Ohio Law Targets Repeat DUI Offenders

State lawmakers in Ohio want to cut the number of repeat drunk drivers on the road and reduce alcohol related accidents and highway deaths. Ohio Highway Patrol statistics show a high number of accidents involving drunk drivers with previous DUI convictions, and their blood alcohol content results were well above the legal limit.

Ohio Senate Bill 17 would require those with two or more drunk driving convictions to submit to a blood or breath test to determine blood alcohol content (BAC). This would close a current legal loophole that allows motorists to refuse such tests and potentially avoid prosecution. A person found guilty of at least two Ohio DUI arrests in a six-year period would have their car impounded and their license suspended for at least a year. The Ohio Department of Public Safety would be required to maintain a registry of DUI offenders who have been arrested five or more times in the previous 20 years. This information would be made available to the public. A driver with three or more DUI convictions would be required to install an ignition interlock device.

The proposed legislation includes efforts to rehabilitate chronic alcohol abusers, such as mandatory alcohol treatment classes and use of alcohol monitoring devices to detect alcohol consumption.

Some of the measures outlined in SB17 are already at the disposal of the courts though the new law allows the penalties to be applied at an earlier point. The bill is currently being debated in the Senate. It must also go through the House before it could find its way to the governor.

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