Understanding Ohio’s Special DUI License Plates: What You Need to Know

Ohio, like every other state, imposes serious penalties on people convicted of DUI charges. Many of the penalties are to be expected such as serving time in jail, paying fines, driver’s license suspension, and attending mandated drug or alcohol treatments.

However, there is one more punishment that you could receive that will let everyone on the road know about your criminal past. If you are convicted of an OVI or DUI in Ohio, you will be required to display an Ohio DUI license plate on your vehicle.

Those yellow plates are often called ‘party plates’ and serve as a way to shame convicted DUI offenders to hopefully prevent them from drinking and driving again. The yellow DUI license plates are now mandatory if you are convicted and want to receive restricted driving privileges while your driver’s license is suspended.

Why Does Ohio Issue Special DUI License Plates?

Many people support the yellow party plates as they claim they will deter others from driving while intoxicated. While it may be embarrassing for those with the plates to show the world that they were convicted of DUI charges, it can also alert other drivers to exercise greater caution around those drivers.

However, it is something of a double-edged sword since there are many people convicted of serious violent crimes who do not have to advertise it to the public while driving. Often, people who have the special plates are first-time DUI offenders who have never been in trouble with the law before. Still, you may likely have to live with it if you’re permitted to drive to work, school, or other important locations rather than rely on a bus or other mode of transport.

How to Get Restricted Driving Privileges After Your DUI Conviction

When you are arrested for DUI, you will face an administrative license suspension. After that, if you are convicted, you may face a longer period of suspension. This can happen if you refuse to submit to field sobriety testing or if you test over the legal limit.

Getting your license suspended poses travel difficulties. This is why the law permits you to request limited driving privileges. You will need to prove the restricted privileges are necessary. For example, if you need to drive to work, that is a valid reason to request restricted privileges. Other acceptable reasons for getting permission include going to school or vocational training, attending medical appointments or treatments, or attending any court-ordered treatment.

Generally, the court will grant you a restricted permit unless you have previous convictions for DUI. You will be ineligible for this permit if you have had three or more DUI convictions on your record in the past seven years. Keep in mind that accepting the terms of a restricted permit means that you must keep the yellow DUI license plates on your vehicle. The only exception to this is if you drive a work vehicle and your employer is aware of the limitations on your right to drive during this period.

How Long Must I Keep Yellow DUI Plates on My Vehicle?

Unfortunately, you will need to use special DUI plates on any vehicle you drive for the duration of the restricted driving period. Removing them prematurely will result in additional fines. It will also mean that your restricted driving privileges will be taken away.

Most of the time, people convicted of DUI in Ohio who get their restricted driving privileges will need to keep the plates on their vehicles for 6 months or up to a year. Speaking with an attorney can help you fully understand what is required of you during this time.

Ideally, you will seek legal counsel from a defense attorney immediately after your arrest. If a conviction on the charges is imminent, your attorney can help you prove that you need restricted driving privileges. However, there are many factors that could cause the charges to get reduced or dismissed. That would be the best possible scenario, allowing you to keep a clean record and avoid the shame of driving around with DUI license plates.

Even one DUI conviction on your record can be a blemish that follows you around for much longer than you’ll have the party plates on your car. A conviction will be on your record forever, and it could impede your ability to find a good job, rent an apartment, and much more.

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