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Loophole in criminal cases doesn’t stop civil action in Ohio DUIs


When you think of someone being stopped for drunk driving, you might think that the drunk driver will be taken off the roadways. That is true in some cases but in others, the drunk driver might get what some consider a slap on the wrist. Even when there is an accident caused by the drunk driver, there is a chance that justice might not be served in a way that seems fair. As sad as it is, this is because of a loophole in the law.

In Ohio, that loophole is the lookback period. That is a period that determines exactly how a person is charged with drunk driving-related offenses. For people who have fewer than six drunk driving convictions in the past 20 years, the drunk driving offenses are misdemeanors. This is what has some people up in arms.

One case to consider when you look at this loophole is that of a man who served just over a year in county jail for killing three people in 1984. That man was supposed to have his license suspended for life according to a court order from 1985. Despite that, he was able to get another license. He is now facing charges for DUI number 10. Because of the lookback period, he is only facing 18 months in jail for his latest charge.

For the family members of people who are killed or injured in drunk driving accidents, this lookback period can be devastating. That lookback period, however, doesn’t have an impact on their ability to seek compensation for the death of their loved one or the injuries they suffered. In the case of drunk drivers, it is possible to seek compensation for injuries or damages as long as you do so within the statute of limitation. Seeking help from someone familiar with these laws can help you learn about your rights to file a civil claim.

Source: 19 Action News, “Why are repeat drunk drivers so lightly sentenced?” Paul Orlousky, Feb. 02, 2015

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