MEDINA COUNTY, Ohio (WKBN) -The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a man did not suffer excessive fines when the court ordered the seizure of his $31,000 truck following his third drunk driving violation in 10 years.
The court said the penalty from the Medina County Municipal Court against James O’Malley, which included giving up his 2014 Chevy Silverado pickup truck, was “not grossly disproportional” to his July 2018 conviction for OVI and did not violate his Eighth Amendment right to not suffer excessive fines.
“In this case, the severity of O’Malley’s offense, driving drunk on a holiday after already having two convictions for the same conduct, cannot be minimized,” Justice Fischer wrote.
O’Malley pleaded no contest to the OVI charge, and other charges against him were dismissed. The trial court then conducted a forfeiture hearing, at which O’Malley argued the OVI law requiring third-time offenders to forfeit the vehicle involved in the offense was unconstitutional.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Michael P. Donnelly wrote the forfeiture of a $31,000 truck, which was more than 11 times the maximum fine for a misdemeanor OVI charge, is excessive, especially considering it was the only significant asset O’Malley owned.