The special license plates for DUI offenders are commonly referred to as “party plates” and “family plates”. The official term in Ohio is “restricted license plates”. Whatever you call them, nobody wants them. In Ohio, the plates are yellow with red lettering, and they signal to everybody the driver of that vehicle was convicted of DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio). This article explains when the plates are required, how they are obtained, and possible penalties for restricted plate violations.
Everything gets ranked these days, including sports teams, colleges, students, lawyers, vacations, and products. For products, you can find lists of everything from the best weight-loss pills to the best vacuum cleaners. Neither of those is recommended as a gift, by the way, even though it is the holiday season. And because it is the holiday season, one thing being ranked is drunk driving rates. A recent Forbes article compares the rates among the 50 states and D.C.
Back in 1791, when the 8th Constitutional Amendment was ratified, the Framers of the Constitution decided there should be limits on financial sanctions for criminal behavior. Accordingly, the 8th Amendment prohibits ‘excessive fines’. Courts have interpreted the Constitutional prohibition of excessive fines to apply to forfeiture of property in criminal cases. The Ohio Supreme Court recently held that forfeiture of a $31,000 vehicle for a repeat DUI conviction (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) does not violate the Excessive Fines Clause of the 8th Amendment.
From the 2008 Lindsay Lohan stories to the 2022 news reports about Paul Pelosi’s DUI conviction, the past 14 years have shown a dramatic increase in the use of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for individuals charged with DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio). A recent report by Coherent Market Insights indicates IIDs in North America will be a $68.5 million industry by 2027. In Ohio, the increased use of IIDs is due, in part, to Annie’s Law. IIDs may be an effective method of preventing OVI, but they do have drawbacks.
Suppose a person is charged with DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) and that person previously refused an alcohol/drug test when arrested for OVI. Can that person’s sentence be enhanced for the current OVI based on the prior refusal? This question was recently addressed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In Ohio, this question is addressed in the Ohio OVI statutes. The Ohio OVI statutes are nuanced and do provide consequences for prior convictions and test refusals.
Most people charged with a first-offense DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) are not aware of the possible consequences. When someone in that situation learns the sentence for a first OVI conviction in Ohio includes a mandatory minimum jail term of three days, it can be frightening. However, judges are authorized to substitute a three-day driver intervention program (DIP) in place of three days in jail. This article provides details about DIPs in OH.
The recent arrest of former U.S. Women’s Soccer goalie Hope Solo resulted in significant media coverage. As articles like this one from CNN reported, Solo was charged in North Carolina with DWI and Child Abuse. What North Carolina calls ‘DWI’, Ohio calls ‘OVI’. What North Carolina calls ‘Child Abuse’, Ohio calls ‘Child Endangering’. Solo’s reported incident illustrates what happens when a driver is accused of being under the influence with children in the vehicle.
When I vacation in other states, people ask me where I’m from. When I say “Columbus”, I usually have to add “Ohio”. I have learned that very few people travel to Ohio for vacation. Some people do travel here for business and personal trips. Whether here for a business trip, a personal trip, or an improbable vacation, if a driver with a license issued by another state gets a DUI/OVI in Ohio, that person faces consequences in Ohio and may face consequences in the state which issued the driver’s license.
Many people charged with DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio), especially those charged with a first offense, feel like they are in the dark. They do not understand the elements and consequences of OVI, and they do not know what to expect in the court process. They also are uncertain about whether to hire a lawyer and how to find a good defense attorney. I recently published a new book, the Ohio DUI/OVI Guide, which answers most of the questions people ask in this situation. My hope is that those who read the guide will no longer be in the dark.
The Michigan legislature recently passed a bill which would permit first-time DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio) offenders to have their records sealed (expunged). Michigan, like Ohio, currently permits record sealing for many criminal offenses but prohibits record sealing for DUI convictions. The Michigan bill passed with an overwhelming majority and is now waiting for the governor’s approval. The potential change in Michigan’s expungement law raises the question of whether first-offense OVI convictions in Ohio should be eligible for record sealing.