Proposed H.B. 469 is currently under consideration by the Ohio General Assembly. The bill would amend Ohio’s OVI law as it applies to first-time offenders charged with an OVI.
Under the proposed law, any first-time offender whose driver’s license has been suspended may file for driving privileges with a certified interlock device during the suspension.
If the court receives notice that the interlock device was tampered with or that the offender was prevented from starting the vehicle due to a failed test, penalties may increase. For example, the court could double the suspension period, double the period of time in which the offender must drive with an interlock,
If the court receives notice that the offender was driving a vehicle without the interlock, the court could order an ankle monitor.
Similar bills have been introduced in the Ohio General Assembly and have failed. This time, however, the bill appears to be gaining momentum and support. Bills proposing similar increased penalties for first time offenders have been proposed in states across the US. At present 20 states require or “highly incentivize” interlock devices for all DUI offenders–including first time offenders.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is the force behind the national push for amended legislation. Interestingly, MADD contends that an interlock program would eliminate the need for a “hard suspension” following a DUI charge.
Under current Ohio law, if you fail a breathalyzer test, your license is under a “hard suspension” for 15 days (during which time you are not eligible to get driving privileges). If you refuse the test, your hard suspension is 30 days.
MADD argues that this “hard suspension” is unnecessary and that first time offenders should be given privileges right away, but with an interlock. Unfortunately, review of the current version of Ohio’s H.B. 469 does not include elimination of this hard time suspension.
For the full story on the H.B. 469 (“Annie’s Law), please see the news story and Attorney Doug Riddell’s interview above.