Annie’s Law, or Ohio House Bill 388, became effective on April 6, 2017, and strengthened the penalties for drunk driving in our state.
The law focuses on first-time offenders. What can you expect to happen if law enforcement arrests you for OVI/DUI?
Annie’s Law honors the memory of attorney Annie Rooney of Chillicothe, OH, killed by a drunk driver who had multiple OVI convictions. Before the law—officially Ohio House Bill 388—went into effect, the mandatory minimum driver’s license suspension for a first-time offender convicted of OVI was six months. Under the new law, that minimum increased to 12 months, while the maximum remains the same at three years. However, the number of OVI convictions the defendant carries determines the mandatory minimum penalties under Annie’s Law.
In addition to license suspension, the penalties for a drunk-driving conviction include fines and jail time. However, if you request an ignition interlock device and the court grants the request, you may not have to spend any time behind bars, and the judge may reduce the suspension of your driving privileges from one year to six months.
The ignition interlock device is small, about the size of a mobile phone, and it is basically a computer with an attached mouthpiece. The IID will attach to the wiring in your car. If you want to drive, you must first blow into the IID mouthpiece. The computer will record your blood alcohol content level, which must be zero for the car to start. The IID provides you with unrestricted driving privileges, but be aware that random testing will occur when you are underway to ensure that you still drive sober.
If a law enforcement officer arrests you on suspicion of drunk driving, do not hesitate to look into your legal options. As a first offender under Annie’s Law, you face several stiff penalties that can affect your life in many ways.