CHAPTER 303

Enforcement, Impounding and Penalty

303.01 Compliance with lawful order of police officer; fleeing.
303.02 Traffic direction in emergencies; obedience to school guard.
303.03 Officer may remove ignition key.
303.04 Road workers, motor vehicles and equipment excepted.
303.041 Emergency, public safety and coroner?s vehicles exempt.
303.05 Application to persons riding, driving animals upon roadway.
303.06 Freeway use prohibited by pedestrians, bicycles and animals.
303.07 Application to drivers of government vehicles.
303.08 Impounding of vehicles; redemption.
303.081 Impounding vehicles on private residential agricultural property.
303.082 Private tow-away zones.
303.083 Release of vehicle; records; charges.
303.09 Leaving junk and other vehicles on private public property without
            permission or notification.
303.10 Leaving junk vehicles private property with permission of owner.
303.11 Providing false information to police officer.
303.99 General Traffic Code penalties.

CROSS REFERENCES

See sectional histories for similar State law
Disposition of unclaimed vehicles - see Ohio R.C. 737.32, 4513.62 et seq.
Citations for minor misdemeanors - see Ohio R.C. 2935.26 et seq.
Power of trial court of record to suspend or revoke license for
certain violations - see Ohio R.C. 4507.16, 4507.34
State point system suspension - see Ohio R.C. 4507.40
Uniform application of Ohio Traffic Law - see Ohio R.C. 4511.06
Marking motor vehicles used by traffic officers - see Ohio R.C. 4549.13
Distinctive uniform required for traffic officers - see Ohio R.C. 4549.15
Exceptions for emergency or public safety vehicles - see TRAF. 331.20, 333.06


303.01 COMPLIANCE WITH LAWFUL ORDER OF POLICE OFFICER; FLEEING.

(a) No person shall fail to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer invested with authority to direct, control or regulate traffic.

(b) No person shall operate a motor vehicle so as willfully to elude or flee a police officer after receiving a visible or audible signal from a police officer to bring his motor vehicle to a stop. (ORC 2921.331)


(EDITOR'S NOTE: Refer to Ohio R.C. 2921.331 for filing charges under subsection (b) hereof since the jury or judge as trier of fact may determine the violation to be a felony.)


303.02 TRAFFIC DIRECTION IN EMERGENCIES; OBEDIENCE TO SCHOOL GUARD.

(a) Police officers shall direct or regulate traffic in accordance with the provisions of this Traffic Code, provided that, in the event of fire or other emergency or to expedite traffic or safeguard pedestrians, they are authorized to direct traffic as conditions may require notwithstanding the provisions of this Traffic Code. Firemen, when at the scene of a fire, may direct or assist the police in directing traffic thereat or in the immediate vicinity. The direction of traffic may be by word or audible signal, by gesture or visible signal or by any combination thereof. No person shall fail to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer or fireman issued pursuant to this section.

(b) No person shall fail to comply with any lawful order or direction of any school crossing guard invested with authority to direct, control or regulate traffic in the vicinity of the school to which such guard may be assigned.


303.03 OFFICER MAY REMOVE IGNITION KEY.
A law enforcement officer may remove the ignition key left in the ignition switch of an unlocked and unattended motor vehicle parked on a street or highway, or any public or private property used by the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking. The officer removing such key shall place notification upon the vehicle detailing his name and badge number, the place where such key may be reclaimed and the procedure for reclaiming such key. The key shall be returned to the owner of the motor vehicle upon presentation of proof of ownership. (ORC 4549.05)


303.04 ROAD WORKERS, MOTOR VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT EXCEPTED.

The provisions of this Traffic Code do not apply to persons, teams, motor vehicles and other equipment while actually engaged in work upon the surface of a street or highway within an area designated by the traffic control devices, but apply to such persons and vehicles when traveling to or from such work.

