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What are 'party plates' in Ohio?

Consider it the new version of the old-fashioned "scarlet letter" when you see bright yellow plates with red lettering on an Ohioan's car.If you don't know this already, you should.

The state purposefully shames drivers who are convicted of operating under the influence (OVI), which is Ohio's version of a drunk driving charge. The red and yellow plates are sometimes jokingly called "party plates," but for those stuck with them, they're certainly not a joking matter, and they're definitely no party

Ohio's actually had the plates for decades -- although they were rarely used and up to a judge's discretion. Now, they are issued automatically if your license is suspended due to a drunk driving offense. However, you're still given limited permission to use your car anyhow. Most commonly, that's done when someone has a compelling argument that they should be allowed to drive back and forth to work or school.

Ohio insists that the plates aren't meant for public humiliation, but were instead designed to serve as a warning to other drivers that they were on the road with someone that had once been caught driving while impaired.

What exactly they should do with that knowledge, however, is uncertain. Even the police can't stop someone with yellow and red plates without probable cause that they're currently impaired.

However, for the driver, there is an obvious element of humiliation that doesn't just affect the driver. Many families share a car, so that means that if someone gets an OVI and has to bear the stigma of the yellow and red plates, so does his or her spouse, teen children and any other household drivers using the same vehicle.

The yellow and red plates can also have a cooling effect on one's employment. It's unlikely that the plates will escape notice in the company parking lot -- which means that the promotion you were expecting could suddenly vanish as your superiors start to reconsider your morals and maybe whether or not you have an undetected drinking problem.

Avoiding the so-called "party plates" is an important reason to fight an OVI charge. For more information on how you can do that, consider contacting an attorney today.

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