Traffic Violation Attorneys in Columbus, Ohio
If you have driven anywhere today, in or on any kind of vehicle for any reason, you have probably violated at least one of the more than 170 Ohio state laws restricting the actions of motor vehicle operators, owners, and passengers. Exceeding a posted speed limit by even a single mile per hour is a ticketable offense, as is putting a car in drive or reverse while not wearing a seatbelt. Letting a registration or commercial truck inspection slide for a day past due can result in fines and forfeiture. And that is all to say nothing of statutes that make use of a car, truck, or motorcycle while committing other criminal or civil offenses separate crimes and violations that are punishable in their own right.
Simply understanding why you have received a moving violation ticket, been mailed summons to pay a fine or appear in court, or been charged with a crime or act of negligence involving a car or truck can require assistance from a knowledgeable and experienced Leist Warner defense lawyer who handles traffic cases in Columbus, Ohio.
Nearly Two Hundreds Ways to Violate Traffic and Vehicle Laws
Here is a sampling of the 172 categories of driving, vehicle ownership, and vehicle use offenses listed on the website of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles:
- Perjury/False Info, including making or purchasing a fake driver’s license, as well as lying about the cause of an accident
- OVI, the state’s preferred term for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving Without Owner’s Consent, meaning auto theft and including failure to return a leased or rented vehicle as required by contract
- Hit Skip/Leave Scene, self-explanatory; but it is worth mentioning that separate classes of hit-and-run violations exist for accidents involving injuries or deaths and only property damage
- Vehicular Assault, with and without intent
- Vehicular Homicide, which often gets prosecuted as a form of voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter
- Slow Speed, especially for mopeds, commercial vehicles, heavy equipment, and farm vehicles
- Red Light Violations, as separate from stop sign and failure to yield violations
- Crossing Yellow Line, as distinct from crossing the centerline (i.e., wrong way driving) and entering a highway going in the wrong direction
- No Driver’s License, with driving under a suspended or restricted license each being treated separately
- Equipment Violations, including everything from broken taillights and flat tires to cracked windshields and windows that are tinted too darkly
- Soliciting, as well as a separate law that prohibits using a vehicle to spend time with a prostitute
- Gasoline Theft, which typically means driving off without paying
- Tag/Sticker Violations, which does not cover a separate set of rules for displaying cargo placards on tanker trucks
- Headphones, prohibited while driving
- Driving While Texting, a special category of distracted driving violation and a separate charge from unsafely using a cell phone, laptop, GPS device, or tablet while behind the wheel
Each statute and regulation applies equally to people driving their own cars and to individuals operating commercial vehicles. Penalties differ, ranging from minor monetary fines that can only be imposed when an offense occurs in conjunction with another (called secondary offenses) to the mandatory surrender of driving privileges, jail terms, and payment of restitution to victims. Without getting too far into the details of those distinctions, it is important to recognize that traffic violations that appear to result in or from injury, death, or intoxication generally carry the stiffest sanctions. Commercial drivers convicted of serious traffic violations also tend to get punished harshly.
Be Aware of Seatbelt, Red Light Cameras, and Helmet Laws
Three types of potential traffic violations residents of Columbus and Franklin County need to be particularly aware of are those related to the use of seatbelts and child safety seats, running red lights, and use of helmets while riding motorcycles and bicycles.
Every person in a moving vehicle in Ohio must be restrained. As harsh as that sounds, what it means is that adults and older children must wear seatbelts. Infants and children under the age of 7 must be placed in age- and size-appropriate safety seats. Children between the ages of 7 and 14 must continue strapping into booster seats until they reach a height of 4’9” and a weight of 40 pounds. The law also offers some leeway on tall and heavy children younger than 7.
Regarding stoplights, Ohio’s state legislature passed a law in March 2015 requiring police to witness a red light violation before a ticket can be issued. Columbus, however, has joined other localities in requesting an exemption that would allow continued use of red light cameras. Whichever way that difference of opinion over how traffic laws should be enforced gets resolved, drivers in the capital city who wish to avoid receiving citations for ignoring a stop signal should err on the side of caution and come to a complete stop at all red lights.
Last, and similar to seatbelt rules enacted and enforced to prevent injuries and deaths, the state requires every person on a motorcycle to wear a properly fitted helmet. In Columbus, all children up to the age of 17 must also wear helmets when riding bicycles.
Contact a Traffic Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio
You may not need the advice and representation of a defense attorney every time you get pulled over for speeding. You do need a legal advocate, however, if you have been charged with reckless driving following an accident with injuries, been accused of driving while drunk or stoned, or been put in danger of losing your business permit or commercial driver’s license because of allegedly committing a traffic violation. Lawyers with Leist Warner may be able to help you retain your driving privileges and your vehicle. Call us today at (614) 222-1000 to ask for a free consultation or use this form to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.