A couple of week’s ago on April 6, 2017, the Ohio legislature passed House Bills 388 and 436 which have come to be known as the Ignition Interlock Bill or Annie’s Law.
As a frame of reference, an ignition interlock is breath testing unit installed on a vehicle and it prevents a car from starting and operating without the driver first blowing into the device. If a driver has alcohol (or anything that is read as alcohol in their system) the car will not start.
Annie’s Law addresses many aspects of Ohio’s OVI law and I am starting a blog series to break down Annie’s Law. Today’s post will focus on the concept of unlimited driving privileges.
When you are arrested and charged with an OVI and your case involves a breath test (as opposed to a blood or urine test which this post will not address specifically) your license is immediately suspended. If you fail the breath test, meaning you test above a .08, you were traditionally (before April 6th, 2017) eligible for limited driving privileges after waiting 15 days, what we call “hard time”. If you refuse a test, you were eligible for limited driving privileges after 30 days.
Those same 15 and 30 days still exist after April 6, 2017, but with Annie’s law we have the concept of unlimited driving privileges. Traditionally, limited driving privileges allowed someone to drive for employment purposes only, although many judges would also allow for medical purposes and child-care, but that was generally the extent of privileges.
Under’s Annie’s Law, it is possible to ask the Court for unlimited driving privileges meaning you can drive whenever and wherever you want. Depending on the court and the judge and that judge’s view on how liberal driving privileges should be may determine whether an individual wants to opt for the unlimited driving privileges. And of course, you do not have to opt for the unlimited driving privileges and can still ask only for the limited driving privileges without the required interlock (though some courts may still require it in which case you may as well get the unlimited!).
Sounds great, right?
Here is the catch: you have to have the ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, which of course is additional money and certainly has a certain stigma associated with it. And further, what if the machine is wrong and sends a violation report to the court, subjecting you to harsh penalties like jail? Machines make mistakes, and other substances like mouth wash or the yeast in bread have been known to trigger false positives and show a reading of alcohol and thus a violation.
You also must get a special restrictive drivers license that shows you must have an ignition interlock device in order to drive.
But, for some individuals, the prospect of unlimited driving privileges make the cost and risk worth taking.