Ohio’s Right to a Speedy Trial

If the prosecutor violates your right to a speedy trial, then the case should be dismissed. Your right to a speedy trial means the state must bring you to trial within the time limits proscribed in the Ohio Revised Code. For a first or second degree misdemeanor charge in Ohio, the case must be tried within 90 days unless you waive your right to a speedy trial.

Even if your statutory rights to a speedy trial were not violated, the State might have violated your constitutional rights to a speedy trial after a long delay.

The statute of limitations is set out in R.C. 2901.13(A)(b). It permits the State two years within which to bring misdemeanor charges against an individual. The statute of limitations is different than the right to a speedy trial because one governs when the prosecution must be commenced and the other governs when the case must be tried.

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Joslyn Law Firm in Columbus, Ohio, for a case in Franklin County or the surrounding areas.

Statutory Right to a Speedy Trial in Ohio

Once a first or second degree misdemeanor charge is filed or an arrest warrant is issued for an individual, the person must be tried within 90 days. R.C. 2945.71(B)(2).

A prosecution is commenced on the earlier of:

  • The date an indictment is returned or an information is filed; or
  • The date a lawful arrest without a warrant is made;
  • The date a warrant, summons, citation or other process is issued.

See Ohio Revised Code 2901.13(E).

A prosecution is not commenced by the return of an indictment or the filing of an information unless reasonable diligence is exercised to issue and execute process on the same. R.C. 2901.13(E).

The prosecution bears the burden of proving the trial commenced within the 90-day statute of limitations. State v. Greer, 2 Ohio App.3d 399, 442 N.E.2d 473 (1981). To do so, the prosecution must demonstrate that reasonable diligence was exercised to serve the summons. State v. King, 103 Ohio App. 3d 210, 212-213, 658 N.E.2d 1138 (1995).

The prosecutors representing the State of Ohio fail to show reasonable diligence when the state attempts an improper service or receives a return on service that is undeliverable and then the state takes no further action. State v. Morris, 20 Ohio App.3d 321, 486 N.E.2d 168 (1984); State v. Greer, 2 Ohio App.3d 399, 442 N.E.2d 473 (1981).

If the delay in prosecution of a criminal case is due to the state’s failure to attempt to serve the defendant, the delay is unconstitutionally unreasonable and violates the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. State v. Sears, 166 Ohio App.3d 166, 849 N.E.2d 1060 (2005).

Constitutional Right to a Speedy Trial

If the state has not violated the statutory provisions for a speedy trial in Ohio, the U.S. Constitution also provides for a constitutional right to a speedy trial that is broader than the statutory rights set by each state. To assert this claim, the defendant must show that pursuant to the relevant Ohio statutes and case law, the delay is constitutionally unreasonable and defendant has been prejudiced by the delay.

The court will dismiss the case when it is shown that the prosecutors with the State of Ohio failed to bring the defendant to a speedy trial in violation of his state and federal constitutional rights.

The provisions of Section 10, Article I of the Ohio Constitution and of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, guarantee a defendant in a criminal case the right to a speedy trial.

Although statutory periods exist in Ohio, those statutory periods of limitations are not relevant to a determination of whether an individual’s constitutional right to a speedy trial has been violated by an unjustified delay in prosecution. State v. Selvage, 80 Ohio St.3d 465, 468, 687 N.E.2d 433 (1997).

For purposes of raising a constitutional challenge based on post-indictment delay, the U.S. Supreme Court set forth a four-part test in Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 (1972). Under the Barker test, a trial court is required to consider four factors:

  1. The length of delay;
  2. The reason for the delay;
  3. The defendant’s assertion of his rights; and
  4. Prejudice to the defendant.

When determining whether constitutional rights to a speedy trial have been violated, the first factor for the court to consider is the length of the delay. Under the Supreme Court’s analysis in Barker, the more straight-forward and ordinary the crime, the shorter the amount of time that is required to prejudice the defendant. Barker at 531.

Relying on R.C. 2945.71, the First District Court of Appeals held that for a misdemeanor, any delay longer than 90 days is presumptively prejudicial. Sears at ¶ 12. Therefore, if the length of time from the charges being filed to the service of the warrant is longer than 90 days, the next step of the test is triggered. Id.

The First District addressed the second and third factor of the Barker analysis in State v. Sears. Id. at ¶ 14. In Sears, there was no evidence the state pursued attempts to serve a warrant or complaint on the defendant. Although the complaint and affidavit contained an incorrect zip code, the state never suggested it had a problem locating the defendant or needed extra time to collect witnesses or to file pretrial motions.

In Sears, the defendant never attempted to avoid service or move outside of the jurisdiction; he only learned of the warrant when he was pulled over for a traffic offense nine months after the complaint was filed. In affirming the trial court’s dismissal on speedy trial grounds, the court found that the defendant should not be punished for failing to assert a right that he could not have otherwise known about. Id. at ¶ 15.

Likewise, in State v. Looper, a copy of the indictment was mailed to the defendant by certified mail and was returned marked “addressee unknown.” State v. Looper, 61 Ohio App.3d 448, 573 N.E.2d 123 (1988). The warrant was not executed until six years later.

“Because the State made no effort to notify the defendant of the indictment at her mother’s address, the court found that the ‘reason for delay’ factor weighed against the state.” Id. at 450.

For the fourth factor, the defendant has the burden of showing the prejudice that occurred in his or her particular case. United States v. Lawson, 780 F.2d 535, 541-542 (6th Cir. 1985). A lengthy delay in prosecuting the defendant, by itself, does not constitute actual prejudice. The defendant must demonstrate how the length of the delay has prejudiced his ability to have a fair trial. United States v. Norris, 501 F.Supp.2d 1092, 1096 (S.D.Oh.2007).

The court in Sears noted that impairment of one’s defense is the most difficult form of speedy trial prejudice to prove because time’s erosion of exculpatory evidence and testimony can rarely be shown. Sears at ¶ 16 citing Doggett v. United States, 505 U.S. 647, 655, 120 L.Ed.2d 520, 112 S.Ct. 2686 (1992). However, the court in Sears held that prejudice is presumed when the government fails to use reasonable diligence to serve the warrant. Sears at ¶ 16.

Finding an Attorney for Speedy Trial Claims

If you are charged with a crime and need a criminal defense attorney to help you fight the charges in Columbus, OH, or the surrounding areas of Franklin County, then contact an experience attorney at the Joslyn Law Firm.

