Go to jail for warming up your car?

Published 02/20/15 by Jason Barr

warming car

It’s a little cold outside, am I right? Subzero temperatures are rough enough, and now a ticket for warming up your car to go with it. This will not make your day very pleasant.

This is a very real possibility. In Ohio, it is against the law to start your car and leave it running with the vehicle being unattended. This means you cannot start your car to warm it up then wait inside the warmth of your home or office.

If you do, you may receive a misdemeanor ticket and find yourself requiring the services of a Columbus Criminal Defense Lawyer .

In addition to it being illegal to warm up your car while you are not next to or in it, you are also violating Ohio law if you fail to set your parking brake when parked, or if you fail to turn your wheels towards the curb while parked on a grade. Though these rules seem unbelievable, they are listed on the books in Section 4511.661 of the Ohio Revised Code which reads:

“No person …in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the ignition, effectively setting the parking brake, and when the vehicle is upon any grade, turning the front wheels to the curb…”

A first violation of this law is only a minor misdemeanor. Though not punishable by jail time, it is punishable by a fine of up to $100 and possible court costs. However, a second violation within one year is considered a 4th degree misdemeanor and a third violation within one year is a 3rd degree misdemeanor. Believe it or not, both a 4th and 3rd degree misdemeanor are punishable by jail. This means that in Ohio, it is possible to go to jail for warming up your car on a cold morning!

On these cold mornings, how many layers of clothing to wear is not the only decision that you have to make in the morning. You must also decide to either warm up your car from the warmth of your home and risk being charged with a crime, or follow the rule of law and risk frostbite while you sit in your freezing vehicle waiting on it to warm up. If you feel this law is unreasonable, contact your local State representative and request the it be removed from the Ohio Revised Code.

For more questions and concerns on this case, we have the experienced lawyers at Barr, Jones & Associates LLP Law Firm.