Just Because You Don’t Think It’s a Sex Crime, Does Not Mean It Isn’t: An Overview of Sexual Imposition Laws in Ohio

The average person has a general idea of what constitutes rape or sexual battery, but are not aware that certain reckless behavior or sexual contact with an impaired person constitutes the criminal offense of sexual imposition.

What is Sexual Imposition?

According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.06, it is a criminal offense for a person to have sexual contact, cause another person to have sexual contact, or cause two or more persons to have sexual contact with a person who is not their spouse when:

  • The alleged offender knew the sexual contact was offensive or the conduct was reckless;
  • The alleged offender knew the other person’s ability to control the offender’s conduct was substantially impaired;
  • The alleged offender knew the other person submitted because they were unaware of the sexual contact;
  • The alleged offender was at least 18 at the time of the offense and four or more years older than the other person, and the other person was 13 at the time of the offense but less than 16 years old; OR
  • The alleged offender is or was a mental health professional who induced a client or patient to believe the sexual conduct was necessary for mental health treatment.

Sexual Imposition Criminal Penalties

Sexual Imposition may be a misdemeanor of the first or third degree depending on the defendant’s previous sexual offense convictions. A first degree misdemeanor is punishable up to 180 days in jail and a fine of no more than $1,000. A third degree misdemeanor is punishable up to 60 days in jail and a fine of no more than $500.

Ohio Sexual Imposition Cases

While the aforementioned statute appears straight forward, there has been much debate over what constitutes sexual imposition and the evidence necessary to support a criminal conviction.

It is well established in Ohio law that a person cannot be convicted of sexual imposition solely based on the testimony of the alleged victim, but how much evidence is necessary to support a sexual imposition conviction? Does an alleged victim have to prove force or injury?

In the cases below, the Ohio Supreme Court has clarified the elements of a sexual imposition conviction and corroborating evidence necessary to support a sexual imposition conviction.

State v. Economo, 76 Ohio St.3d 56, 666 N.E.2d 225 (Ohio, 1996)

In State v. Economo a medical doctor was convicted of two counts of sexual imposition after he allegedly inappropriately touched a female patient during two office visits. He allegedly massaged her private areas and rubbed his pant-covered erect penis on her arm. The Court in Economo reasoned the aforementioned conduct was offensive and reckless.

The defendant in Economo argued that the aforementioned conduct could not be corroborated other than by testimony of the alleged victim and her sister. The Court rejected his argument stating that sexual imposition is different from other sexual offenses as it does not involve force. A victim of sexual imposition will likely not have any bruises or marks to evidence the attack.

The Court reasoned that the other evidence, including proof that the victim had a doctor’s appointment with the defendant on the dates of the alleged assaults, the victim and the defendant had a 2-year patient-physician relationship, the victim’s fear of being alone in an exam room with the defendant, and the sister’s testimony that the victim was near tears after the appointment was sufficient proof the sexual imposition occurred. The defendant’s sexual imposition conviction was reinstated.

State v. Guenther, 2006 Ohio 767 (OH 2/22/2006), 2006 Ohio 767 (OH, 2006)

The defendant in Guenther was convicted of one count of sexual imposition and one count of gross imposition. The defendant allegedly inappropriately touched a female co-worker inappropriately on at least three occasions.

According to the testimony of the testimony of the victim, the defendant touched the victim’s breast by rubbing his chest against hers on one occasion. On the second occasion another male blocked the victim from exiting the room and the defendant touched the victim’s breast. On the third occasion the defendant prevented the victim from exiting her chair so he could touch her breasts in a small room.

The victim’s testimony was corroborated by the workplace supervisor, who had not witnessed the inappropriate touching, but was aware the victim was visibly shaken around the defendant. The supervisor was also afraid of the defendant and attempted to prevent his access to the victim.

The Court in Guenther reasoned the aforementioned evidence was sufficient to support his conviction and affirmed his conviction of sexual imposition and gross sexual imposition.

Conclusion

A sexual imposition case is fact intensive and requires a strong defense. While you may be falsely accused or your actions may have been misinterpreted, this may not be properly heard or believed by the jury in criminal court.

