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How Annie’s Law Affects Ohio Residents

When charged with driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Ohio, you could face a license suspension and jail time. In 2017, “Annie’s Law” passed which increased mandatory minimum sentences and broadened the scope of repeat offenders.. This law was in response to the death of a woman who had been struck by a drunk driver with multiple OVI convictions. Lawmakers felt it was time to take action.

What Are the Consequences of OVI Today?

Annie’s Law places greater emphasis on how many convictions of impaired driving a person has had within a given period of time, known as a “look back period.” Before the law was passed, the look back period was only 6 years, but that has since increased to 10.

If a person is charged with OVI for their first time, they face a mandatory minimum license suspension of 1-5 years. A second-time offender can face up to 7 years without a license, and a third-time offender could spend up to 12 years without legal driving privileges.

The Benefits of Installing an Ignition Interlock Device

Once a person has been convicted of impaired driving, the State of Ohio considers them more of a risk. However, it would be unreasonable to take away a person’s license indefinitely—after all, they need to get to work if they are to pay for their mandatory alcohol education, assessment, and treatment.

For this reason, Courts can order a person who is convicted of OVI to purchase and install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their cars. This device will detect whether or not there is alcohol in their system before allowing the vehicle’s ignition to let the engine start.

With an IID installed, drivers may be able to:

  • Continue driving their vehicle without any restrictions
  • Reduce any license suspension periods by half
  • Avoid jail time

Those who wish to install an IID in their car will have to obtain a special new driver’s license.

Using an IID Lawfully

While Annie’s Law makes it possible to avoid longer license suspensions and any jail time, it comes with some strict rules. Once a person agrees to have an IID installed in their vehicle, the presiding judge may choose to not impose a jail sentence.

However, this can change if:

  • A driver tests positive for alcohol when trying to start their vehicle
  • The driver has someone else blow into the device for them to circumvent an accurate reading
  • The IID is tampered with or altered
  • A driver operates a vehicle that does not have an IID installed

Drivers who are found to have violated the terms of their IID installation may have their jail sentences reinstated, putting them at risk of a few days or even a year in jail.

If you have questions about upcoming OVI court proceedings, get help from DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder by calling (330) 787-9841 or contacting our team online.