Driving Privileges: Can A Court Prevent Me From Drinking?
A trial court is vested with a great amount of discretion in issuing limited driving privileges under an Administrative License Suspension. A court may require, as a condition of allowing you to have pre-trial limited driving privileges, that you abstain from the use of alcohol. The issuing court also has the discretion to order you to put bright yellow, shame-plates on your car and can order you to wear a transdermal alcohol detection unit (commonly called the S.C.R.A.M., “Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor”). What is more, the court will make you pay for the installation and monitoring of the device. If the court imposes such restrictions, they will remain in effect until the conclusion of your case. R.C. 4511.198(A)(1). Violations of the alcohol monitoring will result in a termination of the court’s driving privileges. In practice, your OVI attorney will be able to advise you about the peculiarities of the court and the possibility of obtaining limited driving privileges with or without the restrictions.
Driving under an OVI suspension is a violation of Ohio Revised Code 4510.14. It is a separate offense from a DUI/OVI charge and carries harsh mandatory penalties. Most of these charges originate when a person is desperate to live up to their obligations to their work and/or their family. Often, the automatic license suspension is the worst part of the DUI experience. It is the position of this author that taking a person’s license prior to being found guilty of an offense is an unconstitutional governmental taking, a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right of assembly and a violation of Due Process in that a person is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Thus far, these arguments have not carried the day. Here are the punishments for the various levels of the offense.
FIRST OFFENSE. A first offense violation of R.C. 4510.14 is a first degree misdemeanor (punishable by a maximum fine of six months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine). The offense carries a mandatory three day jail sentence and a mandatory Class 7 license suspension of up to one year. The judge has the discretion to allow the jail time to be served by a minimum of 30 days on Electronic Home Detention (house arrest). In addition, if the car used in the offense belongs to the offender, a 30 day immobilization of the car and impoundment of plates is required. Some courts will not consider granting limited driving privileges following this charge because they see the offense as a direct violation of “their” order. If a court does grant privileges it must be with the restricted yellow plates. The judge may, but does not have to, require an ignition interlock device.
SECOND OFFENSE. A second offense violation of R.C. 4510.14 is a first degree misdemeanor (punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,500.00 fine). The offense carries a mandatory ten day jail sentence and a mandatory Class 7 license suspension of up to one year. The judge has the discretion to allow the jail time to be served by a minimum of 90 days on Electronic Home Detention (house arrest). In addition, if the car used in the offense belongs to the offender, a 60 day immobilization of the car and impoundment of plates is required. Most courts will not consider granting limited driving privileges following this charge because they see the offense as a direct violation of “their” order. If a court does grant privileges it must be with the restricted yellow plates. The judge may, but does not have to, require an ignition interlock device. Be aware, a second violation can result in a very big bond being placed and may result in your being in jail until the case can be heard.
THIRD OFFENSE. A third driving under OVI suspension is an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,500.00 fine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail. Unlike a first or second violation, Electronic Home Detention (house arrest) is not an option. Forfeiture of the vehicle is required on a third offense, but the granting of driving privileges is still possible with restricted plates.
INTERESTING NOTES: Ohio has recently reformed its criminal sentencing statutes with the passage of H.B. 163. H.B. 163 allows use of house arrest with continuous alcohol monitoring in OVI cases, but did not change the Driving Under OVI Suspension statute. This may have been an oversight as it seems the legislature is attempting to help people keep their job following a DUI/OVI arrest. Another interesting legal argument relates to the Class 7 (up to one year suspensions). Since the language of the statute says “up to” does that mean that a judge could order a one day sentence? One hour? Note that for multiple OVI offenders under suspension, the court may also impound the plates of any other vehicle owned by the offender. Also note that a permanent loss of vehicle shall be ordered by the court, if, within five years you commit a first offense of driving a vehicle that is immobilized and plates impounded.
DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Springboro,Huber Heights, Oakwood, Beavercreek, Centerville and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671. For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube. You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. “All I do is DUI”