It is highly recommended to consult an experienced sexual imposition defense attorney if you are facing sexual imposition or gross sexual imposition charges in Ohio. Brian Joslyn of the Joslyn Law Firm is a trial proven sex crimes defense attorney.

Brian Joslyn has years of experience defending individuals facing sexual imposition charges. He is familiar with the tactics of the sex crimes investigators and prosecutors. He will skillfully examine all the evidence against you and develop the strongest defense possible.

If you have been charged with any sex crime, including sexual imposition, gross sexual imposition, rape, or child pornography contact the Joslyn Law Firm immediately at 614-444-1900 for a free evaluation of your case.

The Joslyn Law Firm diligently defends individuals throughout Ohio, including Franklin County, Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County.

References:

State v. Economo, 76 Ohio St.3d 56, 666 N.E.2d 225 (Ohio, 1996)

State v. Guenther, 2006 Ohio 767 (OH 2/22/2006), 2006 Ohio 767 (OH, 2006)

Because Ladies Lie: Eliminating Vestiges of the Corroboration and Resistance Requirements from Ohio’s Sexual Offenses, Cleveland State Law Review, 2014.

 

Second Amendment and Gun Rights of Ohio Residents

Ohio Lawmakers Amend Gun Crime LawsThe Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, which grants Americans the right to keep and bear arms, has been a constant topic of debate since it’s ratification in 1791.

Originally, construed to allow individuals the right to keep and bear arms connected to necessary militia service, the United States Supreme Court held in 2008 that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms unconnected with service in a militia. Further, the Supreme Court held that an individual may use arms for traditionally, lawful purposes, such as self-defense within a home.

Despite the Supreme Court’s relatively recent clarification of the Second Amendment, there continues to be much debate regarding gun ownership, including whether a person should have an individual right to own a firearm, whether individual firearm ownership contributes to gun violence, and whether additional restrictions should be placed on individuals to prevent mass shootings and other catastrophic events.

Why is there a debate in the first place?

There involves considerable debate regarding the Second Amendment for multiple reasons. First, the Second Amendment was drafted over 225 years ago. The United States was an entirely different place in 1791. The American Revolutionary War, during which the United States ceded from Great Britain, ended only eight years prior. The United States had been involved in a domestic war called the Northwest Indian War against numerous Native American tribes for five years. Also, the United States only consisted of fourteen states.

Regular, non-military Americans, living in this new country with wild and unchartered terrain, were often the only line of defense in their town or village during times of war. This historical context has caused many persons to believe the drafters of the Second Amendment intended for individuals to keep and bear arms connected to a militia only.

Advocates of gun restrictions and limitations often assert contemporary Americans are no longer responsible for the defense of their towns and villages. Americans have law enforcement and military personnel to respond to emergency situations and threats to security.

Pro-gun advocates (persons who support the individual right to bear arms) assert the nature of threats have changed since 1791. While an individual is not responsible for the protection of an entire village or town, he or she is responsible for self-defense and the defense of their home.

Gun Rights in Ohio

The state of Ohio would be considered a “Pro-Gun” state. There are few restrictions and prohibitions regarding gun ownership in the state of Ohio.  The Ohio State Constitution provides:

The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

An individual age 21 or older may purchase handgun without a permit in the state of Ohio. Without a license the individual may only carry the weapon at his or her home. To carry or possess the weapon outside of the home, the individual must obtain a permit. Ohio is considered a “traditional open carry state”, which means with valid permit a gun owner may openly carry a firearm in public or engage in concealed carry, where the firearm is not visible to the casual observer.

