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Ohio Lawmakers Consider "Annie's Law," Ignition Interlocks for First-Time DUI Offenders

Ohio lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would require first-time drunk driving offenders to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles. The law – House Bill 469 – has been named "Annie's Law" in memory of an Ohio woman who was tragically killed by a drunk driver. It is designed to take a hard line on DUI offenders and act as a deterrent that may lower rates of repeat DUI offenses.

HB 469 would expand Ohio laws requiring mandatory installation of an IID to first time DUI offenders. Currently under Ohio law, only repeat offenders are required to install IIDs if they wish to retain driving privileges. The law also stipulates that installation of the IID would come after any license suspension sentences have been served.

Annie's Law has received widespread support from local and national organizations, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Ohio State Medical Association, and the National Safety Council. Some, however, have opposed HB 469. Requiring all first time DUI offenders to install an IID, they state, would result in a loss of judicial discretion, or the judge's ability to determine fair punishment depending on the circumstances and situation of a defendant. Opponents also state that the law could result in an increase in trials and administrative license hearings, creating more burdens for the criminal justice system.

While Ohio lawmakers debate on whether or not to pass Annie's Law, similar legislation has already been passed in other states. A large part of the shift toward stiffer driver's license penalties in DUI cases comes from federal agencies like the National Traffic Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Administration, both of which advise states to adopt laws requiring IIDs for first time DUI offenders.

Although California has no statewide law mandating IID installation for all first-time offenders, many jurisdictions throughout the state do. Additionally, courts may use discretion to order IID installation in cases involving drivers with high blood alcohol content (BAC) levels, or other aggravating circumstances.

If you have questions about DUI and IID requirements, or have been arrested for DUI and wish to learn more about your rights, contact an Orange DUI lawyer at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a personalized case evaluation.