Ohio law now requires the yellow and red restricted plates for most DUI offenses and some Driving Under Suspension cases. These plates were formerly referred to as “party plates” or “family plates”.
The restricted plates are mandatory on all DUI offenses except a first offense with a “low end” test result (under 0.17 on the breath test at the police station). Restricted plates become applicable in most courts once you request limited driving privileges.
Some judges and courts require the restricted plates immediately upon you becoming eligible for privileges; others require the plates only upon a plea or conviction. Consult an OVI/DUI lawyer for more information about your particular court or judge.
Restricted plates must be used on each and every vehicle the offender uses for limited driving privileges, regardless of who owns the vehicles. There are a few very limited exceptions in the law. If you plan on driving multiple vehicles with your limited driving privileges, all of the vehicles must have restricted plates. You are required to use the restricted plates for the duration of your suspension.
Technically speaking, the titled owner of the vehicle has to obtain written authorization from the court, take it to a license bureau, and trade in the regular license plates for the restricted license plates. This then enables the defendant to return to the court and obtain the driving privileges letter.
The limited driving privileges are expressly conditioned upon having the restricted plates on any vehicle you are driving. Otherwise you will be deemed under suspension and driving illegally, which will result in additional charges. This additional charge itself not only carries mandatory jail time, but your limited driving privileges will be revoked.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind about restricted plates. You do not need to have the restricted plates if you are not planning on driving. If you do get the restricted plates, be aware that anyone driving a vehicle displaying restricted plates, such as your spouse or relatives, likely will be pulled over for every trivial infraction imaginable, especially late at night and on weekends. Having restricted plates on a vehicle also will increase the likelihood of being hassled by road ragers.
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