We are experienced in raising speedy trial claims when it can be shown that the state prosecutor did not commence the trial within the statutory time period provided by R.C. 2945.71(B)(2), in violation of the right to a speedy trial.

Our attorneys are experienced in asserting this important right guaranteed by Section 10, Article I of the Ohio Constitution and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is applicable to the State by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Talk to us about the viability of a motion to dismiss after a violation of the right to a speedy trial in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, the Federal and State Constitutions, and relevant case law.

Ohio’s Two-Year Statute of Limitations

In a misdemeanor case, Ohio’s Revised Code 2901.13 provides that a prosecution for a misdemeanor shall be barred unless it commenced (began) within two years of the date that the offense occurred. R.C. 2901.13(A)(1)(b).

In determining the date the prosecution was commenced, the Courts look at the earlier of:

  • The date an indictment is returned or an information is filed;
  • The date a lawful arrest without a warrant is made; or
  • The date the warrant, summons, citation, or other process is issued.

See R.C. 2901.13(B).

“A prosecution is not commenced upon issuance of a warrant, summons, citation, or other process, unless reasonable diligence is exercised to execute the same.” State v. King, 103 Ohio App. 3d 210 (1995).

Prosecutor’s Burden to Prove the Commencement Date

The prosecutor with the State of Ohio bears the burden of proving that a criminal prosecution commenced within the two-year statute of limitations. Id. at 212.

The First District Court of Appeals has defined “reasonable diligence” as compliance with Crim.R. 4(D). That provision requires that the warrant is actually executed by an arrest or summons. State v. Greer, 2 Ohio App.3d 399, 400, 442 N.E.2d 473 (1981).

For law enforcement officers in Ohio to commence a prosecution, personal service is required when a summons is issued in lieu of arrest. Crim. R. 4(D)(3).

For people other than law enforcement officers, personal or residential service is required when a summons is issued in lieu of arrest. Id.

Speedy Trial Violations on Constitution Grounds

In many of these cases, the defendant will also assert a claim that the prosecution is barred because of a violation of his or her right to a speedy trial on Constitutional grounds.

In State v. Luck, 15 Ohio St.3d 150, 153, 15 Ohio B. 296, 472 N.E.2d 1097(1984) the Court found: “[a]n unjustified delay between the commission of an offense and a defendant’s indictment therefore, which results in actual prejudice to the defendant, is a violation of the right to due process of law under Section 16, Article I of the Ohio Constitution and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

An unjustified delay in the commencement of a prosecution occurs when the state, “through negligence or error in judgment, effectively ceases the active investigation of a case, but later decides to commence prosecution upon the same evidence that was available to it at the time that its active investigation was ceased.” Luck, 15 Ohio St.3d at 158, 472 N.E.2d 1097. The length of delay is a key factor in this determination. Id.

In many of these cases, the criminal defense attorney will also show that the defendant was prejudiced by the State of Ohio’s delay in pursuing the prosecution. The prejudice can include:

  1. The dissipation of evidence against the accused;
  2. The disappearance or unavailability of a witness;
  3. The loss of exculpatory evidence due to the delay.

A constitutional violation of speedy trial would require that charges are dismissed. If the prosecutor for the State of Ohio does not begin the prosecution with reasonable diligence, then the defense should move the Court to dismiss the charges as required by Ohio’s Revised Code Section 2901.13(A)(1)(b).

Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Speedy Trial in Ohio

Your criminal defense attorney in Columbus, Ohio, can file a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of a Speedy Trial. The motion demands that the Court dismiss the charges pending against the defendant pursuant to R.C. 2901.13, Section 16, Article I of the Ohio Constitution, and the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The First District Court of Appeals has defined “reasonable diligence” as compliance with Crim.R. 4(D), which clearly states that a warrant is executed by an arrest or summons. State v. Greer, 2 Ohio App.3d 399, 400, 442 N.E.2d 473 (1981).

Finding an Attorney for Speedy Trial Cases in Columbus, OH

The criminal defense attorneys at the Joslyn Law Firm understand the importance of the statute of limitations and the right to a speedy trial in criminal misdemeanor cases. We can help you determine if the statute of limitations is applicable, when you should demand a speedy trial, and when you should continue your case for a strategical reason.

Call us to discuss your case. We can begin your defense today.

Ohio’s Portable Breath Test (PBT)

During the initial consultation, many of our clients ask us about the Portable Breath Test (often called the “PBT”). Officers throughout Columbus, Ohio, will use the PBT for a variety of reasons.

The main benefit for law enforcement officers is that people tend to be more cooperative after submitting to the PBT because they assume that evidence gathered by the PBT can be used against them in an OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence) case.

It is important to realize, however, that in Ohio, the portable breath testing device is not considered to be a breath-test instrument that can be used for evidentiary purposes. In other words, a PBT is not a breath-testing instrument approved by the Ohio Department of Health for collecting evidence.

For this reason, the results of the PBT are not admissible at trial in Ohio. See State v. Shuler , 168 Ohio App. 3d 183 (2006).

Some courts, in some jurisdictions in Ohio, will allow the use of PBT results to determine probable cause. In State v. Derov, 121 Ohio St. 3d 269 (2009), the Ohio Supreme Court was asked to address the issue of portable breathalyzer testing.

In that case, the Ohio Supreme Court found insufficient evidence in the record to render a decision either for or against the admissibility of the portable breath test.

If you are charged with OVI in Columbus, Ohio, then contact a criminal defense attorney at the Joslyn Law Firm. We represent clients on a variety of OVI charges, including a first offense or second or subsequent offense.

We also represent clients charged with OVI cases involving an approved breath test machine, a blood test, or refusal to submit to chemical testing. Call us to discuss your case.

Moving to Exclude the PBT Evidence to Determine Probable Cause

In many of these cases, the criminal defense attorney will request that the Court exclude the results of the portable breath test from use in determining, whether, at the time of arrest, the law enforcement officer officer had probable cause to believe the Defendant was operating a vehicle under the influence of alcoholic beverages.

It is important to note that neither the Ohio Administrative Code nor the Ohio Revised Code provide for the use of portable breath testing devices (PBT) for determining a breath sample at any stage of a prosecution under R.C. 4511.19.

