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At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we’ve represented numerous clients who have been involved in fatal crashes and have seen first hand the toll such crashes can take on a person’s life. Our experienced Columbus DUI attorneys know that no one wants to be in a position of unintentionally harming another person due to a DUI. With new legislation in the works, it’s important to understand the proposed penalties for a first-time DUI.
Each year, the Ohio State Highway Patrol publishes a summary of crash statistics in Ohio in its annual report Ohio Traffic Crash Facts. Year after year, the report shows thousands of crashes resulting from drivers operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of medications, drug, or alcohol. Too often, these crashes result in severe injury or even fatality.
To address the problem of crashes due to DUIs, recent legislation has been proposed to require ignition interlock devices on all vehicles of DUI offenders. While proponents of the legislation see it as an important life-saving measure, others view the legislation as setting unnecessarily harsh penalties for those convicted of a first-time DUI.
Just last month, House Bill 388 passed the Ohio House on its way to becoming law. Named in honor of Annie Rooney, a Cincinnati native killed by a drunk driver in 2013, “Annie’s Law” would require all DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This device would require a driver to pass an in-car breathalyzer test before being able to drive, track the driver’s location using GPS, and record who is driving with a camera. According to the bill, a driver would need to have a blood alcohol content of .025 or less (which is less than half the legal limit of .08) in order to pass the breathalyzer test.
Because an ignition interlock would be required of all DUI offenders, proponents of the bill argue that it is essential for keeping all DUI offenders from getting back behind the wheel while intoxicated. Opponents, on the other hand, argue that current Ohio bills already require ignition interlock devices for second and subsequent DUI convictions and that Annie’s Law might be unnecessarily punishing those first-time DUI offenders who are unlikely to commit another DUI offense.
Under current Ohio law, those facing a second or subsequent DUI conviction within six years of their first DUI conviction are required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Additionally, a first-time DUI offender may be required to use an ignition interlock device during license suspension for the purposes of hardships or for driving to and from work or school. The length he or she may need to use an ignition interlock device can vary depending on factors such as his or her blood alcohol content at the time of arrest and whether serious injury occurred.
Being charged with a first-time DUI can be a frightening experience, especially in cases where injury or fatality are involved. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we’ve helped numerous individuals face their DUI charges and know first-hand the challenges faced by first-time DUI offenders. If you’ve been charged with a DUI and are seeking representation, contact one of the experienced Columbus DUI attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates at today.