Welcome to FindLaw's Cases & Codes, a free source of state and federal court opinions, state laws, and the United States Code. For more information about the legal concepts addressed by these cases and statutes, visit FindLaw's Learn About the Law.
(A)(1) As provided in sections 5531.144 and 5531.145 of the Revised Code, a toll project operator may file a civil suit against a registered owner in the municipal court or county court having jurisdiction over the location of the toll project. The toll project operator also shall file all related documentation and information described in section 5531.143 of the Revised Code with the clerk of the municipal court or county court.
Except as otherwise provided in division (A)(2) of this section, the toll project operator shall not file such a suit earlier than thirty-five days after the date of mailing of a late notice to the registered owner.
(2) In a circumstance in which a registered owner is liable for multiple user fees and any associated administrative fees involving one or more motor vehicles, the toll project operator may file a civil suit addressing all such user fees and administrative fees; provided, no such suit shall include fees incurred more than one hundred twenty-five days prior to the date of filing of such suit.
(3) The clerk of the municipal court or county court shall execute a summons regarding a suit filed under division (A)(1) of this section by sending a copy of the summons in accordance with the rules of civil procedure to the address of the registered owner of the vehicle as shown in the records of the bureau of motor vehicles, as identified and provided by a motor vehicle leasing dealer or motor vehicle renting dealer, or as shown in the records of the department, division, bureau, office, or other unit of government of any other state or jurisdiction that is functionally equivalent to the bureau of motor vehicles. The issuance of such a summons constitutes sufficient notice to the registered owner.
The summons shall compel the appearance of the registered owner to appear in the municipal court or county court, and shall include notice of the time and place of the trial as well as the potential civil penalty and any associated costs. The summons also shall include a statement that the registered owner's motor vehicle utilized a toll project and therefore the registered owner incurred liability for payment of the applicable user fee as provided in division (A) of section 5531.144 of the Revised Code and also shall list the Revised Code citation for that section. The summons constitutes sufficient notice to the registered owner that the vehicle was used on a toll project and, as a result, the registered owner is liable for payment of the user fee.
(B) Proof that a motor vehicle utilized a toll project and therefore the registered owner of the motor vehicle is liable for payment of the applicable user fee shall be evidenced by either or both of the following:
(1) Information and documentation obtained from an electronic-monitoring system or electronic toll collection system;
(2) A certificate confirming the identification of the vehicle issued by a toll project operator that is based on an inspection of photographs, microphotographs, videotapes, other recorded images or identifying data produced by an electronic-monitoring system, or through electronic data collected by an electronic toll collection system.
The certificate and the documentation attached thereto are prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein. The court shall ensure that the certificate and any photographs, microphotographs, videotapes, or other recorded images or electronic data evidencing liability for payment of the applicable user fee are available for inspection in any proceeding to adjudicate the liability for payment of the user fee.
(C)(1) A registered owner is not liable for a user fee and it is a complete defense to a cause of action asserting such liability if within thirty-five days after the mailing of the invoice, late notice, or a summons, the registered owner of the motor vehicle produces for the toll project operator or the court a certified copy of a report of a law enforcement agency showing both of the following:
(a) The motor vehicle had been reported stolen prior to the time that the motor vehicle utilized the toll project.
(b) The motor vehicle had remained stolen at the time of the alleged violation.
(2) The court shall dismiss the case against a registered owner when divisions (C)(1)(a) and (b) apply.
(D) The toll project operator may offer to the registered owner the option to pay the unpaid user fee and any administrative fee, as specified in the summons, plus a reduced civil penalty, provided that the registered owner actually pays to the toll project operator the entire amount so calculated not less than fourteen days prior to the scheduled trial date. The toll project operator shall establish a schedule for reduced civil penalties that are offered to registered owners pursuant to this division, and the toll project operator shall adhere to the schedule when making such offers. The toll project operator may revise the schedule from time to time as the toll project operator determines necessary.
If the registered owner accepts the offer and the toll project operator receives the entire amount not less than fourteen days prior to the scheduled trial date, the toll project operator shall move the court, not less than five business days prior to the trial date, to dismiss the summons issued to the registered owner. Upon such a motion, the court shall dismiss the summons and dismiss the case.
(E)(1) Upon a finding by the municipal court or county court that the registered owner is liable for payment of the user fee as provided in division (A) of section 5531.144 of the Revised Code, the court shall order the registered owner to pay all applicable court costs, user fees due, and administrative fees. The court also shall impose a civil penalty upon the registered owner, as follows:
(a) For a first instance, as shown in the records of the toll project operator, in which the registered owner was liable for payment of a user fee and the registered owner did not pay the user fee and did not submit a timely notice to contest the user fee and the toll project operator sent both an invoice and a late notice to the registered owner, seventy-five dollars;
(b) For a second instance as described in division (E)(1)(a) of this section within one year of a first such instance, one hundred fifty dollars;
(c) For a third instance as described in division (E)(1)(a) of this section within two years of a second such instance, two hundred fifty dollars;
(d) For a fourth or subsequent instance as described in division (E)(1)(a) of this section within three years of a third such instance, five hundred dollars.
(2) The clerk of the municipal court or county court shall pay all user fees, administrative fees, and penalties the court assesses and collects under this section to the department of transportation for deposit into the state treasury to the credit of the highway operating fund or for payment by the department in accordance with a public-private agreement pursuant to sections 5501.70 to 5501.83 of the Revised Code.
(F)(1) Upon a finding by a court that the registered owner is liable for payment of a user fee as provided in division (A) of section 5531.144 of the Revised Code, the court shall issue a motor vehicle certificate of registration issuance prevention order. The order shall remain in effect until the court has notified the registrar that all unpaid user fees, administrative fees, and civil penalties have been paid in full and the court has issued a new order rescinding its previous order. The registrar and all deputy registrars shall comply with the order.
(2) If the registered owner resides in another state or jurisdiction, the court shall issue a motor vehicle certificate of registration issuance prevention order and send a copy of the order to the department, division, bureau, office, or other unit of government of another state or jurisdiction that is functionally equivalent to the bureau of motor vehicles for enforcement in that other state or jurisdiction. The order shall have the same effect in another state or jurisdiction as in this state.
(G)(1) A civil penalty imposed pursuant to this section shall not be made part of the driving record of the person upon whom such civil penalty is imposed, nor shall it be considered in any manner for insurance purposes in the provision of motor vehicle insurance coverage.
(2) No person shall be subject to both this section and to criminal prosecution under any provision of the Revised Code or any rule adopted thereunder for nonpayment of user fees or related administrative fees.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Ohio Revised Code Title LV. Roads Highways Bridges § 5531.146 - last updated January 01, 2020 | https://codes.findlaw.com/oh/title-lv-roads-highways-bridges/oh-rev-code-sect-5531-146.html
FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.
Was this helpful?