Instead, R.C. 4511.19 provides that in a prosecution for OVI, a bodily substance such as blood or breath “shall be analyzed in accordance with methods approved by the director of health by an individual possessing a valid permit issued by the director pursuant to section 3701.143 of the Revised Code.”

R.C. 3701.143 gives the Ohio Director of Health the authority to determine certain procedures and methods for determining the alcohol concentration in the subject’s breath or blood. The Director of Health also has the task of approving issuing permits to qualified individuals who will perform an analysis of the breath or blood using these approved techniques.

Ohio Administrative Code 3701-53 and Ohio Administrative Code 3701-53-02 set out the regulations governing these techniques. The OAC provides a list of breath testing instruments approved for evidentiary use which includes the Intoxilyzer 8000, Intoxilyzer 5000, BAC Datamaster cdm, BAC Datamaster K, and the BAC Datamaster. No portable breath testing device is included on that list.

Finding an OVI Attorney in Columbus, OH

Contact an experienced attorney familiar with OVI in Columbus, Ohio, at the Joslyn Law Firm to discuss your case and the consequences of submitting to the PBT during your roadside OVI investigation. Let us put our experience to work for you.

 

Hit and Skip in Columbus, Ohio

In Ohio, the most common offense for leaving the scene of a crash is a violation of subsection 2(a) of Ohio Revised Code 4549 for “Stopping after accident; exchange of identity and vehicle registration.” The offense is charged as a misdemeanor of the first degree. See R.C. 4549 .02(A). This offense is often called a “hit and skip,” “hit and run,” or “tap and run.”

A different statute in Ohio for “Failure to stop after accident involving property of others” can be charged under subsection 3(A) of Ohio Revised Code 4549.03 when the crash involves property adjacent to the roadway. See R.C. 4549.03(3)(A).

Officers often charge a person with the wrong statute. The statutes distinguish between the reporting requirements after a crash with property damage on the roadway or off the roadway. The statute also distinguishes between a crash with a person or vehicle as opposed to other types of property, such as a building, fence, stop sign, or mail box.


After Leaving the Scene, Expect Law Enforcement Officers to Coming Looking for You

If you leave the scene of an accident involving either personal injury or property damage, you should expect law enforcement officers to aggressively investigate the crash. When they identify a suspect, they will often go to the suspect’s home or work to interrogate the suspect and find the vehicle involved in the crash.

If you retain a criminal defense lawyer in Columbus, Ohio for a hit and skip incident, your attorney can assist you by making contact with the officers investigating the incident. The attorney can also help you invoke your right to remain silent, which might discourage the officers from coming to your house or place of business. Anything you say can be used against you, so attorneys can be particularly helpful in these types of cases.

If law enforcement officers do not have sufficient evidence, then a defense attorney can help convince them not to pursue the charges. If they do decide to seek an arrest warrant, an attorney can also help you deal negotiate your surrender in a way that might save you time, money and frustration.

Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Columbus, Ohio, to discuss your case. We can help you understand the difference between the two different types of hit-and-run statutes in Ohio.


What To Do After a Crash

If you are involved in an accident, then Ohio law requires you to stop and remain at the scene. You are also required to provide the other person involved, the driver of the other vehicle, or a police officer on the scene with the following information:

  • Your name;
  • Your address;
  • The registration number of your vehicle; and
  • The name and address of the owner of the vehicle (if you are not the owner of the vehicle).

Although it is not required in the statute, you should also provide your insurance information. It is a good idea to make a copy of your insurance card and driver’s license and leave these documents in your glove box. Then if you are ever in an accident, it is easy to give the other person involved all of the information necessary to comply with Ohio law.

Regardless of whether the crash was your fault or the other party’s fault, you are required to remain at the scene until the information has been exchanged. If the other vehicle involved in the crash is not occupied and you cannot find the owner, then you should leave the require information in writing and attach it to the vehicle so that it is visible.


R.C. 4549.02(A) — Ohio “Hit and Skip”

The Courts in Ohio have previously held that Revised Code 4549.02(A) applies when the defendant’s vehicle collides with either a pedestrian or another motor vehicle. Ohio’s “Hit-Skip” Statute describes what constitutes a violation of R.C. 4549.02(A) and reads as follows:

(A) In case of accident to or collision with persons or property upon any of the public roads or highways, due to the driving or operation thereon of any motor vehicle, the person driving or operating the motor vehicle, having knowledge of the accident or collision, immediately shall stop the … vehicle at the scene of the accident or collision and shall remain at the scene of the accident or collision until the driver … has given the driver’s … name and address … to any person injured in the accident or collision or to the operator, occupant, owner, or attendant of any motor vehicle damaged in the accident or collision, or to any police officer at the scene of the accident or collision.

By its very terms, R.C. 4549.02 provides that any accident subject to the “Hit and Skip” section involves a collision with either a pedestrian or another motor vehicle. Without evidence of an accident or collision involving a pedestrian or another vehicle, there would be insufficient evidence to support the charge. In other words, the prosecutor must prove that another person was injured or another motor vehicle was damaged as a result of the accident. The charges are not appropriate in a case involving a one-car accident when no pedestrian is injured.

These cases are common in situations where the defendant is accused of striking a pedestrian, a person riding a bike, or another vehicle where people are injured. R.C. 4549.02(A) also applies when drivers hit parked vehicles and leave the scene without stopping to provide their information.

A key requirement of R.C. 4549.02(A) is the “failure to notify” one of the specified parties. “Hit-Skip” in violation of R.C. 4549.02(A) requires proof of multiple elements including that there was an accident or collision with persons or property upon the roadway, and the defendant failed to report it to any of three types of people before leaving the scene, including:

  • any person injured in the accident or collision; or
  • the operator, occupant, owner, or attendant of any motor vehicle damaged in the accident or collision; or
  • any police officer at the scene of the accident or collision

When determining whether a crash occurred with property upon the roadway, it is important to note that Revised Code 4511.01(EE) defines “roadway” as “that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, except the berm or shoulder. If a highway includes two or more separate roadways the term ‘roadway’ means any such roadway separately but not all such roadways collectively.”

Also, Revised Code 4511.01(BB) defines “[s]treet” or “highway” as “the entire width between the boundary lines of every way open to the use of the public as a thoroughfare for purposes of vehicular travel.”


