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House Committee Passes Legislation Increasing Penalties for OVI and Aggravated Vehicular Homicide

May 7, 2024
Mark Johnson News

COLUMBUS – The House Criminal Justice Committee today passed House Bill 37, legislation that would raise the penalty for Aggravated Vehicular Homicides committed by drunk drivers, announced bill sponsors, State Reps. Mark Johnson (R-Chillicothe) and Kevin Miller (R-Newark).

The legislation will create an appropriate penalty for those who commit the offense of aggravated vehicular homicide and have also previously been convicted of an OVI-related offense. Specifically, House Bill 37 is designed to address repeat offenders whose behavior has resulted in the death of another person. 

“The main point of this bill is the one-strike policy it enacts after someone has pleaded guilty to one OVI offense in the past twenty years,” said Johnson. “If anyone does have at least one OVI offense on their record and they go on to kill someone while driving drunk, the court will have the ability to sentence them to prison for up to twenty years.”

The bill also states if an offender has prior vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, or involuntary manslaughter resulting from an OVI offense, the court will have the ability to apply the same sentence. Additionally, the proposed legislation increases fines for all aggravated vehicular homicides resulting from an OVI to $25,000 and raises fines for all other OVI offenses.

It also mandates the use of ignition interlocks for all second offense OVI offenders, and for those who have prior alcohol-related offenses.

“As a former state trooper, I know that nearly 30% of all OVI arrests are repeat offenders,” said Miller. “These offenders have repeatedly decided to put the lives of others at risk all for the sake of their own convenience. The consequences of an OVI conviction were clearly not enough to change their mind and deter their behavior. House Bill 37 sends a strong message to these individuals.”

House Bill 37 awaits a vote on the House Floor.