A new operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) bill named “Annie’s Law” – in honor of Annie Rooney, who lost her life in 2013 after a collision with an intoxicated motorist – is set to hit the Ohio State House of Representatives for voting soon. The bill seeks to increase license suspension periods for first-time OVI offenders from six months to twelve months, if they do not accept having an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on their car. As the laws stand now, IIDs are not necessary for first-time offenders and only used by a judge’s discretion. For those unfamiliar with the term, IIDs prevent an ignition from being turned unless someone exhales an alcohol-free breath into the device.
Currently, IIDs only stop a vehicle from being started. Annie’s Law would also increase the strength of an IID’s limitations by requiring the manufacturer to tell the Department of Public Safety (DPS) each time someone attempts to start the vehicle but fails due to alcohol on their breath. The DPS would also gain permissions to randomly audit and analyze information transmitted by the devices in the state, which some see as a privacy issue.
Two Sides to Every Law
Annie’s Law seems to be pointedly punishing to potential OVI offenders. If it passes, it will be a societal and daily burden on their lives as they have to deal with IIDs, not to mention that Ohio State can tax someone each month their car has an IID.
But there is an arguable benefit to the bill – if passed, judges can grant unlimited driving privileges to motorists with IIDs, rather than using current hardship license restrictions. This means that someone with an IID and an OVI conviction could still go where they please, as long as the device reports their sobriety, instead of only being allowed to drive to work, school, and other necessary venues.
If Annie’s Law does pass, much of how a first-time OVI in Ohio is handled will come down to a judge’s discretion. To hope to achieve the best possible outcome for a case, the help of a criminal defense attorney will be necessary. If you are facing potential OVI punishments, do not hesitate to contact our Columbus DUI lawyers from The Meranda Law Firm LTD. We can start you off with a free case review, during which we can tell you how our 15+ years of experience can help when you are facing license suspensions, high fines, and jail time.