A few months ago, on July 18, we wrote a blog about Ohio House Bill 469—or Annie's Law. To refresh your memory (without the proper process or necessary foundation), Annie's Law was introduced to the Ohio Legislature in early March of 2014. This bill will affect those who are convicted of OVI, specifically alcohol OVI, for the first time. This new law would require first-time OVI offenders, if granted the same limited driving privileges, to use a certified ignition interlock device (IID). The law would require that this device be placed on the offender's vehicle that they will be using for their limited driving privileges. This type of device is attached to a vehicle ignition and does not allow the vehicle to start unless the device detects the requisite amount of alcohol in the operator's (offender's) body. This device is very similar to a breathalyzer device that most law enforcement officers use for detection of alcohol.
Arrest or Conviction?
Reading more into this bill shows an interesting word use for certain parts of the new OVI statute. The bill uses the word "arrest" and "arrested" to show wrongdoing, rather than conviction—as is shown in other parts of the statute. Several other analyses suggest that a person does not have to be convicted to get an IID, however only has to be arrested. This is true—although not for all parts of the statute—due to the fact that Ohio has an implied consent (see November 11 and 24 blogs) law—someone only has to refuse to take a chemical test for alcohol to be arrested. From here, the person would be arrested (even if not yet convicted) for the time being—thus fitting into the language of the new bill.
However, there are portions of the new law that keep the "conviction" language—these are for those who possess more than one OVI conviction in the last six years (O.R.C. 4511.19(G)(1)(B)).
What does this all mean?
Turns out, the analyses above that speak about only needing to be arrested to get an IID—this is correct. Bottom line, this is very bothersome because in either instance—implied consent violations or multiple OVIs in last six years, you might not have multiple convictions, but you'll definitely have multiple arrests. When the dust clears—an IID will be given for arrests, not convictions. This is not good because it takes the discretion from the court's hands, and throws an all-encompassing blanket over all OVI arrests and convictions (and charges that are lessened as well). Rather than allow our courts to determine punishments—specifically limited driving privileges—on a case-by-case basis, this gives courts, judges, and mayors less discretion to make his or her own subjective decisions versus the objective, black and white, concrete decision. Time will tell where this bill goes. Stay connected to our blog for updates.