Ohio Traffic Law

License Plate Light Not Illuminated (O.R.C. 4513.05)

April 24th, 2013

Neon sign

In Ohio, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle without a white light illuminating the rear registration plate. See O.R.C. 4513.05.  This law is often used as a pretext for a traffic stop which allows the officer to come into contact with the motorist.  Here is a full text of the law. 

4513.05 Tail lights and illumination of rear license plate.

(A) Every motor vehicle, trackless trolley, trailer, semitrailer, pole trailer, or vehicle which is being drawn at the end of a train of vehicles shall be equipped with at least one tail light mounted on the rear which, when lighted, shall emit a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear, provided that in the case of a train of vehicles only the tail light on the rearmost vehicle need be visible from the distance specified.

Either a tail light or a separate light shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate, when such registration plate is required, and render it legible from a distance of fifty feet to the rear. Any tail light, together with any separate light for illuminating the rear registration plate, shall be so wired as to be lighted whenever the headlights or auxiliary driving lights are lighted, except where separate lighting systems are provided for trailers for the purpose of illuminating such registration plate. 

(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

While this may seem like a trifling reason for a traffic stop, most states have similar laws.  The justification for the law is that a passerby or pedestrian who sees a car should be able to identify the car by its license plate.  Arguing that your car has reflective license plates is not a defense.  Once the officer comes in contact he can begin a full investigation for impaired driving if he establishes reasonable and articulable suspicion to continue the detention.

Why a white light?  Law enforcement does not want the light to be able to change the color of the license plate and thus enhance the possibility of misidentification of a vehicle.  We have also seen cases of individuals being pulled over due to neon flashing lights on their license plates.  Ohio Revised Code, section 4513.17 prohibits flashing lights on motor vehicles with the exception of emergency vehicles, turn signals, and hazard flashers.Lights must not rotate, oscillate, or flash, but state law does not prohibit the use of colored neon lights under your car as long as they do not interfere or blind other drivers.  As long as the neon lights are less than 300 candle power they are not in violation of any State law. If the lights are more than 300 candle power they must be directed to strike the pavement the vehicle sets upon at a distance of no more than 75 feet. The lights can not exceed 500 candle power. Colored lights, such as neon lights around a license plate, could be illegal if the light illuminates the plate and changes the colors of the plate. State law requires a white light to illuminate the rear license plate.”

If you have questions regarding the information provided above, please contact Charles M. Rowland II by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (1-888-769-5263).For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  Immediate help is available by filling out the CONTACT form on any of these pages. For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/DaytonDUI or Get Twitterupdates via SMS by texting follow DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and you can access updates by becoming a fan of Dayton DUI/OVI Defense.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324

How To Fight Your Dayton Photo Speed & Red-Light Ticket

April 8th, 2013

Dayton City Hall.

We have often been asked about the procedure the City of Dayton employs to enforce its photo-enforcement scheme which encompasses both speed tickets and red-light tickets.  Here, taken from the Dayton Public Safety Photo Enforcement page is the procedure that the city has adopted.  If you need to speak to an attorney, we let you know how to contact us below.

View Video of Your Violation and Pay On-Line

If you receive a citation in the mail from the “SafeLight” Dayton Public Safety Photo Enforcement Program for running a red light at one of the City’s “SafeLight” camera-enforced intersections can view the video of the violation and pay the fine on-line.  To view the video, you must enter the “City Code” (DAY) and the “Citation Notice Number” that appears on your citation form. The video images will only be available to the viewer for 60 days . Clicking on the following link will take you to the website outside of the City of Dayton’s domain: www.photonotice.com

Citation Resolution

No points are imposed against the violator’s driving record under the SafeLight Photo Enforcement Program.

Tthere are three (3) options to resolve the citation:

  • Pay the fine within fifteen (15) days.  You can pay your citation fee online by credit or debit card, or by sending a check by mail as indicated on the citation notice (“Notice of Liability”).
  • Within fifteen (15) days, provide the information of the the person that was actually driving the vehicle, if it was not the registered owner, then mail the notorized “Affidavit” to the adress shown on the citation.
  • Within fiteen (15) days, return the “Hearing Request” to have the dispute scheduled to be heard before a Hearing Officer.

Failure to act on the above options will result in default and a $25.00 late fee will be added to the fine amount.  The responsible party will then receive a “Default Notice.”

If the responsible party does not respond to the “Default Notice,”, the citation will be sent to a collection agency.