R.C. 4549.03(A) — Failure to Stop After an Accident in Ohio

“Failure to stop after accident involving property of others” in violation of Revised Code 4549.03(A) reads as follows:

(A) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in damage to real property, or personal property attached to real property, legally upon or adjacent to a public road or highway immediately shall stop and take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property of that fact[.]

Charges under R.C. 4549.03 are appropriate when the facts of the case involve a collision with property located adjacent to a highway. For instance, when an accident involves a utility pole, mailbox or fence, it is may be difficult to identify the owner of the property. The statute provides for a 24-hour period for reporting such an accident.


Additional Resources

Warrants for “Hit-and-Skip” Cases in Columbus, Ohio — Visit the website of the Columbus City Attorney, Richard C. Pfeiffer, to find information on outstanding warrants for “hit-skip.” The website shows “wanted” photos of the individuals accused of this offense as shown by the Clerk of the Franklin County Municipal Court. Related offenses often include Driving Under OVI Suspension, No Operator’s License, Driving Under Suspension, Failure to Reinstate License, and Failure to Stop-Accident. The City Attorney’s Office is located at 77 N. Front St., Columbus, Ohio 43215.


Finding a Hit Skip Attorney in Columbus, OH

Contact the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about your criminal charges for failure to stop after an accident in Franklin County and surrounding counties, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, and Fairfield County in Ohio. We also represent clients on charges of hit and run or hit-skip in Columbus, Ohio, and the surrounding areas.

Warrants in Columbus, Ohio

Under Ohio Crim. Rule 4, a complaint includes an affidavit showing probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed. The complaint must also sets forth facts to show that the defendant was the person who committed the crime.

If the judge receives such a complaint from law enforcement, the judge will either issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant or issue a summons in lieu of a warrant. A magistrate, officer of the court or clerk of court can also issue a warrant or summons in certain circumstances. The warrant or summons authorizes any law enforcement officer to execute or serve the warrant or summons.

Our attorneys receive calls from men and women worried about an outstanding arrest warrant, bench warrant, summons, or failure to appear in court. The criminal defense attorneys at the Joslyn Law Firm represent clients with outstanding felony or misdemeanor warrants. We are also experienced in representing clients that live out of county or out of state who are facing extradition back to Columbus or Franklin County, OH.

Call us to find out the best way to resolve an active warrant or resolve a case after a missed court date.


 

Finding Probable Cause for the Warrant

In some cases, the facts supporting probable cause will contain hearsay. Those hearsay statements support a finding of probable cause only if there is a substantial basis for “believing the source of the hearsay to be credible and for believing that there is a factual basis for the information furnished.”

In some cases, before the court decides whether to issue the warrant or summons, the court may require the person making the complaint to appear personally and answer questions while under oath. If the court reporter or recording equipment preserved the testimony, then it shall be admissible at a hearing on a motion to suppress.

 


Summons in Lieu of Warrant

The court can issue a summons instead of a warrant under the following circumstances:

  • Upon the request of the prosecuting attorney; or
  • When issuance of a summons appears reasonably calculated to ensure the defendant’s appearance.

In certain types of misdemeanor cases, a warrant might be issued to a law enforcement officer. However, in those cases, the office may issue a summons in lieu of executing the warrant by arrest under the following conditions:

  • The issuing authority did not include a prohibition against issuing a summons in lieu of warrant provision in the warrant;
  • When issuance of a summons appears reasonably calculated to ensure the defendant’s appearance.

When issuing the summons, the officer must note that the warrant and the return of the warrant were executed by issuing a summons. The summons must note the time and place the defendant must appear.


 

Failure to Appear in Court in Columbus, Ohio

In misdemeanor cases, if the officer issues a summons in lieu of making an arrest and the defendant fails to appear in response to the summons, then the court can issue an arrest warrant. Many people hide after the missed court date because they are worried about the failure-to-appear warrant issued by a Franklin County judge.

The best thing you can do to resolve your case is seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Columbus, OH, who can explain the best ways to resolve the outstanding warrant issued by a judge in Franklin County or the surrounding areas.

In most cases, the warrant will contain the following information:

  • Name of the defendant;
  • Description of the offense charged in the complaint;
  • Whether the warrant is being issued before the defendant has appeared or was scheduled to appear, and
  • The numerical designation of the applicable statute or ordinance.

A copy of the complaint shall be attached to the warrant. After a defendant fails to appear, the court will issue a warrant that includes the following requirements:

  • The defendant must post a sum of cash or secured bail bond with the condition that the defendant appear before the issuing court at a time and date certain; and
  • The defendant must be held without bail until brought before the issuing court without unnecessary delay.

 

What Information is Contained in the Warrant?

The summons is similar to the warrant except that it does not authorize an arrest. Instead, it orders the person accused to appear at a stated time and place. The summons also informs the defendant that he or she may be arrested if he or she fails to appear at the time and place stated in the summons.

The court issuing the warrant must indicate whether the warrant is being issued in advance of an initial or scheduled bail hearing. If so, then the bail provisions of Crim. R. 46 will govern the setting of bail.

If the warrant is issued after a failure to appear in court, then the court that issues the warrant should indicate in the warrant the amount of bail required and when the defendant is to appear in court.


 

Procedure in Minor Misdemeanor Cases under Ohio Crim R 4.1

Under Ohio Crim Rule 4.1(f), when a defendant fails to appear in court on a minor misdemeanor case, the court may issue a supplemental citation, or a summons or warrant under Rule 4. Since January 1, 2004, the term “minor misdemeanor” is defined as a criminal offense with a maximum penalty of $100 to $150.


 

Procedures for Warrants Issued Upon Indictment or Information in Ohio

Crim. Rule 9 provides for the procedures for a warrant or summons issued upon indictment or information.

When requested by the prosecutor, the clerk will issue a warrant for each defendant named in the indictment or in the information. In some cases, the clerk will issue a summons instead of a warrant. The summons will be issued upon request of the court or prosecutor or when the accused is indicted for the same offense for which he was bound over.

If a summons is issued and the accused person fails to appear in court in Columbus, OH, or the areas surrounding Franklin County, then the court will issue a warrant.

The warrant will order the defendant to be arrested and brought before the court that issued the warrant without unnecessary delay. It is signed by the court or clerk and describes the offense charged in the indictment or information. A copy of the indictment or information must be attached to the warrant.

A summons orders the defendant to appear before the court at a stated time and place. The summons will also provide that the defendant may be arrested if he fails to appear at the time and place stated in the summons. A copy of the indictment or information shall be attached to the summons.


