Understanding “Annie’s Law” and OVI Penalty Changes

Information About Annie’s Law

Cincinnati traffic criminal lawAnnie’s Law is dedicated to a woman named Annie Rooney, who was killed by a drunk driver on July 4, 2013. She was a 36 year old lawyer. She had been a prosecuting attorney in Bosemont, Montana, and had recently opened her own law practice in Chillicothe, Ohio.

The House Bill (388) was passed by the Ohio Senate on December 6, 2016. This law modified Ohio law regarding drunk driving and penalties. The law went into effect on April 6, 2016.

Annie’s Law expands the use of the Ignition Interlock Device. The IID is attached to your vehicle and monitors the alcohol content of the driver. In the event that the driver blows into the Interlock Device and the device detects alcohol on the driver’s breath the car will not start.

OVI and Annie’s Law

Under Annie’s Law if you have been charged with OVI the judge can grant you unlimited driving privileges under the condition that you install an IID on your vehicle. The law also establishes additional penalties if you are subject to operating a vehicle with an IID, and: (1) You drive a car that does not have an Ignition Interlock; (2) You circumvent or tamper with the IID or (3) The IID detects an amount of alcohol that prevents the car from driving. Also, having someone blow into the device for you in order to allow you to drive the vehicle when you have alcohol in your system is a first degree misdemeanor.

In order to determine whether your OVI is a first, second, etc. violation, previously the look back period was six years. The new law extends the look back period to 10 years. The penalty for additional OVIs in this 10 year look back period is enhanced with each additional offense.

One of the most significant changes in the law is that for a first OVI offense the mandatory license suspension went from six months to three years under the old law to one to three years under the new law. The time frame for the suspension under the second and subsequent offenses was also increased.

Annie’s Law provides that a second offender who does not commit a “high-test” offense—an OVI with a blood alcohol content in excess of .17—does not have to have the restricted yellow plates on their vehicle. However, if you do have a high tier second OVI or you refuse to submit to the Breathalyzer test and you did commit an OVI within the previous 20 years then you must have the restricted plates.

There are a number of other provisions under Annie’s Law that your lawyer will need to explain to you. This area of the law is so complex that even a first-offense OVI probably requires an attorney.

Certainly, however, the best decision is not to drink and drive.

Robert Butler – Donnellon, Donnellon and Miller

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