4511.203 Wrongful entrustment of motor vehicle.

(A) No person shall permit a motor vehicle owned by the person or under the person's control to be driven by another if any of the following apply:

(1) The offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person does not have a valid driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or valid nonresident driving privileges.

(2) The offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person's driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or nonresident operating privileges have been suspended or canceled under Chapter 4510. or any other provision of the Revised Code.

(3) The offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person's act of driving the motor vehicle would violate any prohibition contained in Chapter 4509. of the Revised Code.

(4) The offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person's act of driving would violate section 4511.19 of the Revised Code or any substantially equivalent municipal ordinance.

(5) The offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the vehicle is the subject of an immobilization waiver order issued under section 4503.235 of the Revised Code and the other person is prohibited from operating the vehicle under that order.

(B) Without limiting or precluding the consideration of any other evidence in determining whether a violation of division (A)(1), (2), (3), (4), or (5) of this section has occurred, it shall be prima-facie evidence that the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the operator of the motor vehicle owned by the offender or under the offender's control is in a category described in division (A)(1), (2), (3), (4), or (5) of this section if any of the following applies:

(1) Regarding an operator allegedly in the category described in division (A)(1), (3), or (5) of this section, the offender and the operator of the motor vehicle reside in the same household and are related by consanguinity or affinity.

(2) Regarding an operator allegedly in the category described in division (A)(2) of this section, the offender and the operator of the motor vehicle reside in the same household, and the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the operator has been charged with or convicted of any violation of law or ordinance, or has committed any other act or omission, that would or could result in the suspension or cancellation of the operator's license, permit, or privilege.

(3) Regarding an operator allegedly in the category described in division (A)(4) of this section, the offender and the operator of the motor vehicle occupied the motor vehicle together at the time of the offense.

(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of wrongful entrustment of a motor vehicle and shall be punished as provided in divisions (C) to (H) of this section.

(1) Except as provided in division (C)(2) of this section, whoever violates division (A)(1), (2), or (3) of this section is guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor. When the offense is an unclassified misdemeanor, the offender shall be sentenced pursuant to sections 2929.21 to 2929.28 of the Revised Code, except that the offender shall not be sentenced to a jail term; the offender shall not be sentenced to a community residential sanction pursuant to section 2929.26 of the Revised Code; notwithstanding division (A)(2)(a) of section 2929.28 of the Revised Code, the offender may be fined up to one thousand dollars; and, notwithstanding division (A)(3) of section 2929.27 of the Revised Code, the offender may be ordered pursuant to division (C) of that section to serve a term of community service of up to five hundred hours. The failure of an offender to complete a term of community service imposed by the court may be punished as indirect criminal contempt under division (A) of section 2705.02 of the Revised Code that may be filed in the underlying case.

(2)

(a) If, within three years of a violation of division (A)(1), (2), or (3) of this section, the offender previously has pleaded guilty to or been convicted of two or more violations of division (A)(1), (2), or (3) of this section or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, the offender is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(b) Whoever violates division (A)(4) or (5) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(3) For any violation of this section, in addition to the penalties imposed under Chapter 2929. of the Revised Code, the court may impose a class seven suspension of the offender's driver's license, commercial driver's license, temporary instruction permit, probationary license, or nonresident operating privilege from the range specified in division (A)(7) of section 4510.02 of the Revised Code, and, if the vehicle involved in the offense is registered in the name of the offender, the court may order one of the following:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in division (C) (3)(b) or (c) of this section, the court may order, for thirty days, the immobilization of the vehicle involved in the offense and the impoundment of that vehicle's license plates. If issued, the order shall be issued and enforced under section 4503.233 of the Revised Code.

(b) If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one violation of this section or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, the court may order, for sixty days, the immobilization of the vehicle involved in the offense and the impoundment of that vehicle's license plates. If issued, the order shall be issued and enforced under section 4503.233 of the Revised Code.

(c) If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more violations of this section or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, the court may order the criminal forfeiture to the state of the vehicle involved in the offense. If issued, the order shall be issued and enforced under section 4503.234 of the Revised Code.

If title to a motor vehicle that is subject to an order for criminal forfeiture under division (C)(3)(c) of this section is assigned or transferred and division (B)(2) or (3) of section 4503.234 of the Revised Code applies, in addition to or independent of any other penalty established by law, the court may fine the offender the value of the vehicle as determined by publications of the national automobile dealers association. The proceeds from any fine imposed under this division shall be distributed in accordance with division (C)(2) of section 4503.234 of the Revised Code.

(D) If a court orders the immobilization of a vehicle under division (C)(3)(a) or (b) of this section, the court shall not release the vehicle from the immobilization before the termination of the period of immobilization ordered unless the court is presented with current proof of financial responsibility with respect to that vehicle.

(E) If a court orders the criminal forfeiture of a vehicle under division (C)(3)(c) of this section, upon receipt of the order from the court, neither the registrar of motor vehicles nor any deputy registrar shall accept any application for the registration or transfer of registration of any motor vehicle owned or leased by the person named in the order. The period of denial shall be five years after the date the order is issued, unless, during that five-year period, the court with jurisdiction of the offense that resulted in the order terminates the forfeiture and notifies the registrar of the termination. If the court terminates the forfeiture and notifies the registrar, the registrar shall take all necessary measures to permit the person to register a vehicle owned or leased by the person or to transfer the registration of the vehicle.

(F) This section does not apply to motor vehicle rental dealers or motor vehicle leasing dealers, as defined in section 4549.65 of the Revised Code.

(G) Evidence of a conviction of, plea of guilty to, or adjudication as a delinquent child for a violation of this section or a substantially similar municipal ordinance shall not be admissible as evidence in any civil action that involves the offender or delinquent child who is the subject of the conviction, plea, or adjudication and that arises from the wrongful entrustment of a motor vehicle.

(H) For purposes of this section, a vehicle is owned by a person if, at the time of a violation of this section, the vehicle is registered in the person's name.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.25, HB 5, §1, eff. 9/23/2011.

Effective Date: 01-01-2004; 2008 SB17 09-30-2008