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DUI Defense

Annie’s Law in Ohio and felony OVI charges

By February 9, 2022April 8th, 2024No Comments

In Ohio, drunk driving can have some pretty serious consequences. If you’re charged with OVI, or operating a vehicle under the influence, you could be facing a license suspension or even jail time.

The passage of Annie’s Law in 2017 made some changes to OVI laws in Ohio, including making sentencing requirements stricter. However, it also introduced an option to avoid jail time and get your license suspension reduced if you install an ignition interlock device, or IID.

So what are the new OVI laws in Ohio? And what do they mean for people facing felony OVI charges? From experienced OVI attorney Max Hiltner, here’s everything you need to know about Annie’s Law in Ohio.

Increased minimum sentencing for Annie’s Law

Annie’s Law is named after Annie Rooney, a Chillicothe resident killed by a drunk driver in 2013. As such, the purpose of the law is to prevent fatal drunk driving accidents from happening in Ohio in the future.

The first way that the law does this is by increasing license suspension and minimum sentencing requirements.

Here are the new license suspension requirements under Annie’s Law:

  • First offense: 1 to 3 years
  • Second offense: 1 to 7 years
  • Third offense: 2 to 12 years
  • Fourth offense: 3 years to life

Annie’s Law also increased the “lookback period” from 6 to 10 years. This means that, when considering what penalties you’ll face for an OVI conviction, the court will look for any prior convictions within the last 10 years.

Here are the criminal consequences you could be facing as a result of an OVI conviction:

  • First offense: up to 6 months in jail, up to 5 years probation, fine of up to $1,075
  • Second offense: minimum 10 days in jail, up to $1,625 fine, other penalties remain the same as a first time offense
  • Third offense: 30 days to 1 year in jail, up to 5 years probation, up to $2,750 fine
  • Fourth offense: the charge is now a felony, which could mean 1 year in prison and a fine up to $10,500

So, if you have had an OVI conviction within the last 10 years, you could be charged as a repeat offender, which means your license suspension or your jail time could be increased.

Ignition interlock devices (IIDs) as alternatives in Ohio

However, the goal of Annie’s Law isn’t just to punish people who are convicted of drunk driving. The motivation behind this law is to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road.

To that end, the new law allows for people convicted of an OVI to get their license suspension or sentence reduced in exchange for installing an ignition interlock device (IID).

An IID is a device that measures your alcohol levels, like a breathalyzer, before allowing you to turn on your car. Under Annie’s Law, first-time offenders can avoid any jail time and be granted unlimited driving privileges if they install an IID. There are also opportunities for second or third offenders to be granted limited driving privileges in exchange for installing an IID.

However, the court may take away your driving privileges or reinstate your jail time if any of the following happen:

  • You test positive for alcohol when trying to start your vehicle
  • You tamper with the device in any way
  • You have someone else blow into the device
  • You operate a vehicle without an IID installed

What Annie’s Law means for felony charges

The biggest way that Annie’s Law impacts those facing felony OVI charges is that it increases the look back period to 10 years.

If you have been convicted of 2 OVIs in the last 10 years, you could be facing felony charges, which are punishable by 30 days to a year in prison. And if you have 3 OVIs on your record within the last 10 years, the minimum sentence is 60 days.

While Annie’s Law does allow for some sentence reduction through the IID program, that mostly applies to first and second offenses. If you’re facing more serious charges, the new OVI laws make it more difficult for you to avoid jail time.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to have an experienced OVI lawyer on your side. With a fierce advocate like Max Hiltner, we can make sure that you’re getting the best deal you can get, and that you don’t receive any penalties that you don’t have to.

Contact Hiltner Trial Lawyers today

At Hiltner Trial Lawyers, it’s our business to defend the people in our community from overzealous prosecutors. If you’re facing OVI charges, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and talk about your case.

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