MOUNT VERNON — In the spring of 2009, the Ohio General assembly enacted H.B. 2 which included changes in licensing requirements for all terrain vehicles and where they can be used. The changes went into effect July 1, 2009.
ATVs are now required to show both a license plate and a validated sticker.
“Up to now ATVs had a sticker in the shape of Ohio,” said Ohio BMV spokesperson Lindsey Bohrer. “Now they will need to display a license plate and the sticker. But people don’t need to run out and get new plates. The sticker is good until it expires. Then they will have to get the plates. And, the plates are still good for 3 years.”
ATV operators will pay higher registration fees, but on-farm ATVs used as a farm implement will be exempt from registration. The registration fee has been increased from $5 to $31.25.
The law also increases fine for trespassing on both state and private property. The enforcement of this falls largely to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
“We have law enforcement officers in ODNR,” said Heidi Hutzel-Evans spokesperson for ODNR. “These officers can uphold the laws and criminal trespassing is one of those laws they would uphold. In local situations they would work with the local sheriff’s office. While we do provide trails for responsible use of ATVs, there are areas, sometimes fragile areas, which are unfortunately trespassed on by ATV vehicles. In those areas they are prohibited.
“The increase in fines helps keep that element out of those areas. But the ODNR does have trails where ATVs are welcome and we hope the public continues to use them.”
Criminal trespass is a fourth degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $250 and jail time of up to 30 days. Additionally, the new penalties specify that when a person commits criminal trespass using an ATV, a court must double the fine. A person convicted three times of criminal trespass using an ATV, will have his or her registration and license plate impounded by the court for at least 60 days.
Hutzel-Evans noted that the use of a large, easy to see license plate would certainly aid in the identification of ATVs that might be involved in a criminal trespass.