Driving Vehicle In The Rain

Did you know that you can be found responsible for violating the law even when you’re literally “out of control”?

Ohio statute 4511.202 states that:

(A) No person shall operate a motor vehicle… on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic without being in reasonable control of the vehicle…

(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of operating a motor vehicle … without being in control of it, a minor misdemeanor.

What’s a “failure to control” situation?

You might be cited for “failure to control” if you’re observed:

  • Skidding
  • Swerving
  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Running off the road

You also might be cited if you’re involved in an accident or discovered on a median, in a ditch, or in some other location that suggests that you lost control of your vehicle.

How “failure to control” accidents happen

You can be cited for “failure to control” even if you lost control for reasons that you consider reasonable.

For example, it’s not a defense if you skidded, swerved, or drove off the road because of:

  • Rain, wind, or fog impairing visibility
  • Rain, ice, or snow on the roadway
  • An uneven road surface
  • An animal that ran out in front of you


The punishment for the offense of “failure to control” is a fine of up to $150. However, that’s not all you have to worry about. Other consequences include:

Points on your driver’s license. A failure to control citation will earn you two points on your driving record in Ohio. If you rack up over 12 points, your driving privileges will be automatically suspended for six months. Thus, if you already have 10 points on your record it’s especially important to fight a “failure to control” ticket.

Higher insurance rates. Traffic violation and points on your driving record will often cause your vehicle insurance rates to go up.

Getting sued. If the situation that led to your “failure to control” citation lead to an accident, someone else was injured, and/or you caused property damage, the fact that you got the “failure to control” ticket can be used against you in court. This can greatly increase the risk that you’ll be found responsible for the accident, and thus that you might need to pay damages over and above what’s covered by your auto insurance.


With so much at stake, you may wish to retain a Columbus lawyer with experience with “failure to control” defense.

Of course, the available defenses will depend on the specific circumstances in which you were ticketed. Following are some possibilities:

You actually were in control. If you didn’t leave the roadway or cause an accident, then whether you actually “lost control” is subject to argument.

An emergency situation caused you to lose control. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that a driver should not be cited for failure to control if it was caused by a sudden emergency situation. For example, if another driver is heading for you in your lane, obviously you may need to drive off the road in order to avoid an accident.

However, as noted above, dangerous road conditions aren’t considered “emergency” situations. Drivers are expected to be aware of such conditions and adjust to them – or even to stop driving if it becomes too dangerous — to avoid losing control.

You weren’t at fault for a collision. Perhaps the ticketing officer didn’t actually see you allegedly lose control, but assumed you must have because you ended up colliding with another car. If the collision is the only evidence of “loss of control,” you may able to show that the accident was the other driver’s fault.

Your good driving record.  Having a clean driving record isn’t actually a defense to a “failure to control” charge, but showing that you’ve always been a safe driver up until now may convince the judge to go easy on you. The judge may reduce the charge to a non-moving violation and let you avoid points on your license.

It can be challenging to beat a “failure to control” ticket, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try.

Yemc Law Offices – A Trusted Resource for Columbus Drivers

For over 20 years Yemc Law Offices have helped Columbus drivers with their Central Ohio traffic violations. Whether it’s a speeding ticket or an “failure to control” charge, we help you understand the charge and advise you on the best way to resolve it. We help you keep your license so you can keep your job.

Contact Us Today

We understand the needs of Ohio drivers. We know your livelihood may depend on your ability to drive. Whether you’ve been charged with a DUI/OVI, “failure to control,” or another type of moving violation, we can help. Contact us today and we’ll give you a free case evaluation.