Ohio Judges Violate DUI Law
By: Mike Stetzer
While it is always ironic when a government official or police officer is arrested for DUI, judges in Ohio are reportedly violating Ohio DUI law
in a different way.
Under a 2004 Ohio law, drivers with multiple DUI convictions who still need to drive under provisional driver's licenses are required to have special DUI license plates assigned to their vehicles. The law mandates that judges order the DUI license plates.
The Dayton Daily News reported that although approximately 33,000 drivers in Ohio have five or more DUI convictions, only 8,500 vehicles in the entire state had been issued the special DUI license plates as of the end of last year.
According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there are at least 500,000 residents in Montgomery County. However, at the end of 2007, there were only 191 registered DUI license plates in the county. In Summit County, there is approximately the same number of residents, but about three times the number of DUI license plates that have been issued.
Presiding Dayton Municipal Judge John S. Pickrel told the Daily News that he doesn't think the DUI license plates are very effective, so he doesn't order them very often. Pickerel also said that discretion is necessary to protect the innocent.
However, others believe that the DUI license plate law should be enforced more often so that the public knows who is on the road.
The mandatory DUI license plate law went into effect in Ohio on January 1, 2004. The special DUI license plates have red letters on them. These red-lettered plates have been available since 1967, but judges have rarely ordered them.
This largely ignored DUI law calls for all offenders who are permitted to keep driving under provisional driver's licenses to display these special DUI license plates until their normal driving privileges are restored.