Ohio Judges Oppose DUI Locks for First-Time Offenders

By Shawn Dwyer 11/04/14

Both the Ohio Judicial Conference and the Ohio State Bar Association came out against the Republican-led proposal.

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The Ohio Judicial Conference came out swinging on Tuesday in opposing a proposed bill that would require first-time drunk driving offenders to have sobriety-testing devices installed in their vehicles.

In a letter addressed to the bill's sponsors, the judges claimed that the proposal would prevent them from using their own discretion as to whether or not a convicted drunk driver merited such a device.

“Judicial discretion is fundamental to our democratic system of government,” Mark Schweikert, executive director for the judicial conference.

Schweikert went on to state that most first-time offenders don't repeat their mistakes, making the installation of such devices unnecessary since alternatives for rehabilitation are already in place. The devices are currently mandatory for repeat offenders.

Sponsored by Reps. Terry Johnson (R-Scioto County) and Gary Scherer (R-Circleville), the bill is alleged to "create a simpler system for first-time offenders" after they regain driving privileges while under suspension. 

But joining the judges is the Ohio State Bar Association, which opposes the bill on the grounds that the courts will be clogged with cases due to a potential decrease in plea bargains that allow drivers back on the roads sooner.

If the bill is passed, drivers will be forced to install the alcohol-sensor devices at a cost of $75 per month out of their own pocket.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.