The drivers of snow plows, traffic line stripers, road sweepers, mowing machines, tar distributing vehicles and other vehicles utilized in snow and ice removal or road surface maintenance, while engaged in work upon a street or highway, provided such vehicles are equipped with flashing lights and such other markings as are required by law, and such lights are in operation when the vehicles are so engaged shall be exempt from criminal prosecution for violations of Sections 331.01 to 331.04, inclusive, 331.06 to 331.08, inclusive, 331.31, 333.04 and Ohio R.C. 4511.66. Such exemption shall not apply to such drivers when their vehicles are not so engaged. This section shall not exempt a driver of such equipment from civil liability arising from the violation of the sections referred to herein. (ORC 4511.04)


303.041 EMERGENCY, PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORONER?S VEHICLES EXEMPT.

(a) Ohio R.C. 4511.12, 4511.13, 4511.131, 4511.132, 4511.14, 4511.15, 4511.202, 4511.21, 4511.211, 4511.22, 4511.23, 4511.25, 4511.26, 4511.27, 4511.28, 4511.29, 4511.30, 4511.31, 4511.32, 4511.33, 4511.34, 4511.35, 4511.36, 4511.37, 4511.38, 4511.39, 4511.40, 4511.41, 4511.42, 4511.43, 4511.431, 4511.432, 4511.44, 4511.441, 4511.57, 4511.58, 4511.59, 4511.60, 4511.61, 4511.62, 4511.66, 4511.68, 4511.681 and 4511.69 and all sections of this Traffic Code or other municipal ordinances that are substantially equivalent to the sections listed above, do not apply to the driver of an emergency vehicle or public safety vehicle if the emergency vehicle or public safety vehicle is responding to an emergency call, is equipped with and displaying at least one flashing, rotating or oscillating light visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of 500 feet to the front of the vehicle and if the driver of the vehicle is giving an audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle or bell. This section does not relieve the driver of an emergency vehicle or public safety vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and property upon the highway. (ORC 4511.041)

(b) Ohio R.C. 4511.25, 4511.26, 4511.27, 4511.28, 4511.29, 4511.30, 4511.31, 4511.32, 4511.33, 4511.35, 4511.36, 4511.37, 4511.38 and 4511.66, and all sections of this Traffic Code or other municipal ordinances that are substantially equivalent to the sections listed above, do not apply to a coroner, deputy coroner, or coroner?s investigator operating a motor vehicle in accordance with Ohio R.C. 4513.171. This section does not relieve a coroner, deputy coroner, or coroner?s investigator operating a motor vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons and property upon the highway. (ORC 4511.042)


303.05 APPLICATION TO PERSONS RIDING, DRIVING ANIMALS UPON ROADWAY.
Every person riding, driving or leading an animal upon a roadway shall be subject to the provisions of this Traffic Code applicable to the driver of a vehicle, except those provisions of such sections which by their nature are inapplicable. (ORC 4511.05)


303.06 FREEWAY USE PROHIBITED BY PEDESTRIANS, BICYCLES AND ANIMALS.
No person, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:

(a) As a pedestrian, occupy any space within the limits of the right-of-way of a freeway, except: in a rest area; on a facility that is separated from the roadway and shoulders of the freeway and is designed and appropriately marked for pedestrian use; in the performance of public works or official duties; as a result of an emergency caused by an accident or breakdown of a motor vehicle; or to obtain assistance;

(b) Occupy any space within the limits of the right of way of a freeway, with: an animal-drawn vehicle; a ridden or led animal; herded animals; a pushcart; a bicycle, except on a facility that is separated from the roadway and shoulders of the freeway and is designed and appropriately marked for bicycle use; a bicycle with motor attached; a motor driven cycle with a motor which produces not to exceed five brake horsepower; an agricultural tractor; farm machinery; except in the performance of public works or official duties. (ORC 4511.051)


303.07 APPLICATION TO DRIVERS OF GOVERNMENT VEHICLES.
The provisions of this Traffic Code applicable to the drivers of vehicles shall apply to the drivers of all vehicles owned or operated by the United States, any state or any political subdivision thereof, including this Municipality, except as may be otherwise provided by law and subject to such specific exceptions as are set forth with reference to authorized emergency and public safety vehicles.


