Why Anti-DUI Bill 'Annie's Law' Falls Short


Enforcing DUI laws has become a priority for law enforcement agencies and lawmakers across the country. In an effort to arrest more motorists for DUI – and decrease alcohol-related accidents – Ohio lawmakers have been working on passing House Bill 465, also known as Annie's Law. Annie's Law is named after 36-year-old Annie Rooney, who in July 2013 was fatally injured when she was hit by a drunk driver. The driver had been previously arrested for DUI three times, and was convicted only once.

Under Annie's Law, all first-time DUI offenders would be required to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) on their vehicles. IIDs are breathalyzer devices that prevent motorists from starting their vehicles if a certain amount of alcohol is detected. Should Annie's Law pass, Ohio would become the 23rd state to require IIDs for first-time offenders. Many states and jurisdictions don't require IIDs until a person has been convicted of multiple DUI charges.

While preventing drunk driving accidents and fatalities is a worthy cause, Annie's Law has been criticized for falling short, and for unfairly punishing first-time DUI offenders. Drivers required to install the device, for example, will be forced to bear extensive installation and monthly calibration costs, which can run about $80 a month for 6 to 12 months or longer. In many rural areas throughout the state, there aren't enough IID vendors to install and calibrate the devices, which means motorists would have to travel to larger cities. Annie's law, many argue, would unfairly impact the poor. Others claim the law would also require IID installation for less serious, non-alcohol-related offenses.

In addition to these concerns, the technology associated with ignition interlock devices just isn't there. These devices are not free from error and can falsely identify other substances on the human breath as alcohol. Weather also affects whether IIDs will function properly. For example, these devices do not work when it is extremely cold outside. We receive many complaints from clients during the winter months. SCRAM bracelets (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor), would work better to monitor alcohol consumption.

As lawmakers determine whether or not to pass Annie's law, our Columbus DUI lawyers will remain committed to defending clients against the charges and penalties they face. If you or someone you love has been charged for DUI, call 614-675-4845 to discuss your case.