A bill that would require even first time offenders to have an alcohol testing device installed in their vehicles (called an ignition interlock device in some states) is being opposed by Ohio judges. Judges oppose the measure because they believe it prevents the individual from using their own discretion to make the choice to get behind the wheel while or not.
These sobriety testing devices are already a required punishment for multiple DUI offenders in Ohio. Currently, judges can impose this as a sentence for first-time offenders, but it is up to their discretion, rather than a requirement.
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Many judges believe that the measure doesn’t get to the root of the problem, and even misses the point, because a majority DUI offenders are never charged with drunk driving again. The Ohio State Bar Association also issued a statement saying they opposed the bill on grounds that it gives drunk driving offenders less incentive to enter into plea deals with the courts.
Koffel Brininger Nesbitt represents more people charged with DUI / OVI in Ohio than perhaps any other Ohio law firm. “First offenders really are not the right cohort to focus tougher DUI sanctions,” said Attorney Brad Koffel. “Just as yellow DUI plates have done absolutely nothing to prevent drunken driving, this measure will also fail in practice. Judges must maintain total discretion to review each individual’s case at the first court date to determine what, if any, alcohol counter measures in place.”