Ohio Traffic Law

Top Ten Rules for Partying in Ohio

March 31st, 2014

In light of the arrest made following the University of Dayton’s victory, we offer college students these rules for partying (legally) in Ohio.

Rule #1: Don’t Drink and Drive

Ohio has some of the most stringent drunk driving laws in the county.  A first-time offender faces 180 days in jail and a one thousand seventy-five dollar fine, loss of their driver’s license for up to three years and enhanced penalties upon subsequent convictions.  A DUI (called an OVI in Ohio) is not subject to expungement, meaning it will be on your record forever, and subjects an offender to a six (6) year look-back period for enhancements and up to twenty (20) years for enhanced punishments for refusing an officer’s request to provide a breath, blood or urine sample.  In addition to the penalties you will face in court, you may face suspension from your school or other discipline. (Ohio Revised Code 4511.19)

Rule #2: Don’t Drink If You Are Under 21

It is illegal in Ohio for anyone under 21 to purchase, possess or consume an alcoholic beverage.  A conviction of Underage Consumption is a first degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $1,000.00 and/or up to six months in jail.  Despite efforts to lower the drinking age, the law remains rigidly enforced.  Athletes, students on scholarship and students who live in on-campus housing may face additional harsh penalties for underage drinking and be particularly vulnerable to the penalties that are sure to follow an arrest.  Ohio Revised Code Section 4301.69 contains most of the information concerning underage alcohol possession and use. Penalties are in Ohio Revised Code Section 4301.99.

Rule #3: Don’t Furnish Alcohol to Minors

Furnishing someone under 21 with alcohol is a first degree misdemeanor.  If you are providing the alcohol, make sure you know where it is going.  You may be responsible if an underage person consumes the alcohol and face harsh punishments.  Ohio regularly receives funding for programs aimed at curbing underage drinking and uses these funds to go after people providing the booze.  The bigger your party the more likely it is to draw attention from law enforcement.

Rule #4: Don’t Use a Fake ID

Just possessing  a fake ID is illegal in Ohio and is classified as a first degree misdemeanor.  Using the fake ID to purchase alcohol is punished by a mandatory $250.00 fine and may result in a 3 year driver’s license suspension.  A popular enforcement method is for police officers to serve as vendors in drive-through establishments:  “COPS IN SHOPS”

Rule #5: Don’t Drink Where You Shouldn’t

Ohio has an open container law.  It is a minor misdemeanor to possess in public an open container of an alcoholic beverage.  You are subject to a fine of up to $150.00 (a minor misdemeanor).  Possession of alcohol while in a car bumps the charge up to a fourth degree misdemeanor and subjects the offender to 30 days in jail. 4301.62 Opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor prohibited at certain premises.

Rule #6: Don’t Be Drunk In or Near a Car

Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 4511.194 (effective Jan. 1, 2005), it is illegal to be in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. “Physical Control” is defined as being in the driver’s seat of a car and having possession of the vehicle’s keys.  Physical Control does not require that the vehicle have ever been driven or even started.  Under the statute, having the keys within reach will satisfy the definition of having “physical control.”   The crime is one of potentiality, (i.e. you are so close to driving that we will punish you) and speaks to the growing neo-prohibitionist tendencies in Ohio law.

Rule #7:  Don’t Be Disorderly

Disorderly conduct can occur from simply being intoxicated in public.  Officers are given a great deal of discretion in determining what constitutes disorderly behavior.  Disorderly conduct occurs when one recklessly causes inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another due to offensive conduct. Disorderly conduct also occurs when one makes unreasonable noise in such a manner as to violate the peace and quiet of the neighborhood or to be detrimental to the life and health of any individual.  While normally a minor misdemeanor ($150.00 fine) a disorderly conduct can be enhanced to a fourth degree misdemeanor (30 days jail/$250 fine) if an officer tells you to stop the behavior and you persist. See O.R.C. 2917.11 Disorderly Conduct.

Rule #8: Don’t burn stuff

Intentionally setting fire to property that might endanger other or their property, in fact damages the property of another and/or preventing police, fire or EMS personnel from doing their job is a violation of O.R.C. 2909.01 to 2909.0.  Students at public universities in Ohio who are found guilty of these crimes will lose all state-funded financial aid for two years.

Rule #9: Disperse When Instructed

Failure to disperse is also a crime in Ohio.  You should begin walking away and/or go indoors upon such an order. You must obey all lawful orders given by such persons at an emergency site.  A recent revision in the law makes a failure to disperse in situations such as campus area riots an offense for which you can be arrested and jailed. If you actively hamper police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and other public officials while they are doing their jobs you subject yourself to the charge of Misconduct During An Emergency.