If the responsible party chooses to have an administrative hearing to appeal the citation, the $85.00 citation fee must be paid prior to the notice due date.  If the citation is paid, the following will occur:

  • An appeal hearing will be held before a Hearing Officer.
  • If the hearing Officer finds in favor of the City that a violation did occur, the $85.00 will be retained by the City to satisfy the citation amount.
  • If the Hearing Officer finds in favor of the responsible party, the $85.00 citation fee will be refunded.
  • If the responsible party fails to show for the hearing, the $85.00 citation fee will be retained to satisfy the fine amount.

For questions involving camera-enforcement citations or the administrative appeals process, please call Officer Carol Johnson at 937-333-1142 or Officer Dyan Thomas at 937-333-1104.

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgHuber HeightsBeavercreekCentervilleSpringboroFranklinLebanonTroyPiquaOakwood 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.

Dayton’s Red Light & Speed Cameras: Where Are They?

April 1st, 2013

A red-light camera in use in Beaverton, Oregon...In 2003, the City of Dayton installed its first “SafeLight” public safety photo enforcement cameras to help reduce accidents at key intersections in the City by detecting vehicles running red lights.  Today, 20 red light cameras are in use at 10 intersections.

Locations with SafeLight (Red Light) Public Safety Cameras:

  • S. Smithville Rd. @ Patterson Rd.
  • W. Third St. @ Edwin C. Moses Blvd.
  • Troy St. @ Stanley Ave.
  • Stanley Ave. @ Valley St.
  • Third St. @ James H. McGee Blvd.
  • Gettysburg Ave. @ Cornell Dr.
  • Main St. @ Hillcrest Ave.
  • US 35 @ Abbey Ave.
  • Salem Ave. @ North Ave.
  • Salem Ave. @ Hillcrest Ave.

Locations with Speed Enforcement Public Safety Cameras:

  • S. Smithville Rd. near E. Fourth St.
  • S. Smithville Rd. near Marimont
  • W. Third St. near Hatfield
  • E. Third St. near Clinton
  • Stanley Ave. near Kuntz
  • S. Keowee near E. Fourth St.
  • N. Keowee St. near Stanley Ave.
  • N. Gettysburgh near Fairbanks and N. Gettysburg @ Cornell Dr.
  • US 35 @ Abbey Ave.
  • Salem Ave. near Otterbein

View Video of Your Violation and Pay On-Line

If you receive a citation in the mail from the “SafeLight” Dayton Public Safety Photo Enforcement Program for running a red light at one of the City’s “SafeLight” camera-enforced intersections can view the video of the violation and pay the fine on-line.  To view the video, you must enter the “City Code” (DAY) and the “Citation Notice Number” that appears on your citation form. The video images will only be available to the viewer for 60 days . Clicking on the following link will take you to the website outside of the City of Dayton’s domain: www.photonotice.com

Citation Resolution

No points are imposed against the violator’s driving record under the SafeLight Photo Enforcement Program.

Tthere are three (3) options to resolve the citation:

  • Pay the fine within fifteen (15) days.  You can pay your citation fee online by credit or debit card, or by sending a check by mail as indicated on the citation notice (“Notice of Liability”).
  • Within fifteen (15) days, provide the information of the the person that was actually driving the vehicle, if it was not the registered owner, then mail the notorized “Affidavit” to the adress shown on the citation.
  • Within fiteen (15) days, return the “Hearing Request” to have the dispute scheduled to be heard before a Hearing Officer.

Failure to act on the above options will result in default and a $25.00 late fee will be added to the fine amount.  The responsible party will then receive a “Default Notice.”

If the responsible party does not respond to the “Default Notice,”, the citation will be sent to a collection agency.

If the responsible party chooses to have an administrative hearing to appeal the citation, the $85.00 citation fee must be paid prior to the notice due date.  If the citation is paid, the following will occur:

  • An appeal hearing will be held before a Hearing Officer.
  • If the hearing Officer finds in favor of the City that a violation did occur, the $85.00 will be retained by the City to satisfy the citation amount.
  • If the Hearing Officer finds in favor of the responsible party, the $85.00 citation fee will be refunded.
  • If the responsible party fails to show for the hearing, the $85.00 citation fee will be retained to satisfy the fine amount.

For questions involving camera-enforcement citations or the administrative appeals process, please call Officer Carol Johnson at 937-333-1142 or Officer Dyan Thomas at 937-333-1104.