Finding an Attorney for a Warrant in Columbus, Ohio

If you have an outstanding arrest warrant or bench warrant issued by a Judge in Columbus, Ohio, or the surrounding areas of Franklin County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Joslyn Law Firm. Whether you just found out that the warrant was issued, you were served with a summons, or you missed a court date, we can help you fight for the best result.

Contact the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a consultation about your criminal charges in Franklin County and surrounding counties, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, and Fairfield County in Ohio.

Let us put our experience to work for you.

Drug Court in Franklin County, OH

Many of our clients with drug crimes contact us to find out more about options to enter drug court programs in Franklin County, OH, including either the TIES program (also called “drug court”) in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas or the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Program (ADAP) in the Franklin County Municipal Court. These programs can be helpful for a person who truly needs and wants drug treatment.

If you have questions about your case, you should contact the experienced attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm to discuss your case. Our criminal defense lawyers represent clients for drug crimes throughout Columbus, Franklin County, and the surrounding counties in Ohio.


RULE 76 – THE TIES PROGRAM

Rule 76 for the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas governs the specialized docket for the TIES (Treatment is Essential to Success) program.

76.05 Eligibility Criteria for TIES Program Admission

To be eligible for the TIES program under Ohio R.C. 2901.01, the original charge or charges must be no more than a third degree felony. Also, a conviction must be for a third, fourth, or fifth degree felony or a first degree misdemeanor. Eligibility for the TIES program in domestic violence cases in Franklin County is determined on a case-by-case basis. A sexually-oriented or sexually-motivated offense is not eligible.

To be considered for the TIES program, the defendant must be evaluated for legal and social (clinical) factors including:

  • Legal factors in screening TIES program participants include:
    • Current charge
    • Criminal history, including adjustment to prior supervision
    • Circumstances of offense(s), including outstanding warrants, detainers, previous diversions, or other charges
  • Clinical factors in screening TIES program participants include:
    • Assessment of substance abuse history
    • Social/family history
    • Other health conditions
    • Motivation and willingness to participate (including signing of release of information)

To assist in determining whether an applicant should be eligible for the program, the TIES program in Franklin County, Ohio, has developed an outline of eligibility factors of admission.

76.06 Referring Criminal Defendants to the TIES Program

Identifying eligible cases for transfer

If a referring judge has a criminal defendant that he or she believes is involved with the criminal justice system as a result of drug and/or alcohol abuse, he or she may request that the defendant be evaluated for eligibility for the TIES program. The defendant should meet the basic eligibility requirements as set forth in Loc. R. 76.05 to be considered.

Discussion with counsel about referral for evaluation

If a judge desires to refer the defendant to be evaluated for eligibility for the TIES program, discussion with counsel should take place. The defense counsel may also approach the judge with the suggestion of referral.

Referral for evaluation

In referring a defendant to be evaluated for eligibility for the TIES program, a signed entry entitled “ENTRY REFERRING DEFENDANT TO TIES PROGRAM FOR EVALUATION FOR PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY AND ADMISSION” must be completed and counsel notified.

Defendant consents to evaluation

If the defendant wishes to be evaluated for eligibility, the defense attorney and defendant must complete the entry entitled “CONSENT AND WAIVER BY DEFENDANT FOR REFERRAL TO TIES PROGRAM TO BE EVALUATED FOR PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY AND ADMISSION.” This signed entry, along with the entry from the judge must then be forwarded to the TIES coordinator.

Defendant is evaluated by TIES coordinator

Upon receipt of the entries noted above, the TIES coordinator or his or her qualified designee shall personally meet with the defendant, whether incarcerated or on bond, to administer screening tools and evaluate motivation for admission to the TIES program.

TIES program staffing for eligibility

The TIES program team, consisting of but not limited to the TIES program judge, the TIES program coordinator, the TIES program probation officer, a treatment assessor and liaisons from treatment providers who have signed memoranda of understanding and confidentiality statements to participate as treatment providers for TIES program participants, shall jointly determine a potential TIES participant’s eligibility for the program.

TIES coordinator notifies of program eligibility

Based on the recommendation of the TIES program team, the TIES coordinator shall complete the entry entitled “NOTICE OF RESULTS OF TIES PROGRAM EVALUATION FOR PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY AND ADMISSION” and forward copies of this entry to the referring judge and counsel notifying them of the defendant’s eligibility for admission to the TIES program.

Transfer of defendant’s case(s) to the TIES program

The TIES coordinator shall prepare the entry entitled “ENTRY TRANSFERRING DEFENDANT’S CASE TO THE TIES PROGRAM,” submitting it to both the referring judge and the TIES program judge, for approval by the administrative judge, and the defendant will be formally transferred to the TIES program judge’s docket.

Taking the plea

When the case involves new charges, the referring judge may take the plea or may refer the case to the TIES program judge to take the plea, which shall be fourth or fifth degree nonviolent, non-sexually oriented felony (or felonies) or first degree misdemeanor(s). Because of the time needed to interview the defendant, the referring judge may need to continue the case on his or her docket until notified that the defendant is eligible for the program. In the event that the referring judge wishes for the TIES program judge to take the plea, it is suggested that the continuance be to the TIES program judge’s regular disposition day so that he or she is available to take the plea.

Sentencing

For cases involving new charges, each participant shall be subject to a pre-sentence investigation to aid the TIES program and its treatment providers in preparing a successful case management plan for the TIES participant.

The TIES program judge shall sentence the defendant to the TIES program as a condition of community control, originally setting the probationary period at three years, with the incentive of early termination of community control if the defendant successfully completes the TIES program.

The TIES program participant shall begin attending TIES program hearings as a condition of bond, and generally, TIES program participants will be placed on a period of house arrest for sixty days as a condition of bond.

Early release from the term of house arrest may be used as an incentive for continued TIES program compliance.

In the case of an existing probation case or a judicial release case, the TIES program judge shall re-sentence the TIES participant referred by the referring judge at a revocation hearing to the TIES program as a condition of community control, originally setting the probationary period at three years, with the incentive of early termination of community control if the defendant successfully completes the TIES program.

Substitution of similar case for transferred case

Upon the transfer of a referring judge’s case to the TIES program judge, the referring judge will receive a case of the same level felony from the TIES program judge’s docket for each unsentenced case transferred.

