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(a) Whoever violates any provision of this Traffic Code for which no penalty otherwise is provided in the section violated is guilty of one of the following:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in division (a)(2) or (a)(3) of this section, a minor misdemeanor;
(2) If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree;
(3) If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, a misdemeanor of the third degree.
(R.C. § 4511.99)
(b) Violations committed while distracted.
(1) As used in this section and each section referenced in division (b)(2) of this section, all of the following apply:
A. “Distracted” means doing either of the following while operating a vehicle:
1. Using a handheld electronic wireless communications device, as defined in R.C. § 4511.204, except when utilizing any of the following:
a. The device’s speakerphone function;
b. A wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances;
c. A “voice-operated or hands-free” device that allows the person to use the electronic wireless communications device without the use of either hand except to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function;
d. Any device that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.
2. Engaging in any activity that is not necessary to the operation of a vehicle and impairs, or reasonably would be expected to impair, the ability of the operator to drive the vehicle safely.
B. “Distracted” does not include operating a motor vehicle while wearing an earphone or earplug over or in both ears at the same time. A person who so wears earphones or earplugs may be charged with a violation of R.C. § 4511.84, or any substantially equivalent municipal ordinance.
C. “Distracted” does not include conducting any activity while operating a utility service vehicle or a vehicle for or on behalf of a utility, provided that the driver of the vehicle is acting in response to an emergency, power outage, or a circumstance affecting the health or safety of individuals. As used in this division (b)(1)C.:
1. “Utility” means an entity specified in R.C. § 4905.03(A), (C), (D), (E), or (G).
2. “Utility service vehicle” means a vehicle owned or operated by a utility.
(2) If an offender violates R.C. § 4511.03, 4511.051, 4511.12, 4511.121, 4511.132, 4511.21, 4511.211, 4511.213, 4511.22, 4511.23, 4511.25, 4511.26, 4511.27, 4511.28, 4511.29, 4511.30, 4511.31, 4511.32, 4511.33, 4511.34, 4511.35, 4511.36, 4511.37, 4511.38, 4511.39, 4511.40, 4511.41, 4511.42, 4511.43, 4511.431, 4511.44, 4511.441, 4511.451, 4511.46, 4511.47, 4511.54, 4511.55, 4511.57, 4511.58, 4511.59, 4511.60, 4511.61, 4511.64, 4511.71, 4511.711, 4511.712, 4511.713, 4511.72, or 4511.73, or any substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, while distracted and the distracting activity is a contributing factor to the commission of the violation, the offender is subject to the applicable penalty for the violation and, notwithstanding R.C. § 2929.28, is subject to an additional fine of not more than $100 as follows:
A. 1. Subject to Traffic Rule 13, if a law enforcement officer issues an offender a ticket, citation, or summons for a violation of any of the aforementioned sections of the Ohio Revised Code, or any substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, that indicates that the offender was distracted while committing the violation and that the distracting activity was a contributing factor to the commission of the violation, the offender may enter a written plea of guilty and waive the offender’s right to contest the ticket, citation, or summons in a trial provided that the offender pays the total amount of the fine established for the violation and pays the additional fine of $100.
2. In lieu of payment of the additional fine of $100, the offender instead may elect to attend a distracted driving safety course, the duration and contents of which shall be established by the Ohio Director of Public Safety. If the offender attends and successfully completes the course, the offender shall be issued written evidence that the offender successfully completed the course. The offender shall be required to pay the total amount of the fine established for the violation, but shall not be required to pay the additional fine of $100, so long as the offender submits to the court both the offender’s payment in full and such written evidence.
B. 1. If the offender appears in person to contest the ticket, citation, or summons in a trial and the offender pleads guilty to or is convicted of the violation, the court, in addition to all other penalties provided by law, may impose the applicable penalty for the violation and may impose the additional fine of not more than $100.
2. If the court imposes upon the offender the applicable penalty for the violation and an additional fine of not more than $100, the court shall inform the offender that, in lieu of payment of the additional fine of not more than $100, the offender instead may elect to attend the distracted driving safety course described in division (b)(2)A. of this section. If the offender elects the course option and attends and successfully completes the course, the offender shall be issued written evidence that the offender successfully completed the course. The offender shall be required to pay the total amount of the fine established for the violation, but shall not be required to pay the additional fine of not more than $100, so long as the offender submits to the court the offender’s payment and such written evidence.
(R.C. § 4511.991)
(1) A clerk or deputy clerk of the Mayor's Court is hereby authorized and empowered to enter a plea in behalf of any individual who has been charged with any violation of the Traffic Code and may confess judgment against the person as provided in this section.
(2) Any person charged with a violation of the Traffic Code may authorize a clerk or deputy clerk of the Mayor's Court to enter a plea to such charge by signing an authorization. A person so charged may also authorize the clerk or deputy clerk of Mayor's Court to confess judgment against him or her in an amount not to exceed the amount contained in the authorization.
(3) The Mayor shall take such authorizations and confessions of judgment at the next session of Mayor's Court following the signing of such authorization and shall keep an accounting of such charge or charges, confession of judgment and authorizations to enter plea.