Ohio now lists “habitual offenders” with 5 or more DUI (OVI) arrests on a public state database. Is the purpose of this to warn the public, create a shaming disincentive, or simple keep the flow of public information?
The fact is, it is unfair to compare very old drunk driving charges to more recent ones. Old drunk driving arrests were treated differently. In many cases the person plead guilty, paid a fine, and that was that. Especially before the social stigma of drunk driving took hold, and MADD become a strong national organization, drunk driving was not considered a huge problem. Yet now, decades old convictions carry the same weight as current ones, for penalty purposes, ignition interlock device requirements, and online public records.
In any case, that the genie is out of the bottom on public records on the internet. Whether states release the data themselves as Ohio is doing, and Connecticut also does is a minor point. The information is considered public data, and is available to anyone who knows where to find it.
Data aggregators advertise background checks on tv, and sell this information online cheaply. Online background checks are now a booming business.
But this reality has real consequences for people who’ve made a mistake, that is suddenly much harder to live down then they may have ever realized.
Ohio OVI Laws