To qualify for a permit, an individual must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Must be at least 21 years of age
  2. Must be an Ohio resident for 45 days
  3. Must be a resident in home county for 30 days
  4. Must complete required education course and obtain a certificate
  5. Pass a criminal background check
  6. Pass a mental competency check

Common Firearm Related Charges

Despite the pro-gun laws in Ohio, there are several criminal charges that may result from unlawful possession of a firearm, including:

  • Improper Discharge of a Firearm: While Ohio does have relatively relaxed gun laws, there are several places an individual may not fire or discharge a firearm, including the occupied habitation of another, a school zone, within 1,000 feet of a school building (with intent to cause physical harm, panic, or fear), over a cemetery, and a public road or highway.
  • Using Firearms While Intoxicated: An individual may not possess or use a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is not required that the individual be intoxicated or have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.08.
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon: Generally, an individual convicted of violent felony or any drug-related offense or under the indictment of a violent felony or any drug related offense may not possess a firearm

Other Persons Not Permitted to Possess a Firearm

There are also specific classes of persons who may not possess a firearm. Should the following classes of persons be found in possession of a firearm, he or she will be subject to criminal charges:

  • Drug dependent person
  • Chronic Alcoholic
  • Person who has been adjudicated mentally incompetent
  • Any person who has been committed to a mental institution
  • A fugitive from justice

Conclusion

The debate regarding gun rights and the limitations with undoubtedly continue. To avoid criminal charges, it is important to be knowledge about the constant legislative changes.

Brian Joslyn of Joslyn Law Firm is an experience criminal defense attorney and member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). He proudly represents clients facing all types of firearm offenses, including carry a concealed weapon, improper discharge of a weapon, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Brian Joslyn and the attorneys of the Joslyn Law Firm represent individuals facing firearms charges throughout Ohio, including Franklin County, Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County and Fairfield County.

If you are facing any firearms charges, contact the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 for a confidential review of your case.

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.

Proposed Bills Aim to Change Heroin Laws and Decrease Overdoses in Ohio

drug-varieties

Lawmakers in Ohio are proposing legislation this session aimed at curbing the use of heroin and the abuse of some medically prescribed drugs with the goal of reducing the number of drug overdoses in the state.

One bill directly related to overdoses is the Good Samaritan Bill. The bill, according to Cincinnati.com, would prevent law enforcement from incriminating a person for drug possession if he or she calls emergency services to report an overdose.

A similar bill failed to pass in the previous Ohio General Assembly session because some lawmakers feared it would enable drug use, according to the article. However, others have argued it is needed because drug users sometimes fail to call for help if a companion overdoses.

The bill, however, would have some restrictions. For example, so as to not assist those who could potentially be dealing or selling drugs, the law would not protect those who have more than one gram of heroine, according to the article.

Also, if a person who called for medical help is on probation at the time for a prior offense, he or she would not necessarily be sentenced to jail. A treatment option would be considered as an alternate to incarceration.

Another bill making its way through the legislature is looking to decrease the minimum amount of heroin involved in a trafficking in heroin or possession of heroin violation that could make the offense a felony of the first degree, which is necessary to classify an offender as a major drug offender.

According to Cincinnati.com, House Bill 171 is looking to reduce by 60 percent the amount of heroin that could lead to an 11-year incarceration period.  Under current law, a person who possesses between 50 and 2,500 doses of heroin will be charged with a first-degree felony. This could mean between three and 11 years in prison.

However, the proposed bill would decrease the upper limit to 1,000 doses or 100 grams, which would be similar to penalties for cocaine offenses. Some supporters of the law argue having fewer people incarcerated means more money could be spent on treatment services.

House Bill 4, which also has been proposed in an effort to decrease drug overdoses, would modify existing laws governing the authority to dispense or furnish naloxone, which is used for heroin or other opioid overdoses.

Under House Bill 4, prescribers do not have to be present, which would allow the drug to be more widely distributed to people and those close to drug users who are at risk of an overdose, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

A naloxone bill that the legislature passed last session increased access to the drug. Now, some programs throughout the state distribute the substance. However, this bill would make it more accessible.

Additionally, another bill could require insurance companies to pay for special formulas of pain pills that cannot be crushed, even if they are more expensive than a generic brand. This could be a way to help reduce the abuse of pain medication, some supports say.

Even though changes have been proposed in the legislature, current laws have harsh punishments for the possession and distribution of heroin. If you are charged with either offense, you could face series penalties. Contact Columbus heroin defense lawyer Brian Joslyn at (614) 444-1900 to learn more about how to fight heroin charges.