303.08 IMPOUNDING OF VEHICLES; REDEMPTION.

(a) Police officers are authorized to provide for the removal of a vehicle under the following circumstances:

(1) When any vehicle is left unattended upon any street, bridge or causeway and is so illegally parked so as to constitute a hazard or obstruction to the normal movement of traffic, or so as to unreasonably interfere with street cleaning or snow removal operations.

(2) When any vehicle or "abandoned junk motor vehicle" as defined in Ohio R.C. 4513.63 is left on private property for more than seventy-two consecutive hours without the permission of the person having the right to the possession of the property, or on a public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking, or upon or within the right of way of any road or highway, for forty-eight consecutive hours or longer, without notification to the Police Chief of the reasons for leaving such vehicle in such place. Prior to disposal of an "abandoned junk motor vehicle" as defined in Ohio R.C. 4513.63, it shall be photographed by a law enforcement officer.

(3) When any vehicle has been stolen or operated without the consent of the owner and is located upon either public or private property.

(4) When any vehicle displays illegal license plates or fails to display the current lawfully required plates and is located upon any public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking.

(5) When any vehicle has been used in or connected with the commission of a felony and is located upon either public or private property.

(6) When any vehicle has been damaged or wrecked so as to be inoperable or violates equipment provisions of this Traffic Code whereby its continued operation would constitute a condition hazardous to life, limb or property, and is located upon any public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking.

(7) When any vehicle is left unattended either on public or private property due to the removal of an ill, injured or arrested operator, or due to the abandonment thereof by the operator during or immediately after pursuit by a law enforcement officer.

(8) When any vehicle has been operated by any person who has failed to stop in case of an accident or collision and is located either on public or private property.

(9) When any vehicle has been operated by any person who is driving without a lawful license or while his license has been suspended or revoked and is located upon a public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking.

(10) When any vehicle is found for which two or more citation tags for violations of this Traffic Code have been issued and the owner or operator thereof has failed to respond to such citation tags as lawfully required, and is located upon a public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking.

(b) Any vehicle removed under authority of subsection (a)(2) hereof shall be ordered into storage and/or disposed of as provided under Ohio R.C. 4513.60 et seq. Any other vehicle removed under authority of this section shall be ordered into storage and the Municipal police shall forthwith notify the registered vehicle owner of the fact of such removal and impounding, reasons therefor and the place of storage. Any person desiring to redeem an impounded vehicle shall appear at the police offices to furnish satisfactory evidence of identity and ownership or right to possession. Prior to issuance of a release form, the claimant, owner or operator shall either pay the amount due for any fines for violations on account of which such vehicle was impounded or, as the court may require, post a bond in an amount set by the court, to appear to answer to such violations. The pound operator shall release such vehicle upon the receipt of the release form and payment of all towage and storage charges.

(c) No owner or operator shall remove an impounded vehicle from the place of storage without complying with the above procedure. Possession of a vehicle which has been impounded and unlawfully taken from the place of storage, by the owner or operator, shall constitute prima-facie evidence that it was so removed by the owner or operator.


303.081 IMPOUNDING VEHICLES ON PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL OR AGRICULTURAL PROPERTY.

(a) The Chief of Police upon complaint of any person adversely affected may order into storage any motor vehicle, other than an abandoned junk motor vehicle as defined in Ohio R.C. 4513.63, that has been left on private residential or private agricultural property for at least four hours without the permission of the person having the right to the possession of the property. The Chief of Police, upon complaint of the owner of a repair garage or place of storage, may order into storage any motor vehicle, other than an abandoned junk motor vehicle, that has been left at the garage or place of storage for a longer period than that agreed upon. The place of storage shall be designated by the Chief of Police. When ordering a motor vehicle into storage pursuant to subsection (a) hereof, the Chief of Police shall, whenever possible, arrange for the removal of such motor vehicle by a private tow truck operator or towing company. Subject to Section 303.083(a), the owner of a motor vehicle that has been removed pursuant to subsection (a) hereof may recover the vehicle only in accordance with Section 303.083(c).

