Ohio's Distracted Driving Law
As of October 4, it is illegal to text and drive in Ohio. You may now be ticketed for holding a phone in your hand, lap, or anywhere on your body.
The new distracted driving law is a primary offense, meaning law enforcement can stop and issue citations solely for that offense and will no longer need another reason to pull you over if you are seen using your phone behind the wheel.
Consequences For Distracted Driving in Ohio
Now that the law is in effect, there are some serious consequences:
- First offense. You may receive a fine of up to $150 and 2 points on your license.
- Second offense within two years. You may receive a fine of up to $250 and 3 points on
- Third offense within two years. You may receive a fine of up to $500 and 4 points on
your license, along with a possible 90-day suspension.
- Fines are doubled if the violation occurs in a work zone.
What happens if I get points on my license?
A 12-point suspension occurs when you receive 12 points on your license in a 2-year period. You may receive points for traffic violations like speeding, DUIs, and distracted driving. In order to get your license reinstated, you must:
- Serve a 6-month suspension without your license
- Complete a remedial driving course
- File a certificate of insurance
- Pay a reinstatement fee of up to $600
- Retake complete driver's license exam
However, there are some exceptions (if the driver is over 18 years old):
- When the vehicle is parked or stopped at a red light
- Swiping your screen to answer a call
- Call via a hands-free device such as a speakerphone, earpiece, or smartwatch, or connect your phone to your vehicle
- Emergency calls
- GPS/navigation (the device must be mounted on the dash or console)
- Utility workers operating utility vehicles
- Commercial truck drivers using a mobile terminal
What to Do If You are Pulled Over for Distracted Driving
- Provide your license, registration, and insurance upon request.
- Be polite without giving the officer any evidence.
- Remember, you have the right to remain silent. Tell the officer, “I want to speak to an attorney before I say or do anything.”
- Do not consent to a search of your vehicle or your phone. Police are not able to search any electronic device for evidence of recent use without a warrant or the permission of the device's owner.
What You Should Know if You Are Cited for Distracted Driving:
- Completing a distracted driving course can help you avoid fines and points on your license.
- With the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to minimize the consequences of a distracted driving offense.
Are You or Someone You Know Facing Distracted Driving Charges?
If you are facing distracted driving charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation.