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Will ignition interlock bill be passed before the end of current session?

State lawmakers permanently altered the legal landscape back in 2008 when they passed a measure, ultimately signed into law by then-Governor Ted Strickland, requiring ignition interlock devices to be installed on the vehicles of anyone convicted of repeat drunk driving offenses.

For those unfamiliar with ignition interlock devices, they are mechanisms into which people must blow in order to start their vehicles. In the event the ignition interlock device detects the presence of any amount of alcohol in the breath sample provided, the vehicle will not start.

Interestingly enough, the General Assembly is now considering a measure, House Bill 388, which would enable first-time OVI offenders to petition the court to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle despite no provision in the law currently requiring them to do so.    

Specifically, the law would allow these first-time OVI offenders to petition the court for an ignition interlock device in exchange for suspended jail time while the device is in use, a reduction in the license suspension period of up to 50 percent, and unlimited driving privileges thereafter.

While proponents of the measure argue that it will go a long way in curbing impaired driving, political experts have indicated that the time left to persuade state lawmakers of this fact is limited.

When the House passed HB 388 by a margin of 87-6 back in May, it then went to the Senate, which proceeded to assign it to its Insurance Committee in late September. However, lawmakers have been on an extended break ahead of the recent elections, and are only planning to be in session for five days between now and the end of the current term on December 31.   

Indeed, failure to pass the bill during this timeframe will mean it has to be reintroduced during the next session.

Stay tuned for updates on this important story ...

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible. Together, you can discuss your rights and your defense options going forward.

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