTENTIAL PENALTIES FROM AN IGNITION INTERLOCK VIOLATION
Someone who is required to use an interlock device must blow into the device each time he or she attempts to start the vehicle. If the device detects alcohol, it will send a notification a company tasked with monitoring the interlock device. Ohio Revised Code Section 4510.13(A)(8) details then penalties associated with an interlock violation:
- The Court may require the violator to submit to continuous alcohol monitoring by way of a device fastened one’s ankle. (Any second violation of the interlock requires mandatory continuous monitoring)
- The court may double the license suspension originally imposed.
- A violation may constitute driving under a suspended license, which carries a mandatory jail sentence under the new law.
CAN AN INTERLOCK DEVICE INCORRECTLY REPORT A VIOLATION (A FALSE POSITIVE)?
As with all technology, it is possible that the machine could produce incorrect information. Two of the main manufacturers and monitoring agencies of interlock devices warn on their respective websites to avoid certain types of food prior to operating a motor vehicle. Some of the things these companies instruct drivers to avoid are:
- Foods that are prepared with alcohol in the cooking process
- Baked goods that combine sugar and yeast
- Breath mints that contain menthol
For these items, interlock companies advise rinsing your mouth thoroughly and waiting several minutes before attempting to blow into the device.
The interlock device creates unintended consequences by limiting the types of foods drivers can consume before driving, and can have substantial legal repercussions for many who have not actually violated the interlock drinking alcohol.
WHAT TO DO IF THE INTERLOCK DEVICE REPORTS A VIOLATION
The court must give notice to the alleged violator if the court intends to impose penalties as a result of an interlock violation. The alleged violator is entitled to a hearing as to whether the violation was a legitimate violation or not. However, the state must only show that the violation was more probable than not in order to impose penalties as a result of an interlock violation.
Interlock devices vary from case to case and there can be difficulty understanding what defenses may be available to you. It is important to contact an attorney who is knowledgeable about all possible defenses available to you including whether the machine malfunctioned or if there was a false positive. If you have questions about your Columbus OVI or interlock violation charges, talk to our Columbus defense attorneys at 614-361-2804.
Written by Anthony M. Iori, Riddell Law Associate