There is no corresponding transfer to a referring judge for a probation or judicial release case transferred. The transfer may not occur immediately, as the TIES program judge’s case transferred must be a new case, and there may be a need to wait until a similar case is indicted and can be transferred.

If there is a waiting list for TIES program

At some point there may be a waiting list for the TIES program. If a referring judge has a defendant to refer to the program, and the program is at capacity, the referring judge is encouraged to refer the defendant regardless to allow his or her name to be placed on a waiting list and to allow for effective program evaluation by comparing the TIES program participants’ performance on community control with those who would be eligible for the TIES program but are completing conventional community control.

This group of waiting list defendants becomes a “control group” for study purposes to help justify additional funding from outside sources to increase the capacity of the program.




76.07 Comprehensive Evaluation of TIES program Participants for Case Management

TIES program participants are to be evaluated for a number of conditions that regular probationers are not.

All TIES program participants are to be evaluated for drug, alcohol, and any mental health conditions, along with an evaluation to see if there is any neurological condition that affects learning or behavior. The results of these and other evaluations are to be taken into account when determining what conditions of supervision will be required and how the participant will be supervised.

76.08 TIES Program Handbook

The TIES program coordinator shall maintain a TIES program handbook, making it available to all court personnel, counsel and criminal defendants who may be eligible for the TIES program.

The Handbook shall set forth rules for the program, the policies and procedures for urine drug screens, and other methods for detecting the presence of drugs and/or alcohol in a participant’s physical body or system, requirements for TIES program phases, graduated sanctions, and program incentives.

The TIES program handbook shall be reviewed at least annually for necessary changes based on the needs of the court, the program, its participants and its treatment and other providers.

The TIES program shall provide a copy of its TIES program handbook to the Specialized Dockets Section of the Ohio Supreme Court upon review and revision of the handbook.


76.09 TIES Program Phases

Participants in the TIES program shall complete three phases, each consisting of a minimum of twelve weeks. Movement to the next phase shall depend upon the frequency of sanctions in the existing phase, as set forth in the TIES program Handbook.

A TIES program participant must maintain a period of sobriety of at least six months after completing the third phase to be eligible to graduate and have his or her community control terminated.


76.10 Successful Completion of TIES Program

It shall be the goal of the TIES program that its participants shall complete the following minimum requirements:

  • Restitution paid
  • Letters of apology completed (when ordered)
  • GED obtained, when capable
  • All court costs and fines in all cases paid
  • Valid driver’s license, depending on ability to obtain one
  • Employment
  • Community service completed (if applicable)
  • Court supervision fee paid
  • Six months sobriety following completion of the third phase of the program
  • Completion of post-program forms and interview

76.11 Unsuccessful Termination from the TIES Program

The TIES program handbook shall set forth in its statement of graduated sanctions reasons for termination from the TIES program.

Examples of reasons for termination from the TIES program include but are not limited to:

  • Absconding
  • Failure to participate
  • Failure to appear in court
  • New charges and/or convictions that did not arise from an incident preceding TIES program participation

The decision to terminate a participant from the TIES program shall be made by the TIES program team. If a TIES program participant is terminated from the program, the TIES program probation officer shall schedule the participant for a revocation hearing before the TIES program judge, at which time, the TIES participant shall be subject to revocation as any probationer would be who is subject to revocation from community control.

The TIES program judge shall determine the sentence for the TIES participant at a regular revocation hearing on the judge’s docket. Program termination makes a former TIES program participant ineligible for future TIES program participation.


76.12 Funding of the TIES Program

The TIES program in its pilot program stage was established with grant funding from the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. The TIES program shall be authorized to apply for additional grant funding to provide for the continued operation of the program. The TIES program judge shall consult with the administrative judge and the court’s executive director regarding funding sources to maintain this program of the court.


76.13 Reports to the Court En Banc

The TIES program judge shall provide to the court en banc (entire court) on a quarterly basis a TIES program census, including the names of current participants, listed by judge, including their case numbers, offenses, phases in the program, whether or not the prosecutor approved or disapproved of the referral, TIES program sanctions imposed, the current treatment provider and information on termination or final outcome.


76.14 Program Evaluation

The TIES program shall seek the assistance of the State of Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services and/or any other qualified program evaluator to design and implement both process and outcome evaluations of the TIES program, with factors to be evaluated that include but are not limited to:

  • Recidivism
  • Time in custody
  • Retention in program and/or treatment
  • Costs

Other

 program success may be defined in terms of a significant decrease in recidivism within a specific period of entering and/or completing the TIES program and the percentage of participants who complete the TIES program. Cost savings may also be a factor in conjunction with these success indicators.

76.15 Memoranda of Understanding with Treatment and Other Providers to the TIES Program

The TIES program shall develop a memorandum of understanding to be signed by TIES program treatment providers. The memorandum of understanding must include at least the following and shall be renewed annually by TIES program treatment providers:

  • Treatment provider must guarantee no wait for TIES program participants to enter treatment; in the case of outpatient treatment, treatment must be provided within several days of referral, as set forth in the memorandum of understanding; in the case of inpatient treatment, a bed must be provided within approximately two weeks of referral, as set forth in the memorandum of understanding.
  • Treatment and other providers shall be selected, taking into account Medicaid regulations, geographic location, service to diverse racial and cultural clientele, and options for drug treatment of special populations such as dual diagnosis, pregnant women, mentally disabled, or HIV positive.
  • Treatment and other providers shall coordinate with and account for TIES program sanctions, including but not limited to CBCF (community based correctional facility), house arrest, and work release.
  • When a TIES participant can afford to pay for some of cost of treatment, participant may pay according to a scale developed by treatment provider and approved by the court.
  • When a TIES participant has private health insurance that provides and pays for the referred substance abuse and/or mental health benefits, the participant (and his or her insurance) shall be responsible for paying for treatment.

Additional Resources about Drug Court in Columbus, Ohio

Drug Court in Franklin County, Ohio — Visit the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas website for the Judiciary Division to learn more about specialized dockets, including drug court (TIES program). According to the website, drug court includes three twelve-week phases that each become less intensive. A final six-month period of more traditional probation follows after the third phase is completed. Many people complete the program in less than 18 months. After completion, the defendant is eligible for termination of probation.

