The State of Ohio is issuing fewer and fewer restricted license plates to those convicted of OVI.
In 2019, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles processed 3,273 transactions involving restricted license plates, according to a recent report from Dayton Daily News. This represented a 14% decrease from 2018, with most counties reporting significant decreases in issuances, exchanges, renewals, replacements, and transfers of Ohio party plates.
The use of restricted license plates is only one of the many harsh consequences of a drunk driving conviction in Ohio. In addition, you need to contend with fines, court costs, increased insurance premiums, and significant harm to your reputation. Fortunately, an experienced lawyer can help you avoid many of these.
Party Plates Declining Despite Being Required
Party plates have been around for a long time, but their use in Ohio increased drastically in 2004. That’s when the legislature passed a law requiring anyone convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) to display restricted plates if they apply for limited driving privileges during their license suspension period.
The plates have red numbers on a yellow background, and are meant to alert other drivers and law enforcement about your previous drunk driving conviction. Anyone who fails to display their party plates, or who attempts to hide them, may be charged with a minor misdemeanor carrying a maximum $100 penalty.
Before 2004, judges had discretion about ordering their use, and rarely chose to do so. Now, even with judges required to issue the restricted plates, the number of plates is declining. This could be due to people avoiding the party plate requirement by not requesting limited driving privileges during the suspension period.
Ohio Also Requires Jail Time for a First Time DUI
The party plate requirement isn’t the only harsh consequence for first time Ohio drunk driving offenders. Ohio OVI law also requires that first timers spend at least three days behind bars. Fortunately, any time you spend in jail before or during your trial will usually be counted towards this requirement.
In addition to serving jail time, you will need to pay fines ranging from $375 to $1,075 along with court costs. If you choose to request restricted driving privileges, you may also need to install an ignition interlock on your vehicle that will only allow your car to start if you provide a blood alcohol content reading of zero.
When you add in the cost of possible alcohol treatment programs and your increased premiums, the cost of a first time OVI can easily reach $10,000.
To avoid these penalties, you usually need assistance from a criminal defense lawyer with experience in drunk driving cases. Drunk driving cases involve unique legal and evidence related issues that don’t turn up in other criminal cases, so prior experience is essential to planning and executing an effective strategy.
Too many people charged with OVI miss out on the opportunity to prove their innocence or improve their situation by hiring an inexperienced lawyer.
You Can Avoid Criminal Penalties With a Cincinnati OVI Lawyer
At Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP, we have a record of getting the best possible outcomes for our clients in OVI cases in Hamilton County, Butler County, Montgomery County, and all around Cincinnati, Ohio.
Before trial, we can challenge the prosecutor’s evidence, especially if the police pulled you over without reasonable suspicion. In these cases, it may be possible to obtain an OVI case dismissal before trial. This could spare you from needing party plates or seeing any negative impact all together.
Call (513) 338-1890 today for a free consultation about your options after an OVI.