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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


New Changes to APV Laws. Get the Details at Farm Science Review

July 16, 2009

LONDON, Ohio – Ohioans who own all-purpose vehicles (APVs) -- such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), mini-bikes and trail bikes – may not be aware of some new operational laws that took effect on July 1, 2009.

Peggy Hall, director of Ohio State University Extension's Agricultural and Resource Law Program for the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, said that the law contains new provisions on criminal trespass, registration and license plate requirements of APVs. The changes were in response to increased incidences of trespassing and crop damage on Ohio farms and other types of land.

"I don't think many people are aware of the new changes," said Hall, who has seen increased inquiries come across her desk. "The new provisions got buried in the huge transportation bill that was passed this spring (H.B. 2)."

Hall will discuss the new changes and how it will impact users during Ohio State University's Farm Science Review, Sept. 22-24 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio.

Hall will give presentations during the Question the Authorities program in OSU Central at 2:40 p.m. on Sept. 22 and at 11 a.m. on Sept. 23. Question the Authorities is located at Alumni Park along Friday Avenue on the Review's exhibitor grounds.

Below is a summary of the new law:

• Criminal trespass with APVs -- The law contains stiffer penalties for criminal trespass that involves an APV. Criminal trespass is the entering or remaining on another's land without permission or privilege, and is a fourth degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $250 and jail time of up to 30 days. Under the new law, when a person commits criminal trespass using an APV, a court must double the fine. Where a person is convicted three times of criminal trespass using an APV, the court may also impound the registration and license plate of the vehicle for at least 60 days.

• Registration fees -- The new law increases the registration fees for APVs, snowmobiles and off-highway motorcycles from $5 to $31.25 for the three-year registration period. The registrar may retain up to $5 of the fee and must deposit the remainder into the state treasury for the state recreational vehicle fund, which also receives amounts from fines issued under the law. Purposes of the fund include enforcing and administering laws regarding registration and operation of snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles, and APVs; purchasing additional land to provide trails and other areas for such vehicles on state-controlled land and waters; and providing safety programs.

• Registration exceptions -- Ohio law currently requires registration of APVs, snowmobiles and off-highway motorcycles, with a few exceptions. One exception has been where an owner operates an APV on land owned or leased by the APV owner. The new law removes this exception for APVs, but not for snowmobiles and off-highway motorcycles. The law creates a new registration exception for APVs: an owner does not have to register an APV that is used primarily on a farm as a farm implement. As a result of these changes, a landowner using an APV on his or her own land is exempt from the registration requirement only if the land is a farm and the APV is used primarily for farm uses. The law also increases the penalties for operating an unregistered APV, snowmobile or off-highway motorcycle to no less than $50 and no more than $100.

• License plate requirements -- The new law requires operators of APVs to display a license plate and validation sticker rather than a registration number after July 1, 2010. An owner must display the license plate so that it is "distinctly visible" and in accordance with rules to be adopted by the Board of Motor Vehicles (BMV). After an owner obtains a license plate, the BMV will issue a new validation sticker to display on the license plate for each three-year registration period. The new license plate provision does not affect snowmobiles or off-highway motorcycles.

• Out of state driver's licenses -- The old law requires the operator of an APV, snowmobile or off-highway motorcycle to hold a valid driver's license from the State of Ohio. The new law allows a person holding a driver's license from another state to operate the vehicles.

According to Ohio law, an "all-purpose vehicle" is "any self-propelled vehicle designed primarily for cross-country travel on land and water, or on more than one type of terrain, and steered by wheels or caterpillar treads, or any combination thereof, including vehicles that operate on a cushion of air, vehicles commonly known as all-terrain vehicles, all-season vehicles, mini-bikes, and trail bikes." The definition of "all-purpose vehicle" does not include golf carts or utility vehicles that are designed to transport materials or cargo.

To learn more, see these Ohio Revised Code sections at for changes to APV law: O.R.C. 2911.21, 4519.02, 4519.03, 4519.04, 4519.08, 4519.09, 4519.10, 4519.44, and 4519.47.

Farm Science Review, Ohio's premiere annual farm show, is sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. It attracts upwards of 140,000 visitors from across the country and Canada. Tickets are $8 at the gate or $5 in advance when purchased from county offices of OSU Extension or participating agribusinesses. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 22-23 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 24.

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Candace Pollock
Peggy Hall