TIES Program Coordinator
Marquita Clay
Common Pleas Courthouse
345 S. High Street, Courtroom 4A
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 525-7645

Franklin County’s specialized courts give offenders a chance at new lives  — Read a letter to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch newspaper written by the Honorable Scott Vanderkarr, judge of the Franklin County Municipal Court. The letter, published Saturday, August 23, 2014, explains the importance of specialized dockets and the need for these innovative programs in Franklin County, Ohio. The letter also explains programs in the Franklin County Municipal Court including the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Program (ADAP), the Military and Veteran Service (MAVS), the Mental Health Program, and Changing Actions to Change Habits (CATCH).


Find a Drug Crimes Attorney in Columbus, OH

If you are charged with a drug crime in Columbus, OH, then call our drug crimes defense attorneys to discuss your case. Many clients call us because they have violated a condition of drug court and are facing additional sanctions. We represent clients charged with possession of marijuana or controlled substances to more serious offenses such as the sale, distribution, manufacture, or trafficking of drugs. Call us today to discuss the best defense to your felony or misdemeanor drug charges.

Fighting Federal Drug Charges in Ohio

The United States government has been adamant about cracking down on drug-related crimes since the Controlled Substance Act passed in 1970, and agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration continue to make arrests for offenses throughout the country.

In Ohio, the DEA and other agencies often conduct “drug sweeps,” which allow the law enforcement agencies to make several arrests for various drug offenses. These “sweeps” typically are done multiple times a year using controlled buys, phone interceptions and informants.

During these operations, agencies are searching for those violating several drug laws, including possession of a controlled substance. However, these sweeps most often are used to arrest those accused of trafficking or selling a substance. The offenses would be considered federal crimes, which often are much more severe.

According to federal law, trafficking is the selling, manufacturing, delivery or cultivation of controlled substances, or possessing those substances with the intent to do so. It can range from international cartels with thousands of people involved to small neighborhood drug rings.

Under 21 U.S.C § 846, anyone involved in drug trafficking also could be charged with conspiracy. For instance, a person accused of transporting money for the operation, transporting the actual substances or assisting in manufacturing an illegal drug could be charged with conspiracy.

Federal Drug Schedules

Controlled substances are divided into five schedules on the federal level. According to 21 U.S.C § 811, the U.S. Attorney General has the authority to place any substance on the list of drugs found in the Controlled Substance Act.

The schedules are determined based on the possibilities for abuse and addiction, as well as its medical use. The schedule of a controlled substance often plays a large part in determining the penalty for the offense.

Schedule I substances generally have a high potential for abuse and no medical use, such as heroin, ecstasy, acid and marijuana. Schedule II substances still have a high potential for abuse, but some accepted medical use. This could include cocaine, oxycodone and methamphetamine.

Schedule III substances have less potential for abuse and some accepted medical use. This could include painkillers with less than 90 milligrams of codeine, anabolic steroids and ketamine. Schedule IV substances have a low potential for addiction and accepted medical use, such as Xanax and Ambien.

Schedule V substances under federal law have the lowest potential for abuse, limited potential for addiction and a currently accepted medical use. These typically are available as over-the-counter medications and typically are not involved in federal charges. This could include Robitussin AC, Lomotil and Lyrica.

Federal Drug Charges in Ohio

These federal drug charges are some of the harshest in the nation, and they can carry mandatory minimum sentences. This means if a person is convicted of a charge and the U.S. Attorney can prove certain circumstances, the assigned penalty is the best punishment the defendant is eligible to receive.

For federal trafficking charges, the sentence typically depends on the type of drug involved in the offense, the amount of the drug possessed, whether anyone was seriously injured or killed and the number of prior offenses.

Certain trafficking offenses can carry a mandatory minimum of life in prison, including if the person accused of the offense is convicted of being a principal, organizer or leader of a continuing criminal enterprise. This sometimes is referred to as a “kingpin.”

When mandatory minimums are assigned to a charge, the judge typically does not have discretion in lowering the sentence, no matter the mitigating circumstances may exist. However, there are some ways in which an experienced federal drug crime lawyer can help you avoid the most severe penalties.

Finding the Best Columbus Federal Drug Crime Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested for a federal drug offense in Columbus or the surrounding areas, contact Columbus federal drug crime attorney Brian Joslyn of Joslyn Law Firm. Brian Joslyn has years of experience advocating on behalf of clients in a multitude of drug cases, and he knows what it takes to have charges reduced or dismissed.

Call 614-444-1900 to schedule a free consultation today. Brian Joslyn has offices in Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati, the same locations as the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio court locations. He can work one-on-one with you to ensure you understand the charges and how to build a strong defense in a federal drug crime case.

Annual Permits for Hotels and Motels Proposed to Deter Prostitution and Solicitation Crimes in Columbus

legs

Columbus officials are working to implement a new plan that would create stronger regulations on hotels and motels in the city in an attempt to curb solicitation and prostitution crimes occurring at the businesses, according to a recent article in the Columbus Dispatch.

The Columbus City Council plans to hold a hearing on the proposed law on July 30, 2015, after more than one year of planning and drafting. According to the article, the law would require annual permits for hotel and motel operators. If the business has a high crime rate, the permit to operate could be denied.

Officials who drafted the law studied a similar one that was adopted in Chula Vista, California, in 2006. The city, located near San Diego, can deny annual hotel and motel permits if officials decide the businesses had too many arrests related to drugs and prostitution. This regulation would be the first of its kind in Ohio.

Several Columbus area hotel and motel businesses have been involved in controversial crime stories in recent years. Three motels near the Interstate 71 and Route 161 interchange that were widely known as a site for drug and prostitution crimes have been closed by court order.

Law enforcement officers with the Columbus Ohio Division of Police typically use these locations for undercover sting operations. An undercover office may pose as a prostitute near the motel and another officer would arrest those who solicit him or her for sexual acts.

In many of these cases, an entrapment defense comes into play because the undercover police officers posing as prostitutes tend to use aggressive techniques to pursue the unsuspecting man to engage in conduct that could be considered soliciting a prostitute.

Ohio law states soliciting a prostitute is a third-degree misdemeanor for a first offense. This could be punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both. In these cases, the person does not have to be an actual prostitute for it to qualify as an offense.

For instance, if a person solicits an undercover police officer to engage in sexual activity in exchange for compensation, he or she still could face solicitation charges. Additionally, the compensation does not have to be money. It could be any type of good, service or object, including narcotics.

