Most people know that you can get pulled over and get a ticket for driving faster than the speed limit on a given road, but many people may not be aware that in Columbus and throughout the state of Ohio, you can also get pulled over for driving too far under the speed limit. Under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4511.22, it’s a violation to drive “at such an unreasonably slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.” If you’ve been handed an Ohio slow speed ticket, talk to the Columbus traffic ticket attorneys with Luftman, Heck & Associates today.
The statute allows the state or local governments to set minimum speed limits on streets, roads, and highways between 30 mph and 50 mph, depending on the highway. A residential street isn’t going to have a minimum 50 mph speed limit, for example. But when there is no minimum set, then the standard is simply “unreasonably low.”
When gas prices shot up to nearly $4 per gallon nationwide in recent years, a lot of experts recommended driving more slowly to save on gas. Driving at faster speeds burns more gas, and driving at slower speeds could make your trip more fuel-efficient. However, in Ohio, if your efforts to save gas mean traffic gets held up around you, you could find yourself facing a ticket for driving too slowly.
Penalties for Driving Too Slowly
A basic ticket for driving too slowly is a minor misdemeanor. Minor misdemeanors are basically just infractions. They’re punishable by a fine of up to $150, but no jail time. However, sometimes a slow speed ticket can be a more serious misdemeanor and even carry the possibility of a jail sentence.
A slow speed ticket can be charged as a:
- Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor — When you have a conviction or guilty plea on your record for one prior motor vehicle offense in the preceding year. A fourth-degree misdemeanor can be punished with a sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.
- Third-Degree Misdemeanor — When you have convictions or guilty pleas on your record for two or more motor vehicle offenses in the preceding year. A third-degree misdemeanor can be punished with a sentence of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
A slow speed ticket also adds 2 points to your driver’s license. If you reach a total of 12 points, Ohio law requires that your driver’s license be suspended for 6 months.
Other Consequences of a Columbus Slow Speed Ticket
A slow speed ticket is a moving violation, and as such may have an effect on your car insurance premiums depending on your insurance company’s internal policies for how traffic tickets affect their judgment of the risk of insuring you.
When a slow speed ticket is a fourth-degree or third-degree misdemeanor, the ticket may show up in a background check when you apply for a job. If the job requires you to drive in any capacity, the employer may be hesitant about hiring you. If your current job involves your employer periodically checking your driving record, a slow speed ticket may affect your present employment.
How a Columbus Slow Speed Ticket Attorney Can Help
When you get a ticket for driving too slowly, it’s important to remember that paying the ticket is the same as a guilty plea. In many instances, simply paying the ticket and moving on with your life may be the best option. However, when the slow speed ticket is a fourth-degree or third-degree misdemeanor, you no longer have the option to just pay the ticket. In that instance, you may want to seek the help of an experienced Columbus traffic ticket attorney. There may actually be options for fighting your ticket, depending on the circumstances of your slow speed charge.
If no minimum speed limit has been set for the road where you got your ticket, then the standard under ORC 4511.22 is that you were driving “unreasonably slow” so that you were impeding or blocking traffic. However, that’s something of a subjective standard and there may be evidence that can be presented that challenges the police and prosecutor’s assertion that you were driving in a way that was unreasonably slow.
Under ORC 4511.22, there is an exception to the prohibition against driving at an unreasonably slow speed when it would be necessary to stop or drive at a slow speed to comply with the law or to drive safely. So if, for example, you got pulled over for driving 35 mph on a 55 mph highway, but it the road was covered in snow and ice, an argument could be made that your slow speed was necessary for safety and you may have a defense against the ticket.
Cited for a Slow Speed Ticket in Columbus? Contact us.
You might be bewildered by the idea of getting a ticket for driving too slowly. We understand, and we can help you fight the long-term negative consequences of the ticket. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions in a free consultation with the Columbus traffic ticket lawyers in our offices. Contact us today at (614) 500-3836 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.