Robert R. Hart, Jr., Attorney at Law
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Ohio could pass 'Annie's Law'

Ohio lawmakers and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are urging Ohio to enact "Annie's Law" to reduce drunk driving deaths in the state. Twenty-eight other states have already passed the legislation.

The state's version of Annie's Law, House Bill 388, mandates that all drunk driving offenders, including first-time offenders, must place ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. The bill is named after Annie Rooney, a Cincinnati resident who was struck and killed by a drunk driver in 2013. According to a MADD study, drunk driving deaths have been reduced by as much as 40 percent in states that have enacted the law.

Ignition interlock devices make drunk driving offenders pass a breath test before their vehicle's engine will start. The devices also require drivers to pass random "rolling tests" while driving. If they don't pass the test, they have five minutes to stop the vehicle before its horn starts honking and its lights start flashing. Offenders who tamper with the device will be charged with a criminal felony. The devices cost between $70 and $150 to install and carry a $60 to $90 monthly service fee, all of which is charged to the offender. Some states offer an indigent fund to help poor individuals pay for the devices. The Ohio Senate could vote on the bill sometime this fall.

Individuals charged with drunk driving in Ohio could face harsh penalties, including incarceration, fines and the loss of driving privileges. They could help their case by contacting a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances of the case, an attorney may recommend fighting the charges in court or attempting to negotiate for a plea deal that would provide for a lesser penalty.

Source: WFMJ, "MADD wants Ohio to enact Annie's Law to fight drunk driving", Glenn Stevens, July 17, 2016

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