Ohio law also outlines loitering in an attempt to solicit a prostitute a criminal offense. According to state law, a person who is attempting to solicit another to engage in sexual activity for hire while in or near a public place cannot do any of the following:

  • Beckon to, stop or attempt to stop another person;
  • Engage or attempt to engage another in conversation;
  • Stop or attempt to stop a vehicle operator; or
  • Interfere with the passage of another.

A public place, according to the law, could mean a street, road, highway, bikeway, walkway, bridge, alley, plaza, park, driveway and a parking lot. Loitering near a hotel or motel with the intent to solicit a person for sexual activity could result in an arrest.

Although being accused of a solicitation or prostitution crime could feel like the end of the world, there are options for building a strong defense. Weakening the prosecution’s case before it even goes to trial could help to ensure your life remains on track. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.

Contact Columbus solicitation attorney Brian Joslyn of Joslyn Law Firm. Brian Joslyn has years of experience fighting for the rights of those accused of solicitation. He understands the sensitivity of your charges, and he will work with you discretely to solve your issues. Your future and reputation are important, and Brian can help you protect both. Call (614) 444-1900 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced Columbus solicitation defense attorney.

Pro-Marijuana Committee Collecting Signatures to Change Expungement Law

A pro-marijuana organization in Ohio plans to begin collecting signatures for a proposed law that would allow certain cannabis crimes to be expunged once the controlled substance becomes legal in The Buckeye State.

ResponsibleOhio, a political action committee trying to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in Ohio, has drafted what is referred to as the Fresh Start Act. This would allow those convicted of certain marijuana offenses to have those records expunged or destroyed, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The Ohio Ballot Board voted 3-2 Wednesday to give ResponsibleOhio permission to begin collecting the necessary 91,677 signatures of Ohio voters to move forward in the statute process. If approved, the expungement language would be separate from its original proposal to legalize marijuana.

The initial amendment would create the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission to regulate the acquisition, growth, cultivation, extraction, production, processing, manufacture, testing, distribution, retail sales, licensing and taxation of the substance and related products.

It also would legalize the use of medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions if a medical marijuana certification has been provided by the patient’s treating physician. Other states have included conditions such as cancer, AIDS and glaucoma.

Additionally, it would allow marijuana and marijuana-infused products for personal use in amounts of one ounce or less by people 21 years of age or older. It also would make it legal for those 21 years old or older to purchase, possess, transport, use and share one ounce or less with another person 21 years old or older.

Under the Fresh Start Act, those who have been convicted of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana could fight to have the record of the offense sealed. Currently, according to Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11, possession of less than 100 grams is a minor misdemeanor possession offense.

This minor misdemeanor currently is punishable by a fine up to $150. A first offense likely would not result in a jail sentence. Although it is a misdemeanor, a conviction could have serious consequences on a person’s future, and expunging the record could be beneficial.

Some argue the Fresh Start Act is not needed because minor possession offenses already can be sealed. In some cases, however, record sealing does not protect the person’s past enough. The information still can be found through background checks and internet searches. Expungement would be more thorough.

According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.32, a person currently may be eligible to seal his or her criminal record if he or she is a first time offender or a misdemeanor offender who has completed all of his or her sentencing requirements. A misdemeanor record would have to be sealed one year after completing the requirements.

Once the signatures have been verified, the Ohio General Assembly has four months to act on the law, according to the Columbus Dispatch. If the law is changed, rejected or not acted on, the committee would need to collect another 91,677 signatures to put the law before voters on the statewide ballot.

Handling Arrests and Weapons Charges After Red, White & Boom! Festival

Brightly colorful fireworks in the night sky

Each summer thousands of people gather in downtown Columbus for the Red, White & Boom! festival, an annual Independence Day event that includes the largest Fourth of July firework display in Ohio.

The festival features a variety of activities each year, including the Independence Parade that kicks off on the corner of Main Street and Second Street with more than 70 participants. The event also has a plethora of food and entertainment options before the firework finale.

With so many people in a condensed area, law enforcement officers will be plentiful. According to the Columbus Dispatch, police will be monitoring the event with cameras set up throughout the downtown area. Officers also will be present on foot, horseback, motorcycles and bicycles.

Sgt. Gregory DeRosier of the Columbus Division of Police said officers will be targeting people who are in possession of alcohol outside of the permitted areas, have laser pointers pointed at aircraft or have drones flying too close to restricted airspace near the fireworks launch point, according to the article.

Additionally, law enforcement officers will target any festival attendees who are in possession of firearms and weapons. Under Ohio law, firearms and weapons could include various types of deadly weapons, handguns and dangerous ordnances.

Ohio Revised Code § 2923.11 defines a dangerous ordnance as any automatic or sawed-off firearm, zip-gun, ballistic knife, explosive device, incendiary device, explosive chemicals, high explosive compositions, blasting agents, military weapons and any other explosive substance.

If a person knowingly carries or conceals any of these weapons or firearms on their body or within their control, such as in a purse or backpack, he or she could face charges for carrying a concealed weapon. According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.12, this could be a minor misdemeanor, misdemeanor of the first degree and felony of the fourth or third degree.

Columbus Deputy Police Chief Ken Kuebler said the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve are popular holidays for celebratory gunfire, according to the Columbus Dispatch. However, this is considered a criminal offense, punishable by a $500 fine and 60 days in jail.

A person could be charged with improper discharge of a firearm if he or she discharges it at or into an occupied habitation of an individual, in or into a school safety zone, at a cemetery, on a lawn or ground of an inhabited building and on or over a public road or highway.

Shooting a firearm within 1,000 feet of any school building or school premises, such as Columbus Downtown High School, with the intent to cause physical harm, panic or fear of physical harm to someone also could result in the charge.

These offenses are punishable as a misdemeanor of the fourth or first degree, or a felony of the third degree, second or first degree. However, if the firearm discharge causes an injury to someone, the charges could be much more severe.

No matter the charge, firearm and weapon crimes should be taken seriously. If you are arrested this weekend at the Red, White & Boom! festival in downtown Columbus for a firearm offense, contact criminal defense attorney Brian Joslyn of Joslyn Law Firm. As a member of the American Gun Owners Alliance, Brian is educated about gun laws, and he is skilled in defending people facing firearm charges. Call (614) 444-1900 to schedule a free consultation.