Rule #10 Don’t Riot

The party is getting out of control.  If more than five people are engaging in disorderly behavior the party may be deemed a riot under Ohio law.  Your participation in a riot may subject you to criminal penalties. If there is violence involved the rioting gets bumped up to aggravated rioting.  Aggravated rioting is a felony level offense.  Those found guilty of rioting and aggravated rioting must be dismissed from their university and are not permitted to enroll in any state-supported institution of higher education for one year.

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Huber Heights, Beavercreek, and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook, www.facebook.com/daytondui and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.comor write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

Ohio BMV License Suspension

March 20th, 2014

BMV License SuspensionThe most common reasons that a person will have a driver’s license suspension by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles include:

  • Accumulating 12 “points” for traffic violations
  • Driving Without Insurance
  • Operating a Vehicle Impaired (testing over .08 or refusing to test)
  • Drug Offenses
  • Out-of-State DUI/OVI or drug related offenses

If you would like an unofficial copy of your driving record or more information on your type of license suspension or reinstatement, you can visit the BMV web site by clicking HERE.

You should not ignore a notice of suspension because it does not go away unless and until you pay the required reinstatement fees to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. You can appeal your BMV suspension by filing a proper petition with your local municipal court which is also empowered to give you driving privileges during the pendency of your license suspension.   The only exception exists if your license is suspended due to a failure to pay child support.  In such cases, petitions for driving privileges will be handled by the county’s Domestic Relations/Family Court.  Once you submit the appropriate paperwork and pay your filing fee, your appeal will be assigned to a Judge. At this time, you can also present a driving permit to the Court for consideration by a Judge. You can request driving privileges for work, educational or medical reasons.

The court will also allow you t set up a payment plan should you not be able to pay off your reinstatement fee in a lump sum.  The Ohio BMV will offer a driver’s license reinstatement fee installment plan to those individuals who have met all their reinstatement requirements except for paying reinstatement fees. The plan will allow individuals owing $150 or more in reinstatement fee to become valid or eligible to retest for a driver license by paying only $50.00 or more every 30 days for as long as it takes to pay their reinstatement fees.

The license suspension appeal process can vary from court to court.  It is often a very good investment to have an Ohio traffic attorney help you through this process.  The attorney will be familiar with the court’s appeal process and the required paperwork.  You should be able to get guidance as to how to get the maximum number of hours allowed by the court.  Often, people will need to address travel needs or have to deal with a work schedule that changes every week.  Again, a good attorney can deal with these issues.  They can also help avoid trouble by filing and re-filing should your circumstances change. It is also important to consider that driving without a valid permit could result in a criminal charge of Driving Under Suspension, a first degree misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and the possibility of 180 days in jail.

OVI Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio and protecting you.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  You can emailCharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

Ohio BMV license suspension information and other city-specific info at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

Is This The End of Drunk Driving Arrests?

March 4th, 2014

drunk driving arrests

Will there still be drunk driving arrests in the future?  This is the question raised by Money Watch and CBS in the article about autonomous cars, “Will Your Car Be Driving Itself By 2020?”  According to the article,  ”[i]t all sounds like science fiction: cars that drive themselves, navigate streets and avoid crashes. But last week Nissan said it would have such “autonomous cars” to sell by 2020. And General Motors chimed in that it may have a similar model by then.”  The government is not as convinced. ”The car–no matter how automated–is not yet ready to be more than a co-pilot,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland in a statement.  There are also significant consumer issues.  ”A recent Kelley Blue Book poll found 53 percent of respondents said they would never buy a self-driving car while only 18 percent said they would consider one now if it were available. Twenty percent said they might consider buying if the technology improved in five to 10 years.”

 The implications of these changes could be enormous for attorneys.  If cars can be truly autonomous in the next ten to twenty years will that mean the end of personal injury attorneys? Will it spell the end of drunk driving arrests? It also raises practical concerns over MADD’s legislative agenda.  MADD has been working with major insurance companies and automobile manufacturers to get a passive alcohol system (called DADDS) as mandated equipment in every automobile in the world.  In 2008, at MADD’s urging, the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety entered into a $10 million agreement with the federal government to develop such a technology. This system would  search every driver (not just convicted DUI offenders) every single time they started their car.  This year, MADD’s power as one of the nation’s leading lobbying groups resulted in a provision in the Senate transportation bill to ““more widespread deployment of in-vehicle technology” that would prevent drunken driving.  The research will be carried out by the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, a collaboration between NHTSA and the automobile industry.  It will be interesting to see if MADD is looking for a solution or more drunk driving arrests.

