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Ohio’s 'Party Plates'

Your Youngstown OVI lawyer will be quick to remind you that Ohio requires certain drivers who have been granted the privilege of limited driving after a DUI to replace their regular license plates with yellow OVI plates. Commonly known as “party plates,” they are bright yellow and have red lettering. Their official name is “restricted license plates.” If you are required to have party plates, you will have to pay for them and install them yourself. Depending on your charges, the plates may be optional. For some charges, including any DUI past the first, they are mandatory.

Regardless of whose name the automobile you will be driving is in, the party plates must be installed on it during your period of limited driving privileges. The only exception to this is a work vehicle. In this case, your employer must be aware that your driving privileges are limited.

You are not allowed to replace the party plates until you have served your entire period of limited driving. You might have the plates for months or years, depending on the circumstances of your case.

When are party plates required?

In some situations, restricted license plates are optional, but in others, they are mandatory.

  • 1st Offense OVI/DUI – optional
  • 1st Offense with a high BAC – mandatory
  • 2nd Offense or more in a ten-year period – mandatory
  • 4th Offense or more in a twenty-year period – mandatory

Party plates may be a condition of limited driving privileges. If they are, there is an application you must fill out called an “application for registration of a motor vehicle with restricted plates.” This application must be approved by the judge, a magistrate, or another official of the court. After the application has been approved, you take to your local BMV office, give them your old plates, and buy the new, restricted plates. If the plates are not on your car, your limited driving privileges are not valid.

What can I do to keep from being forced to have party plates?

Some people are not bothered by the yellow and red plates, but for others, it’s the worst part of a DUI/OVI conviction.

If you hate the idea of party plates on your car, you can contest the DUI charge and plead not guilty. This is not a move you should make on your own, however. DUI/OVI laws are complex and change frequently, and it takes an attorney with regular training in every aspect of DUI/OVI law, from roadblocks to field sobriety tests to the court process to maneuver the justice system effectively. Only a lawyer experienced in DUI/OVI defense will be able to productively guide you through the trial process and get you the results you want.

Though Ohio judges have had party plates in their arsenal since 1967, it has only been since 2004 that their use became mandatory.

Driving a vehicle with bright yellow and red plates draws attention. It can be embarrassing and anxiety-inducing. Other drivers know you’ve had a DUI conviction. Your boss will hear about it from your colleagues, if he doesn’t see it himself when you pull into the parking lot. You could lose out on a promotion, or even on keeping your job altogether. Your neighbors will see the plates and know you have a criminal charge. And, it could cause law enforcement to look at you and your car more carefully.

If you are facing a license suspension and wish to be able to drive yourself to work or school, or if you want to fight the party plate requirement, contact a Youngstown OVI lawyer like Sean Logue. Sean has the qualities you need in an attorney. He’s dedicated, aggressive, and incredibly knowledgeable about OVI law. He’s available all day, every day to discuss your case, and offers a flat fee and payment plans. 1-844-PITT-DUI

If you are interested in discovering more about OVI law in Ohio, as well as restricted license plates, see the Ohio Revised Code, Title 45, Chapter 4511.19.

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