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgHuber HeightsBeavercreekCentervilleSpringboroFranklinLebanonTroyPiquaOakwood 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.

Ohio’s Open Container Law, O.R.C. 4301.62

March 15th, 2013

Cork

It is illegal to possess in public an open container of an alcoholic beverage. Conviction of this offense carries a maximum penalty of a $150 fine. Consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a fourth-degree misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 30 days imprisonment or a $250 fine or both.  If you are facing an OVI (drunk driving) charge, an open container or any other alcohol-related charge, please contact Charles M. Rowland II at (937) 318-1384 or visit www.DaytonDUI.com.  Below is the full text of Ohio’s Open Container Law.

OPEN CONTAINER LAW

4301.62 Opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor prohibited at certain premises.

Effective Date: 04-07-2004; 09-21-2006

Physical Control & Reckless Operation

February 6th, 2013

All-I-do-Is-DUI-DefenseOften, a client will be presented with a plea offer involving a reduction to a charge called “physical control.”  Physical control is the crime of being in control of a car while you are impaired.  It is a zero point violation under Ohio law and does not carry a mandatory license suspension.  Physical control is usually contrasted with a Reckless Operation.  To determine which reduction is advantageous, we offer this article.  Please talk to your attorney prior to accepting a “physical control” or a “reckless operation” as both have definite pros and cons.

The crime of “Physical Control” involves being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a drug of abuse.  This definition means that you do not have to be driving or operating the car.  If a person is in the driver’s position of the front seat of a vehicle, or in the driver’s position of a streetcar, or trackless trolley and having possession of the vehicle’s, streetcar’s or trackless trolley’s key, or other ignition device that person is in “physical control” of the vehicle.  See Cincinnati v. Kelley, 47 Ohio St.2d 94, 351 N.E.2d 85 (1976).

Vehicle is defined at R.C. 4511.01(A) as

every device, including a motorized bicycle, in, upon, or by which any person or property may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except that “vehicle” does not include any motorized wheelchair, any electric personal assistive mobility device, and device that is moved by power collected from overhead electric trolley wires, or that is used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks, or any device, other than a bicycle, that is moved by human power.

Thus, one could be convicted of Physical Control of a bicycle, but not a unicycle, tricycle, wheelbarrow or shopping cart. This same quirky logic applies to Ohio’s OVI (drunk driving) statute, R.C. 4511.19.

“Operate” is defined at R.C. 4511.01(HHH) as “to cause or have caused movement.”  But, being found slumped over the wheel of a vehicle whilst the vehicle is running has been found to be operation of the vehicle, State v. Adams, 2007-Ohio-4932 (Ohio Ct. App. 3d Dist. Crawford 2007).  In State v. Mackie, 128 Ohio App.3d 167, 714 N.E.2d 405 (1st Dist. Hamilton County 1998), a defendant’s car was stuck in a snowbank and was incapable of movement.  His conviction was reversed due to insufficient evidence to show intoxication when the vehicle was operable.   The Mackie decision offers a good discussion of the intricacies that are raised by attempting to define “operation.”

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.

Reckless operation in Ohio can constitute any number of offenses within the Ohio Revised Code dealing with operation of a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard to persons or property.  Commonly, reckless operation is charged under O.R.C. 4511.20 (all codes sections are set forth below).  There is a separate O.R.C. section dealing with reckless operation while off-road (O.R.C. 4511.201) and while on a watercraft (O.R.C. 1547.07).  O.R.C. 4511.202 is Ohio’s Reasonable Control Statute.

The Ohio Supreme Court, in State v. Earlenbaugh (1985), 18 Ohio St.3d 19, 21-22, stated, “we believe that the statute simply provides two definite and clear bases upon which a finding of guilt may be premised. A person may be found guilty of violating R.C. 4511.20 if he acts willfully. Such conduct implies an act done intentionally, designedly, knowingly, or purposely, without justifiable excuse. Black’s Law Dictionary (5th Ed.1979) 1434. Or conversely, R.C. 4511.20 is violated when a person acts wantonly in disregard of the safety of others. A wanton act is an act done in reckless disregard of the rights of others which evinces a reckless indifference of the consequences to the life, limb, health, reputation, or property of others. (Citations omitted.)”  The statutory definition of reckless operation can be found at Ohio Revised Code Section 4511.20 which states:

4511.20 Operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.

(A) No person shall operate a vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street or highway in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

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.