If you think the self-driving car is a pipe dream consider this: Nevada, Florida and California have passed laws allowing self-driving cars on their roads for testing with certain safeguards.  The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S class can brake and steer itself for a few seconds under certain conditions. Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and some other luxury brands have implemented automated cruise control that keeps your car a safe distance behind the one ahead and if the radar system senses an imminent crash, puts on the brakes.  The tech giant Google has also put resources behind developing the technology. Analysts believe Google, if successful, would try to sell the system to the auto industry rather than build cars itself.

 

Dayton DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

Find information on drunk driving arrests and other city-specific info at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

 

Snow: What is the Law in Ohio? (by DaytonDUI)

December 9th, 2013

English: Trees covered by snow in Boreal, Cali...

With the return of winter weather, we have received some questions about what constitutes a snow emergency and under what authority a snow emergency can be deemed to exist.  We have also counseled clients who wanted to know what law would circumscribe their behavior during a snow event.  Here is what we learned:

A county sheriff may, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code sections 311.07 and 311.08, declare a snow emergency and temporarily close the state roads and municipal streets within his/her jurisdiction when such action is reasonably necessary for the preservation of the public peace. Ohio Attorney General’s Opinion 97-015, issued April 1, 1997, concluded that this authority includes state roads, county and township roads and municipal streets.

Ohio law provides for three levels of snow emergency.

Snow Emergency Classifications

LEVEL 1: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Motorists are urged to drive very cautiously.

LEVEL 2: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be very icy. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work. Motorists should use extreme caution.

LEVEL 3: All roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be driving during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel or a personal emergency exists. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on the roads may subject themselves to arrest.

Ohio Revised Code 2917.13 sets forth the crime of “Misconduct at an Emergency.”  Any person who knowingly hampers or fails to obey a lawful order of the sheriff declaring a snow emergency and temporarily closing highways, roads and/or streets within his/her jurisdiction may be subject to criminal prosecution under Ohio Revised Code Section 2917.13, “Misconduct at an emergency” or other applicable law or ordinance. A violation under that section is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, punishable by a jail sentence not to exceed 30 days and/or a fine not to exceed $250. If the misconduct creates a risk of physical harm to persons or property, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by a jail sentence not to exceed 180 days and/or a fine not to exceed $1,000.  Below is the full text of the statute.

ORC 2917.13. Misconduct at emergency.

(A) No person shall knowingly do any of the following:

  • 1. Hamper the lawful operations of any law enforcement officer, firefighter, rescuer, medical person, emergency medical services person, or other authorized person, engaged in the person’s duties at the scene of a fire, accident, disaster, riot or emergency of any kind;
  • 2. Hamper the lawful activities of any emergency facility person who is engaged in the person’s duties in an emergency facility;
  • 3. Fail to obey the lawful order of any law enforcement officer engaged in the law enforcement officer’s duties at the scene of or in connection with a fire, accident, disaster or emergency of any kind.

(B) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit access or deny information to any news media representative in the lawful exercise of the news media representative’s duties.

(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of misconduct at an emergency. Except as otherwise provided in this division, misconduct at an emergency is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If a violation of this section creates a risk of physical harm to persons or property, misconduct at an emergency is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(D) As used in this section:

  • 1. “Emergency medical services person” is the singular of “emergency medical services personnel” as defined in section 2133.21 of the Revised Code.
  • 2. “Emergency facility person” is the singular of “emergency facility personnel” as defined in section 2909.04 of the Revised Code.
  • 3. “Emergency facility” has the same meaning as in section 2909.04 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 03-22-2004

To view the state’s weather-related road closures and restrictions, visit the Ohio Department of Transportation’s traffic Web site at www.buckeyetraffic.org.

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Fairborn, Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Springboro, Huber Heights, Oakwood, Beavercreek, Centerville and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324. “All I do is DUI”

Physical Control of a Vehicle While Intoxicated (O.R.C. 4511.194)

December 4th, 2013

physical controlPhysical Control of a Vehicle While Intoxicated (O.R.C. 4511.194) is the offense of being intoxicated while in physical control of a car, but not having caused the vehicle to move.  If you are under the influence and the prosecutor can prove that you “operated” your car and were not simply in “physical control” of your car, you may face a charge of OVI/DUI (drunk driving).  Thus the legal analysis will turn on whether on the prosecutor can prove you “operated” your car.  “Operation” includes causing or having caused a vehicle (such as a car, truck, RV, bicycle or motorcycle) to move. See Cincinnati v. Kelley, 47 Ohio St. 2d 94, 351 N.E.2d 85 (1976).

