Robert R. Hart, Jr., Attorney at Law
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Proposed law could impact drunk drivers - if it passes

In an effort to save the lives of potentially hundreds of people, an Ohio family has worked tirelessly since losing a loved one in a drunk driving incident in 2013 to pass what has come to be known as "Annie's Law." On Nov. 15, however, media sources reported that as the year's end approaches, the family may be running out of time.

Annie Rooney, who was a resident of Ross County, was killed in a head-on collision on July 4. The driver who was responsible for her death had a history of three prior drunk driving convictions at the time that the fatal accident occurred. Over the intervening three years, Annie's family has worked hard to see more incentives included in the proposed law for the installation of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of first-time drunk driving offenders.

Sources indicate that the difficulty lies within the legal process. In order to become law, the bill needs both committee and full Senate approval before the session ends in December. One member of the Ohio State Senate attributes the difficulty to whether enough committee hearings can be held during the time remaining to accomplish what needs to be done. In hopes of keeping the law alive that they have worked so hard to pass, the family has made visits to committee members during November to stress the importance that the law could ultimately have in saving lives.

Earlier in the year, the law was passed in the House by a wide majority. If the Rooney family's subsequent efforts in the Senate prove successful, the use of an ignition interlock devise could help Ohio residents avoid jail time and see their license suspension time cut in half. A criminal defense lawyer could explain the bill, its incentives and its drawbacks to clients who may be impacted in the event that the it does become law.

Source: NBC 4I, "'Annie's Law" facing a deadline in the Ohio Senate," Rick Reitzel, Nov. 15, 2016

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