(b) This section does not apply to any private residential or private agricultural property that is established as a private tow-away zone in accordance with Section 303.082.

(c) As used in this section "private residential property" means private property on which is located one or more structures that are used as a home, residence or sleeping place by one or more persons, if no more than three separate households are maintained in the structure or structures. "Private residential property" does not include any private property on which is located one or more structures that are used as a home, residence or sleeping place by two or more persons, if more than three separate households are maintained in the structure or structures.

(d) Any person who registers a complaint that is the basis of a Police Chief's order for the removal and storage of a motor vehicle under this section shall provide the identity of the law enforcement agency with which the complaint was registered to any person who identifies himself as the owner or operator of the motor vehicle and requests information pertaining to its location. (ORC 4513.60)


303.082 PRIVATE TOW-AWAY ZONES.

(a) The owner of private property may establish a private tow-away zone only if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The owner posts on his property a sign, that is at least eighteen inches by twenty-four inches in size, that is visible from all entrances to the property and that contains at least all of the following information:

A. A notice that the property is a private tow-away zone and that vehicles not authorized to park on the property will be towed away;

B. The telephone number of the person from whom a towed-away vehicle can be recovered, and the address of the place to which the vehicle will be taken and the place from which it may be recovered;

C. A statement that the vehicle may be recovered at any time during the day or night upon the submission of proof of ownership and the payment of a towing charge, in an amount not to exceed seventy dollars ($70.00) and a storage charge, in an amount not to exceed eight dollars ($8.00) per twenty-four hour period; except that the charge for towing shall not exceed one hundred dollars ($100.00), and the storage charge shall not exceed twelve dollars ($12.00) per twenty-four-hour period, if the vehicle has a laden gross vehicle weight in excess of 15,000 pounds and is a truck, bus or a combination of a commercial tractor and trailer or semitrailer.

(2) The place to which the towed vehicle is taken and from which it may be recovered is conveniently located, is well lighted and is on or within a reasonable distance of a regularly scheduled route of one or more modes of public transportation, if any public transportation is available in the Municipality.

(b) If a vehicle is parked on private property that is established as a private tow-away zone in accordance with subsection (a) hereof without the consent of the owner of the property or in violation of any posted parking condition or regulation, the owner or his agent may remove, or cause the removal of the vehicle. The owner and the operator of the vehicle shall be deemed to have consented to the removal and storage of the vehicle and to the payment of the towing and storage charges specified in subsection (a) hereof, and the owner may recover a vehicle that has been so removed only in accordance with Section 303.083.

(c) If an owner of private property that is established as a private tow-away zone in accordance with subsection (a) hereof or the authorized agent of such an owner removes or causes the removal of a vehicle from that property under authority of subsection (b) hereof, the owner or agent promptly shall notify the police offices of the removal, the vehicle's license number, make, model and color, the location from which it was removed, the date and time of its removal, the telephone number of the person from whom it may be recovered, and the address of the place to which it has been taken and from which it may be recovered.

(d) No owner of private property shall remove, or shall cause the removal and storage of, any vehicle pursuant to this section by a tow truck or tow truck operator in violation of any other municipal ordinance regulating such truck or operator.

(e) This section does not affect or limit the operation of Section 303.081 or Ohio R.C. 4513.61 to 4513.65 as they relate to property other than private property that is established as a private tow-away zone under this section.

(f) No person shall remove or cause the removal of any vehicle from private property that is established as a private tow-away zone under this section other than in accordance with subsection (b) hereof. (ORC 4513.60)


303.083 RELEASE OF VEHICLE; RECORDS; CHARGES.

(a) Release Prior to Removal. If the owner or operator of a motor vehicle that has been ordered into storage pursuant to Section 303.081 or of a vehicle that is being removed under authority of Section 303.082 arrives after the motor vehicle or vehicle has been prepared for removal but prior to its actual removal from the property, the owner or operator shall be given the opportunity to pay a fee of not more than one-half of the charge for the removal of motor vehicles under Section 303.081 or of vehicles under Section 303.082 whichever is applicable, that normally is assessed by the person who has prepared the motor vehicle or vehicle for removal, in order to obtain release of the motor vehicle or vehicle. Upon payment of that fee, the motor vehicle or vehicle shall be released to the owner or operator, and upon its release, the owner or operator immediately shall move it so that:

(1) If the motor vehicle was ordered into storage pursuant to Section 303.081, it is not on the private residential or private agricultural property without the permission of the person having the right to possession of the property, or is not at the garage or place of storage without the permission of the owner, whichever is applicable;

(2) If the vehicle was being removed under authority of Section 303.082, it is not parked on the private property established as a private tow-away zone without the consent of the owner or in violation of any posted parking condition or regulation.

(b) Records. The Chief of Police shall maintain a record of motor vehicles that he orders into storage pursuant to Section 303.081 and of vehicles removed from private property in his jurisdiction that is established as a private tow-away zone of which he has received notice under Section 303.082. The record shall include an entry for each such motor vehicle or vehicle that identifies the motor vehicle's or vehicle's license number, make, model and color, the location from which it was removed, the date and time of its removal, the telephone number of the person from whom it may be recovered, and the address of the place to which it has been taken and from which it may be recovered. Any information in the record that pertains to a particular motor vehicle or vehicle shall be provided to any person who, either in person or pursuant to a telephone call, identifies himself as the owner or operator of the motor vehicle or vehicle and requests information pertaining to its location.

(c) Removal and Storage Charges. The owner of a motor vehicle that is ordered into storage pursuant to Section 303.081 or of a vehicle that is removed under authority of Section 303.082 may reclaim it upon payment of any expenses or charges incurred in its removal, in an amount not to exceed seventy dollars ($70.00), and storage, in an amount not to exceed eight dollars ($8.00) per twenty-four hour period; except that the charge for towing shall not exceed one hundred dollars ($100.00), and the storage charge shall not exceed twelve dollars ($12.00) per twenty-four-hour period, if the vehicle has a laden gross vehicle weight in excess of 15,000 pounds and is a truck, bus or a combination of a commercial tractor and trailer or semitrailer. Presentation of proof of ownership, which may be evidenced by a certificate of title to the motor vehicle or vehicle shall also be required for reclamation of the vehicle. If a motor vehicle that is ordered into storage pursuant to Section 303.081 remains unclaimed by the owner for thirty days, the procedures established by Ohio R.C. 4513.61 and 4513.62 shall apply. (ORC 4513.60)


303.09 LEAVING JUNK AND OTHER VEHICLES ON PRIVATE OR PUBLIC PROPERTY WITHOUT PERMISSION OR NOTIFICATION.

No person shall willfully leave any vehicle or an "abandoned junk motor vehicle" as defined in Ohio R.C. 4513.63 on private property for more than seventy-two consecutive hours without the permission of the person having the right to the possession of the property or on a public street or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking, or upon or within the right of way of any road or highway, for forty-eight consecutive hours or longer, without notification to the Police Chief of the reasons for leaving the vehicle in such place.

For purposes of this section, the fact that a vehicle has been so left without permission or notification is prima-facie evidence of abandonment. Nothing contained in this section shall invalidate the provisions of other ordinances regulating or prohibiting the abandonment of motor vehicles on streets, highways, public property or private property within the Municipality. (ORC 4513.64)


303.10 LEAVING JUNK VEHICLES ON PRIVATE PROPERTY WITH PERMISSION OF OWNER.

For the purposes of this section, "junk motor vehicle" means any motor vehicle meeting the requirements of Ohio R.C. 4513.63(B) to (E) that is left uncovered in the open on private property for more than seventy-two hours with the permission of the person having the right to the possession of the property, except if the person is operating a junk yard or scrap metal processing facility licensed under authority of Ohio R.C. 4737.05 to 4737.12; or regulated under authority of the Municipality; or if the property on which the motor vehicle is left is not subject to licensure or regulation by any governmental authority, unless the person having the right to the possession of the property can establish that the motor vehicle is part of a bona fide commercial operation, or if the motor vehicle is a collector's vehicle.

