Thursday, March 9, 2017

Annie's Law

Governor Kasich signs “Annie’s Law”

On January 4, 2017, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed HB 388, known as “Annie’s Law”.  The new law, which will go into effect on April 4th, 2017, is named after Ohio Attorney Annie Rooney, who was killed on July 4th, 2013 in Chillicothe, Ohio as the result of an accident with a repeat drunk driving offender who went left of center. 
Annie’s Law focuses on increased use of ignition interlock devices for those who have been convicted of driving under the influence and are given driving privileges.  An interlock system requires the driver to blow in to a breathalyzer machine installed on the driver’s vehicle.  If any alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start. 
The law increases first time minimum license suspensions from 6 months to 1 year.  However, at the discretion of the court, the license suspension can be reduced to 6 months if an ignition interlock system is used.  As increased incentive for use of an ignition interlock system when granting driving privileges, Annie's Law allows for unlimited driving privileges when the system is in place.  Until now, Ohio law limited driving for only vocational, educational, and medical needs.
According to MADD, states with the strongest ignition interlock laws, such as West Virginia and New Mexico which require them for all drunk driving offenders, have seen reductions in drunk driving deaths by 50 and 38 percent, respectively.
In addition to increased license suspension minimums and an expansion of driving privileges when using an ignition interlock system, the new Ohio law also expands the look back period for increased penalties from six to ten years.  This means a repeat offender will face increased penalties if they have a prior DUI/OVI in the last ten years, as opposed to six years under current Ohio law.