So what does the prosecution need to prove to sustain a charge of Physical Control?  The prosecution must prove two elements to meet their burden.  First the accused must be under the influence. “Under the influence” is defined as being “appreciably impaired” by the effects of alcohol, a drug of abuse or a combination of the two.  Secondly, the state must prove that the accused was in “physical control” of the vehicle.  “Physical control” is defined as being in the driver’s position of the front seat of a vehicle while having possession of the ignition key.  Under the statute, having the keys within reach will satisfy the definition of having “physical control.”   The physical control statute was essentially designed to “reward” or rather, not punish as severely, the person who drinks too much (or uses drugs of abuse) and then gets into their car, but decides not to actually drive.  In Cleveland v. Dumas, 2013-Ohio-4600, the 8th District Court of Appeals ruled that convictions of OVI and driving while under a license suspension were in error were officer testified that he never saw the defendant in the vehicle and therefore there was insufficient evidence to show that defendant actually operated a vehicle, a required element.

Physical Control is a first degree misdemeanor in Ohio which is punishable by a maximum $1,000.00 fine, a license suspension of up to one year and a maximum jail sentence of six (6) months.  Physical Control is preferable to some commercial drivers because it may not count as a “major incident” for CDL purposes.  Unlike a reckless operation charge (O.R.C. 4511.20), Physical Control carries no “POINTS” on your Ohio license.  The court may also require the defendant to attend a 3-day weekend intervention alcohol education course.  Another major benefit of the Physical Control statute (which is also true of Reckless Operation) is that whereas prior OVI convictions trigger enhanced minimum penalties for future OVI convictions, prior physical control convictions would not trigger those enhanced penalties for future OVI convictions.  For example, if you are convicted of OVI and you have had a prior OVI conviction within the last six years, your minimum jail time will jump from three days to ten days.  If you are convicted of OVI and have a prior physical control conviction, the minimum jail time is still only three days.

Sleeping it off; Is that a violation of the Physical Control statute?  If you are in the front seat with the keys in the ignition or within your reach… YES!  State v. Gill, 994-Ohio-403.  This author has serious concerns with the public policy implications of this law.  For instance, in a true “Physical Control” scenario, the defendant has done everything that we would hope that someone who has had too much to drink would do.  The impaired person  staggers from the bar to his or her car and chooses not to drive.  Ohio does not have a “safe harbor” law, meaning that even if a person who is intoxicated is parked without the keys in the ignition, he or she may still be arrested for DUI if the keys are sitting nearby, such as on the dashboard or passenger seat.  If you are choosing to sleep it off on a night that is freezing, you had better not turn on the heater because that is a violation of the statute.  In addition, Ohio’s Implied Consent law allows for an automatic license suspension (an immediate suspension prior to a finding of guilt) if you are implicated in a physical control charge.  RC 4511.191(A)(2) provides the implied consent trigger for a DUI or physical control ALS:  ”Any person who operates a vehicle . . . upon a highway or any public or private property used by the public for vehicular travel or parking within this state or who is in physical control of a vehicle . . . shall be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test . . . .”  Does this statutory scheme actually encourage a person to take the chance on making it home, because they will incur penalties whether they drive or not?

However, after the Gill decision, the legislature defined the term “operate” in SB 123, effective January 1, 2004. State v. Wallace, 2006-Ohio-2477, at ¶ 8; R.C. 4511.01(HHH).  The term “operate” has been amended, since it was first defined, and the applicable definition of the term includes, “[o]perate means to cause or have caused movement of a vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley.” R.C. 4511.01(HHH).  The State can still use the fact that the car was running and the accused was behind the wheel as “circumstantial evidence” of operation.  They can attempt to sustain a conviction for drunk driving (OVI) if they prove “operation.” As is set forth in Wallace, Id. “[c]ircumstantial evidence and direct evidence have the same probative value. State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259, at paragraph one of the syllabus; State v. Bridges, 3d Dist. No. 1-06-30, 2007-Ohio-1764, at ¶ 28, citing Jenks, supra.; State v. Mitchner, 3d Dist. No. 15-05-07, 2005-Ohio-6412, at ¶ 18. “When the state relies on circumstantial evidence to prove an essential element of the offense charged, there is no need for such evidence to be irreconcilable with any reasonable theory of innocence in order to support a conviction.” Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d, at paragraph one of the syllabus.

Physical Control/DUI Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Xenia and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Xenia’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  You can emailCharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

 Physical Control/Ohio DUI Attorney information and other city-specific info at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

Photo: Morgue files free photo