Are Ohio’s “Party Plates” Finally Going Out of Style?

In the cited’s article, “Judges Assigning Fewer Party Plates in Ohio”, author Cornelius Frolik, reports the decrease in use of designated license plates for drunk drivers. Ohio is one of few states that can require people convicted of drunk driving or, OVI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated), to replace their license plates with a special colored plate that indicates to authorities and other drivers that they have a history of drunk driving. These special plates are nicknamed “Party Plates”. Those who oppose the plates feel it is an unfair punishment as other criminals convicted of far worse crimes are not required to advertise their crime on a daily basis. According to Mr. Frolik, the data from Ohio’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles shows that the amount of transactions from 2019 were down by 14% compared to 2018. These transactions are related to the “Party Plate” issuances, renewals, transfers, and replacement. We can only speculate as to why these numbers are dropping. It could be that there are less drunk driver repeat offenders, or that judges are opting for other forms of punishment that do not publicly shame the convicted. The alternative is that people, through the assistance of their attorney can negotiate a plea deal that would allow the guilty party some choice in their sentencing.