Most traffic tickets in Columbus are minor misdemeanors which do not have jail as a punishment. There are serious traffic offenses which do carry potential jail time on a first offense, such as DUI / OVI and Driving Under Suspension, but the large majority of tickets are issued for minor infractions.
Even minor traffic tickets can be enhanced to include jail time, however. Ohio law incorporates something called “predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses” within the code. The significance of this is to enhance repeated violation of the traffic laws, generally those within a 12 month period, to include higher fines and the possibility of jail. The first offense is a minor misdemeanor, a second offense with one prior predicate offense is a fourth degree misdemeanor, and a third or further offense is a third degree misdemeanor.
There are no less that 72 predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses. Examples include:
- Disobeying a traffic control device
- Reckless operation
- Speeding and ACDA
- Slow speed
- Improper passing
- Left of center
- Improper backing
- Turning violations
- Failure to yield right of way
- Parking on a highway
- Driving on sidewalk
- Headphones while driving
If you are found guilty of a second offense within 12 months, not only does the potential fine increase, but there is the potential for the judge to put you in jail; 30 days on a fourth degree misdemeanor and 60 days for a third degree misdemeanor.
Columbus Ohio speeding tickets have their own system of enhancement in addition to being a predicate offense for other traffic violations. The following can lead to a maximum $250.00 fine plus costs and 30 days in jail:
- 2 prior speeding tickets within 12 months of the current offense.
- 1st offense speeding in a business district.
- 1st offense speeding in a municipal corporation.
- 1st offense going over 35 mph in a school zone.
Further, 3 or more prior speeding tickets within 12 months of the current offense carries a maximum of $500.00 fine plus costs and 60 days in jail.
If you need a traffic attorney in Columbus because you are facing a potentially jailable traffic ticket, contact my office for a consultation.