Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4511.12 says that drivers must obey traffic control devices, such as traffic signals and stop signs, unless otherwise directed by a police officer. When you fail to obey a traffic control device, you may be cited for the violation and face fines, points on your Ohio drivers license, or even the possibility of jail time under some circumstances.
Under ORC 4511, a traffic control device includes flaggers, signs, signals, markings, or other devices used to direct traffic or warn drivers. Actions that might be considered a failure to obey a traffic control device might include:
- Running a red light
- Running a stop sign
- Failing to obey a flagger
- Failing to obey a “no turns” sign
- Failing to obey a sign directing you to stay in your lane in a construction zone
A ticket for failure to obey traffic control devices can be a serious matter, and can have long-term effects not only on your driving record, but on your car insurance rates or even your employment if you have to drive for your job. If you’ve been cited for failure to obey a traffic control device, an experienced Columbus traffic attorney can talk to you about your options for fighting the ticket or trying to get your penalties reduced.
Consequences of a Failure to Obey Traffic Control Devices Ticket
Failure to obey a traffic control device can be a simple ticket, or it can be a more serious offense when you have a recent history of other traffic violations. Depending on the circumstances, a ticket under Ohio’s obedience to traffic control devices statute can be charged as:
- Minor Misdemeanor — A basic ticket for failure to obey a traffic control device is a minor misdemeanor in Ohio with a fine of up to $150.
- Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor — If you have one prior moving violation on your record in the previous year, failure to obey a traffic control device can be a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge. If convicted, you may face up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.
- Third-Degree Misdemeanor — If you have two or more prior moving violations on your record within the previous year, failure to obey a traffic control device can be charged as a third-degree misdemeanor. You may be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
In addition to statutory penalties such as fines and possible jail time, your ticket may have other potential impacts on your life.
Those may include:
- Driver’s License Points — Failure to obey a traffic control device is a 2-point violation in Ohio. Once you reach 12 points on your license, Ohio law requires that your drivers license be suspended for 6 months.
- Insurance Rates — A moving violation on your driving record may have the effect of driving up your car insurance premiums. When you get a citation for a moving violation, your insurance company may view you as a higher risk driver, and that typically leads to you having to pay more to insure your vehicle or vehicles. Whether your rates increase, or by how much, will depend on your insurance company’s internal policies regarding traffic tickets.
- Civil Liability — If the incident in which you were issued a failure to obey a traffic control device ticket also involved a car accident, a guilty plea or guilty finding may be used against you if the other driver or drivers sue you in civil court. A conviction for failure to obey a traffic control device may strengthen the civil case against you and be deemed evidence that you were at fault in the crash, and liable to pay for any injuries or damages caused.
- Employment — If you drive as part of your job, your employer probably checks your driving record at some regular frequency. When your employer sees a failure to obey traffic control devices violation on your record, your employer may be concerned about potential liability if you get into a car accident on the job, and you may be considered too risky to keep on as an employee. Likewise, if you apply for a job that involves driving, a potential employer might be hesitant to hire you when you have a moving violation on your record.
- Out-of-State Drivers — When you get a citation for a moving violation such as failure to obey a traffic control device in Ohio, an agreement called the Interstate Compact means that your ticket gets reported to the agency overseeing driver’s licenses in your home state, unless your state is one of the few that isn’t a party to the agreement. When your ticket is reported to your home state, you may face penalties or consequences for your drivers license just as if you committed the violation at home.
Fighting Your Ticket with the Help of a Columbus Traffic Attorney
Many people think when they get a traffic ticket that they have no option but to pay the fine and take the points on their drivers license. However, that’s not always the case, and it’s important to understand that paying the ticket is the same as pleading guilty to the offense. With the help of a skilled Columbus traffic attorney, you may have options for fighting the ticket, and it may make sense to do so even for a simple ticket to avoid some of the longer-term consequences of a guilty plea or a conviction.
Some possible defenses to a failure to obey traffic control devices ticket might include:
- The traffic device was faulty
- The traffic device was not visible
- The traffic device was not properly placed according to Ohio laws
- You were following a police officer’s direction
The defenses that might work in your case will always depend on the individual circumstances of your ticket. An experienced traffic attorney can review the facts and evidence surrounding your ticket, explain your options, and help you make an informed decision about what to do.
Cited for a Columbus Traffic Violation? Contact Us Today
If you have received a ticket for not obeying a traffic control device, you may be able to fight your charge with the help of an experienced Columbus moving violations attorney. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and fight your traffic ticket. Learn how we can help you avoid penalties and points. Contact us today at (614) 500-3836 or email us at [email protected].