Persons may store or keep by unrestricted method any collector's vehicle as defined in Ohio R.C. 4501.01(F) on private property with the permission of the person having the right to the possession of the property; except that such person having such permission shall conceal, by means of buildings, fences, vegetation, terrain or other suitable obstruction, any unlicensed collector's vehicle stored in the open.


Council, Board of Township Trustees, the Chief of Police or the Municipal or Township Zoning Authority, may send notice by certified mail with return receipt requested, to the person having the right to the possession of the property on which a junk motor vehicle is left, that within ten days of receipt of the notice, the junk motor vehicle either shall be covered by being housed in a garage or other suitable structure or shall be removed from the property.


No person shall willfully leave a junk motor vehicle uncovered in the open for more than ten days after receipt of a notice as provided in this section. The fact that a junk motor vehicle is so left is prima-facie evidence of willful failure to comply with the notice. Each subsequent period of thirty days that a junk motor vehicle continues to be so left constitutes a separate offense. (ORC 4513.65)


303.11 PROVIDING FALSE INFORMATION TO POLICE OFFICER.
No person shall knowingly present, display or orally communicate a false name, social security number or date of birth to a law enforcement officer who is in the process of issuing to the person a traffic ticket or complaint. (ORC 4513.361)


303.99 GENERAL TRAFFIC CODE PENALTIES.

(a) Misdemeanor Classifications.

(1) General classification. Whoever violates any provision of this Traffic Code, for which no other penalty is provided, is guilty of one of the following:

A. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection (a)(1) hereof, a minor misdemeanor;

B. If, within one year of the offense, the offender has been previously convicted of or pleaded guilty to one violation of this Traffic Code for which no other penalty is provided or of any provision of the Ohio Revised Code or of a municipal ordinance that is substantially similar to any such provision of this Traffic Code, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree;

C. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more violations of any provision described in subsection (a)(1)B. hereof, a misdemeanor of the third degree. (ORC 4511.99)

(2) Compliance with order of police officer; fleeing. Whoever violates Section 303.01 is guilty of failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer. A violation of Section 303.01(a) is a misdemeanor of the first degree. A violation of Section 303.01(b) is a misdemeanor of the first degree, unless the jury or judge as trier of fact finds any one of the following by proof beyond a reasonable doubt:

A. In committing the offense, the offender was fleeing immediately after the commission of a felony;

B. The operation of the motor vehicle by the offender was a proximate cause of serious physical harm to persons or property;

C. The operation of the motor vehicle by the offender caused a substantial risk of serious physical harm to persons or property. (ORC 2921.331)

(3) Junk motor vehicles. Whoever violates Section 303.09 is guilty of a minor misdemeanor, and shall also be assessed any costs incurred by the Municipality in disposing of such junk motor vehicle, less any money accruing to the Municipality from such disposal.

(4) Providing false information. Whoever violates Section 303.11 is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(ORC 4513.99)

(b) Penalties. Whoever is convicted of or pleads guilty to a violation of this Traffic Code shall be imprisoned for a definite term or fined, or both, which term of imprisonment and fine shall be fixed by the court as provided in this section.


Classification of     Maximum Term           Maximum
  Misdemeanor        of Imprisonment           Fine    
First degree            6 months            $1,000.00
Second degree            90 days               750.00
Third degree             60 days               500.00
Fourth degree            30 days               250.00
Minor                No imprisonment           100.00
(ORC 2929.21)


(c) Construction Zone Violations. Notwithstanding subsection (b) hereof, upon a finding that any person referred to in subsection (a)(1) hereof or Section 333.99(a) has operated a motor vehicle in violation of this Traffic Code, in a construction zone where a sign was then lawfully posted, the court, in addition to all other penalties provided by law, shall impose a fine of two times the usual amount imposed for the violation. No court shall impose a fine of two times the usual amount imposed for the violation upon an offender who alleges, in an affidavit filed with the court prior to his sentencing, that the offender is indigent and is unable to pay the fine imposed pursuant to this subsection, provided the court determines the offender is an indigent person and is unable to pay the fine. (ORC 4511.99)


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