If you have a yellow plate with red lettering on your vehicle, then the police, your neighbors, and the entire community knows that you’ve been convicted of a DUI (known as an OVI in Ohio) at least once. This is why it’s important to reach out to a Cincinnati DUI lawyer from Ernst & Associates if you are facing a DUI/OVI conviction. 

Officially these plates are known as  “restricted license plates” and are not something you want on your vehicle. There are specific legal reasons that require you to obtain this plate, how to obtain them, and harsh penalties if you don’t use them when the Ohio courts instruct you to.

Ohio’s “yellow” plate laws for restricted driving can be confusing in OVI cases because many variables are involved in OVI sentencing in multiple state statutes. 

However, what conditions are these “restricted plates” needed, and when? For example, you may have to use a “restricted plate” if your driving privileges are suspended or for the following types of DUI/OVI convictions:

  • If this is your first or second offense within ten years, and you had  a high breath/blood/urine test (.170 BAC or higher)>
  • If this is for your first or second offense within ten years, you refused to take a breath/blood/urine test, and a prior OVI conviction within 20 years.
  • It’s your third offense (or more) within ten years.

It’s important to note that if your OVI conviction doesn’t require a restricted license plate, the judge still may have the option of ordering the use of a restricted plate as a condition of you retaining your driving privileges.

Restricted yellow plates, however, almost always impose the condition of you having limited driving privileges. However, if you are not requesting driving privileges but have a qualifying conviction, you may not have to obtain this type of plate for your vehicle. But almost in all cases, If you want to retain your driving privileges, you must get a special restricted yellow plate.

Due to the confusing nature of these “special plate” statute’s, often having the assistance of a knowledgeable, experienced, and aggressive Cincinnati OVI lawyer will help you (and your family) avoid the embarrassing and limiting restrictions that these “yellow” plates impose. Obtaining a complete case evaluation with your lawyer will be invaluable to you if you do it before you appear before the Ohio courts.

How Long Must I Have a Yellow License Plate?

Unfortunately, you and your family who operate your vehicle could become targets for unnecessary police stops and general “embarrassment” in your surrounding community. However, how long you must keep a yellow license plate will depend on the time you have limited driving privileges. This depends on your case, but it usually is at least six months or longer.

A decade or more ago, Ohio judges had more discretion in requiring you to use these plates. Currently, however, yellow plates are mandatory for almost all OVI  convictions.

When you and your family are mandated to drive around with this “scarlet letter” on your car, assuredly, you’ll want your standard plates back as soon as possible. Due to these yellow plates, you may experience discrimination and opposition from educators, potential employers, and more. You also could become the target for unnecessary police stops.

It’s unfortunate, but there is no “set time” you will need to keep the yellow license plates as your case is unique, and usually, the time is also. As long as you have limited driving privileges, which could be six months or much longer, you will have to keep this plate until your driver’s license has been fully reinstated.

Are Judges Issuing More or Less of These Yellow Plates in Ohio?

Recently, some Ohio judges seem  to be ordering fewer convicted OVI driving suspects to display these yellow “party plates.”

In certain jurisdictions, drivers displaying these yellow plates seemed to suffer unfair punishment. This is especially true, considering people convicted of more severe crimes weren’t required to advertise their offense for public shaming.

This is very important to know, and your OVI criminal defense lawyer will use this trend to help you avoid displaying this plate.  Most defense lawyers believe this is happening because there seems to be a shrinking number of repeat drunk driving offenders. Others believe that since Ohio is only one of two states that use these yellow plates, many judges fear they are unduly shaming these individuals.

How Can a Cincinnati OVI Lawyer Help Me?

Remember that every day you drive with a “yellow plate,” you have a visible reminder of your OVI conviction until your full driving privileges are reinstated. This “scarlet letter” could be on your car for at least six months or up to 3 years.

This is one of the main reasons to consult and work with skilled DUI/OVI criminal defense immediately after you are charged with an OVI.

Your law team will immediately and aggressively fight for your driving privileges to be fully reinstated.

Most people, including you, realize that you must drive in today’s world. So, even if you cannot obtain your driving privileges in full, your lawyer will do everything in their power to see that you can drive to school, work, doctor’s appointments, and more.

Your experienced, thorough law team will also fight for your rights to not display the ‘yellow plate and know all the most current legislation needed to do so.

I’ve Been Charged With an OVI; How Should I Proceed?

The consequences of a DUI/OVI conviction in Ohio are already severe, but sometimes the penalties are harsher than you deserve and can be devastating. This is especially true if you’re made to display the stigma of a  DUI / OVI yellow license plate.

This plate will essentially broadcast your OVI conviction to law enforcement and the community at large, possibly even including your family in the “scope” of your conviction.

Your experienced, empathetic, and aggressive Cincinnati OVI lawyer fully understands what is at stake for you and your family at this enormously stressful time. Obtain their counsel immediately, and they will fight for your rights and help to ensure the best outcome for you, your driving privileges, your reputation, and your future.