What Is Annie’s Law and How It Changed Ohio's OVI Laws

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Annie’s Law went into effect on April 6th, 2017 and it has made drastic changes to Ohio’s drinking and driving laws. Historically, Ohio has mandatory penalties for OVI offenders and bases the mandatory minimum penalties by the number of times someone has been convicted of OVI.

A breakdown of how Annie’s law will influence DUI / OVI law in Ohio:

  1. First offense DUI offenders* can get unlimited driving privileges with the installation of an ignition interlock device.
  2. The judge must suspend all jail in the event the first time offender elects to go with the interlock.
  3. The judge may reduce the license suspension by 50% if the offender elects to get the interlock.
  4. Creates a new violation of law called “IID VIOLATION” for Ignition Interlock**.
  5. The offender must have a new special driver’s license that denotes the use of the interlock. Failure to obtain this new license is a mandatory jail term.
  6. Offenders can apply for indigent status for free interlock.
  7. Other DUI/OVI-related provisions extends the “lookback” period for DUI/OVI from 6 years to ten years.
  8. Lengthens license suspensions for multiple offenders***.
  9. Eliminates yellow license plates for1st or 2nd offenders who take a breath test.

Changes to first time OVI offenders

The previous law required OVI offenders to either serve three or six days in jail if the offender does not have a previous OVI conviction within the last six years depending on the chemical test. The six year rule is commonly known as the “look back period”. The new law’s look back period is now ten years. The previous law required a minimum license suspension of six months with a maximum suspension of 3 years. Offenders were able to get restricted driving privileges. The new law requires at least a one year license suspension but the suspension can be cut in half to six months if the offender requests and the court grants unlimited driving privileges with a certified ignition interlock device (IID). These privileges are 24/7 with only one rule, that is, blow into the breathalyzer without it detecting ANY amount of alcohol on the individuals breath. The court can also suspend ALL jail time if the offender does not test positive for alcohol. If the individual tests positive for alcohol the court must impose the suspended jail time.

Changes to second time OVI offenders

Annie’s law extended the look back period to 10 years. The ignition interlock is required for limited driving privileges and the suspension can be reduced by half if no IID violations. The previous law required at least a one year suspension with a maximum suspension of five years. The new law extended the maximum suspension to seven years. The previous law required a 90 day period of immobilization. The new law allows a court to suspend the immobilization period if the offender has restricted driving privileges with a IID.

Changes to third time OVI offenders

The new law extended the look back period to 10 years. The old law required a minimum license suspension of two years with a maximum suspension of ten years. The new law extended the maximum suspension to twelve years. However, if the offender has an IID the court my reduce the suspension in half which would allow a minimum license suspension of one year.

Ignition Interlock Violations

The court must impose the suspended jail time. The offender may be required to wear an alcohol monitor. The length is determined by the number of violations. The court may reinstate the immobilization period if originally suspended.

Another significant change affects multiple OVI offenders. No privileges may be granted on a suspension imposed on an offender who has had three or more convictions or guilty pleas within the preceding ten years.

*refers to 1st offense in 10 years and the offender must still wait 15 days for a positive breath test or 30 days on a refusal.

**IID Violation will result in continuous alcohol monitoring (also known as “SCRAM”).

*** First offense OVI will have a mandatory minimum license 1-5 years but can be reduced by 50% for the installation of IID.

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