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Failure to Control

Driving a car is a big responsibility. Your life and the lives of those who you share the road with depend on you making careful and responsible choices. The traffic code was designed to encourage safe and responsible driving habits, and punish unsafe and unlawful behavior. The core of safely operating a vehicle is maintaining reasonable control of it, thus failure to control is an important and often enforced Ohio traffic violation.

A failure to control could mean serious consequences for your life and your driving record. If you’ve been ticketed for failure to control, you may need the help of an experienced Columbus traffic defense lawyer.

What Is Failure to Control?

Failure to control is what it sounds like, and you may be surprised to learn that it applies in a lot of circumstances that are largely out of your control. If you skid or slide because of poor road conditions due to snow, rain, or ice, you may be cited for failure to control. If an animal darts out in front of you and you swerve and lose control, you may be cited for failure to control. In you lose control in an effort to avoid some other unexpected obstruction, you may also be cited. Regardless of the circumstances that led to your ticket, while you’re at the scene, do not use language that implies or admits guilt. Saying things like you “overcorrected” or “overcompensated” in the event of some unanticipated circumstance will make it harder to fight your ticket later.

Ohio Regulation and Penalties for Failure to Control

Failure to control is regulated by Ohio statute 4511.202 and reads “no person shall operate a motor vehicle…without being in reasonable control of the vehicle.”

In Ohio, a failure to control violation is a fifth degree misdemeanor criminal offense, or a minor misdemeanor, and is punishable by a fine of up to $150.

Other Potential Consequences of a Failure to Control Violation

A failure to control violation can have many other potential consequences, especially if you already have other violations on your driving record. Possible consequences include:

  • Driver’s License Points – Failure to control adds 2 points to your license in Ohio. If you have over 12 points on your license, the BMV will automatically suspend your driving privileges for six months. Depending on your driving record, those two points could push you into an automatic suspension.
  • Background Checks – Today, many institutions and organizations run background checks on applicants. This means employers, colleges, and licensing organizations like the state Bar. Having a failure to control violation on your record, especially if it’s in conjunction with several other violations, could make it harder for you to secure employment or get into a university. If driving is part of your current job, your employer may run periodic background checks. Violations on your record could lead to probation or even termination from employment.
  • Higher Insurance – Insurance providers use traffic violations and points on your license to calculate what kind of risk you are, and what kind of rate you qualify for. More violations on your record means higher risk for insurance companies, and higher insurance premiums for you. Insurance rates can rise with as little as one violation on your record.
  • Civil Liability – Depending on the circumstances leading to your ticket, you could be exposed to civil liability. If you were in an accident or injured another driver or pedestrian, or caused damage to someone’s property, you may be sued. A failure to control violation may be offered as evidence of proof of your guilt, increasing the chances of a judgment against you.

How A Lawyer Can Help You

A Columbus traffic defense lawyer will help you fight your ticket by exploring a number of possible defenses on your behalf. Possible defenses may include:

  • Sudden Emergency – Many failure to control tickets are issued after some kind of accident ends up with a driver completely off the road. The idea is, if the driver had maintained reasonable control, the driver would not have ended up off the roadway. However, the Ohio Supreme Court has held that a driver is excused if a sudden emergency caused their failure to control. There must have been a true emergency, skidding due to bad road conditions is not enough to excuse failure to control. Depending on the circumstances of your ticket, your lawyer may help you build a sudden emergency defense to failure to control.
  • You Were in Control – If you did not end up off the roadway and there was no collision that led to your ticket, it’s possible that your ticketing officer was simply mistaken about you being out of control. Your lawyer will interview your ticketing officer as well as any other witnesses as to what they saw or heard.
  • In The Event of A Collision, It Wasn’t Your Fault – If you were issued a failure to control ticket and the existence of a collision was the evidence of your lack of control, you may be able to prove that you did maintain control and another driver simply hit you. Your lawyer will interview any and all witnesses, and study any other evidence of the accident to prove you were not at fault and did not lose control.
    Good driving record – If you have a clean driving record with little or no other violations on it, your lawyer may be able to convince a judge or prosecutor to be lenient. This may mean a fine but no points on your license, or attending a driver’s training course instead of being found guilty at all.

Call today for a free consultation with one of our Columbus traffic attorneys. We can help you avoid the long term consequences of having a violation on your driving record. We’re here 24 hours a day to answer your questions, and help build a defense against your traffic ticket. You can call us at or by email at advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com.

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Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus, OH 43215-5335
advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com

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FAX: (614) 413-2886