Criminal Justice and Traffic Law

VII.   Criminal Justice and Traffic Law


Senate Bill 17      OMVI offenses

Effective September 30, 2008


Senate Bill 17 makes significant changes to Ohio’s OVI law, as follows: 


-          requires a person arrested for an OVI or OMWI offense to submit to a chemical test of the person’s whole blood, blood serum or plasma, breath, or urine if the person has previously been convicted of two or more OVI or OMWI offenses.  Allows law enforcement to employ whatever “reasonable means” is necessary to ensure that the person submits to a chemical test of the person’s whole blood, blood serum, or plasma [R.C. 1547.111(B) and 4511.191(A)(5)];


-          authorizes courts to waive immobilization of an offender’s vehicle on behalf of a family or household member.  The family or household member must display restricted license plates on the vehicle for the entire waiver period [R.C. 4503.235 and 4511.203(A)(5)];


-          increases from 30 days to 45 days the period of “hard” suspension for offenders with one prior OVI conviction in 6 years [R.C. 4510.13(A)(5)(b)];


-          requires that all repeat OVI offenders use vehicles equipped with ignition interlock devices during the period of suspension following conviction (R.C. 4510.13(A)(5).)  In any case in which an offender operates a vehicle not equipped with an ignition interlock, circumvents the device, or tampers with the device, the offender is subject to secure continuous remote electronic alcohol monitoring (SCRAM) up to 60 days, depending on the number of violations  [R.C. 4510.13(A)(8)];


-          creates an OVI-OMWI registry and requires that whenever a court issues an order requiring interlock or SCRAM the court must charge an additional $2.50 court cost upon the offender.  The proceeds of that court cost are transmitted to the state treasury for credit to a “state highway safety fund” to fund the registry.  At their discretion, courts may impose an additional $2.50 court cost with the proceeds credited to a special projects fund created by the court [R.C. 4510.13(A)(9)];


-          increases base OVI fines by $50 and requires that fifty dollars of each fine be credited to a court special projects fund created for the purpose of funding interlock and SCRAM for indigent offenders.  In the case of those courts that choose not to create a special projects fund for that purpose, the $50 is credited to a new state Indigent Drivers Interlock and Alcohol Monitoring Fund (IDIAMF) created in the bill (see the following dot point) [R.C. 4511.19(G)(1) and (5)(e)];


-          increases the driver’s license reinstatement fee by $50 and requires that $50 of each reinstatement fee be credited to the state IDIAMF for distribution to local IDIAMFs that each county and each municipality having a municipal court is required to create.  The Department of Public Safety will distribute monies in the state IDIAMF to local IDIAMFs for the purpose of offsetting costs incurred by local governments in providing interlock and SCRAM to indigent offenders [R.C. 4511.191(F)(2) and (I)]; and


-          authorizes courts to use surplus Indigent Drivers Alcohol Treatment funds to pay for offenders’ treatment through programs that are not certified by the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS), so long as the program has filed an application for certification with ODADAS and the application is pending.  If the program withdraws the certification application, funding to the program must cease [R.C. 4511.191(H)(6)]. 


Adapted from materials prepared by the Ohio Judicial Conference by Andre Imbrogno.  A more extensive analysis is attached as Appendix F. 


House Bill 50       Townships; junk vehicles

Signed by the Governor December 4, 2007; effective March 6, 2008


House Bill 50 would authorize townships to remove junk motor vehicles from public and private property.  Current law authorizes townships to regulate storage of such vehicles, but not to undertake removal of them.  “Junk motor vehicles” is defined as a motor vehicle that is three model years or older, is apparently inoperable, and is extensively damaged, including, but not limited to, missing wheels, tires, engines, or transmissions.  This would not apply to historic vehicles. 


House Bill 119     Budget bill (traffic law; secondary offenses)

Effective July 1, 2007


House Bill 119, the biennial budget bill, includes a provision that prohibits a law enforcement officer from issuing a ticket for a secondary traffic offense at a motor vehicle checkpoint or safety inspection unless the officer either makes an arrest or issues a ticket for a violation other than then secondary traffic offense, e.g. seat belt violation. 


House Bill 279     OVI offenders with driving privileges; require ignition interlock device

Pending in the House Criminal Justice Committee


House Bill 279 would require certain OVI offenders who are granted limited driving privileges to operate only motor vehicles that are equipped with ignition interlock devises and make other changes relative to such devices. 


Senate Bill 10      Sexual offender registry; Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act

Effective June 30, 2007

Portions incorporated in Senate Bill 17


Senate Bill 10:    


-    defines a “public registry – qualified juvenile offender registrant” as someone who the juvenile court has imposed a serious youthful offender designation if the person is adjudicated a delinquent child for committing certain specified offenses against a victim less than 12 years of age and the offender was between 14 and 17 at the time of the act, and the judge specifies that the person has a duty to comply with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law (SCORN);


-    requires the Department of Youth Services to adopt rules pertaining to certification of sex offender treatment programs;


-    prohibits a person convicted of a child-victim offense of living within 1,000 feet of any pre-school or child daycare center similar to the prohibition against residing within 1,000 feet of any school premises; and


-    permits landlords to terminate rental agreements and evict tenants who violate the above prohibition, and provides for bringing action against a person who violates such prohibition. 


The bill contains detailed provisions pertaining to establishment and maintenance of databases for such information. 


Senate Bill 97      Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act; Modify penalties database

Effective June 30, 2007


Senate Bill 97: 


-          modifies the penalties for violations of the Sexual Offender Registration and Notification Law;


-          requires the inclusion of specified information on the statewide and county sheriffs’ internet sex offender and child-victim offender databases;


-          modifies the definition of “sexually oriented business;”


-          permits townships to regulate the residency of registered sex offenders and child-victim offenders;


-         modifies the law pertaining to school bus driver background checks; and


-          creates the Retained Applicant Fingerprint Database. 


Senate Bill 208    Sentencing requirements for repeat felons (“three strikes”)

Pending in the Senate Judiciary-Criminal Justice Committee

House Bill 296    

Pending in the House Criminal Justice Committee


The bills are designed to strengthen Ohio law when dealing with repeat felons.  Under the bills, there would be a presumption that anyone convicted of two or more felonies would receive the maximum sentence allowed under current law, and for those convicted of three or more felonies, a new “three strikes” policy would allow judges the discretion to sentence them to double the penalties allowed under current law. 


Current law provides for criminal sentences that range from a minimum to a maximum term.  Judges begin with the minimum sentence and, considering the circumstances of the case and prior convictions, work up the sentencing range to the maximum level to justify when it is applied.  According to the sponsors, the bills would reverse this presumption, which would ensure that when a felon is convicted of a subsequent felony, that they are assumed to receive the maximum penalty under the law, unless the judge determines that a less-than-maximum sentence is appropriate. 


The bills could also establish a “three strikes” policy for repeat felons, which would allow judges the discretion to effectively double the normal penalties for those individuals convicted of three or more felonies.



Staff Directory

Contact Information


8 A.M. - 5 P.M.
Monday - Friday