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Annie’s Law seeks to reduce drunk driving fatalities

Ohio House Bill 388, which went into effect in April 2017, makes some significant changes to the laws concerning Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence, or OVI. The bill was named in honor of Annie Rooney, a Chillicothe attorney who was killed by a drunk driver with multiple OVI offenses. The state of Ohio is looking to reduce traffic fatalities of which drunk driving is a major cause.

While the new law carries stricter penalties for a motorist charged with OVI, it also gives first offenders the ability to request installation of an ignition interlock device in place of a license suspension.

About the IID

An ignition interlock device is about the size of a mobile phone. This small, computerized breath-testing machine attaches to the wiring underneath your dashboard, and you are required to breathe into it. If there is a .02 percent or higher alcohol level in your system as recorded by the IID, your car will not start. Even if you pass and are on your way, you will have to submit to random retesting as you drive.

Problems for drivers

There is a downside to IID use: Alcohol is not the only thing that might cause a negative reading in the device. Energy drinks, yeasty foods like bread, pizza and pastries, and even some mouthwash brands have a little alcoholic content that could show up on the IID. The problem here is that the car will not start and the court will be notified. As a result, your license suspension could be extended or even doubled. 

Finding help if you are charged

If you are a first-time offender, Annie’s Law gives you options, among which is IID installation. To find out how best to proceed, it is important for you to contact an experienced attorney without delay.

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