Ohio Organizations Pushing for More Comprehensive Juvenile Justice Data

iStock_000001144891Small

Juvenile justice groups throughout Ohio are advocating for the creation of a more comprehensive statewide juvenile justice data system that would track more than just the number of cases being handled.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, each Ohio county has its own method of how it collects data, what it collects and the way it tracks data related to juvenile cases.  The state Supreme Court requires each county court to collect and report basic information about the number of delinquency cases heard each year and how many have been cleared.

However, the Juvenile Justice Coalition of Ohio and the Ohio Juvenile Justice Alliance want an improved system across the state. Erin Davies, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Coalition of Ohio, said the issue with the current data that is being collected is there are no demographics, ages, race or ethnicity listed in the cases, according to the article.

Juveniles accused of crimes in Columbus likely would be handled in the Franklin County Juvenile Court. Franklin County is one of eight counties in the state that will join the national Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The goal of the initiative is to reduce unnecessary detention of juveniles, and that is based heavily on analyzing data collection. According to the article, Franklin County soon will upgrade its technology to have a better tracking system, which could begin in approximately 18 months.

In Ohio, juvenile offenders could be labeled juvenile delinquents. These generally are children who violate the laws of Ohio or federal laws that would be an offense if committed by an adult, except a juvenile traffic offender according to Ohio Revised Code § 2152.02.

Juveniles who commit certain acts at certain ages, but who are not transferred to an adult court for the offense, could be considered serious youthful offenders under Ohio Revised Code § 2152.02. These offenders could be taken into custody and either brought to a detention center or released to a guardian.

A date for an adjudicatory hearing must be set within 72 hours of the child being detained. At this hearing, the court will determine if the juvenile has violated a law that would be an offense as adult and if the juvenile is required to be held in a detention center.

Juveniles have the right to have an attorney present throughout the proceedings and when they present their case to a judge. They can use evidence and witnesses to present their defense in the case. After an adjudicatory hearing, the juvenile judge will hold a hearing to determine a sentence.

Tracking the information related to juvenile cases could be important in learning beneficial ways to reform these offenders. Rather than simply punishing someone convicted of a crime, the juvenile system focuses or rehabilitation. This data could be informative as to the best ways to do it.

Proposed Bill Could Increase Prison Sentences for Violent Crimes and Firearm Offenses in Ohio

A bill proposed in the Ohio Legislature is seeking to implement additional prison sentences for repeat violent offenders and those convicted of firearm offenses.

Senate Bill 97, which is sponsored by state Sen. Jim Hughes and Sen. Frank LaRose, will allow the state to actively decrease the number of violent repeat offenders, Hughes said. According to The Daily Advocate, Hughes said the bill would help protect members of society from violent crime.

The Violent Career Criminal Act would classify any adult who has been convicted of at least two violent felonies as a “Violent Career Criminal.” In Ohio, violent felonies could include kidnapping, assault, aggravated assault, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, murder, homicide and robbery.

A  Violent Career Criminal could be someone who within the preceding eight years has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more violent felony offenses that are separated by intervening sentences and are not so closely related to each other and connected in time and place that they constitute a course of criminal conduct.

After being labeled a Violent Career Criminal, if a person commits an additional felony offense, under the proposed legislation he or she would be sentenced to an additional two to 11 years of mandatory prison time upon the discretion of the sentencing judge.

According to the bill, if someone is convicted of a firearm offense and he or she already has a firearm conviction, the mandatory prison term would increase by 50 percent. Some examples of common firearm offenses in Ohio include:

If someone is labeled a violent career criminal, he or she would not be able to own a firearm, according to the proposed bill. They also would not have able to have, carry or use any type of firearm or dangerous weapon. Doing so could mean additional criminal charges and penalties.

Currently, a convicted felon in Ohio is not allowed to possess a firearm. According to According to Ohio Revised Code §2923.13, no person shall knowingly acquire, have, carry or use any firearm or dangerous ordnance, if any of the following apply:

  • The person is a fugitive from justice
  • The person is drug dependent or a chronic alcoholic
  • The person is under adjudication of mental incompetence or has been found to be mentally ill
  • The person is under indictment for or has been convicted of any felony offense of violence or the illegal possession, use, sale, administration, distribution or trafficking in any drug of abuse

The charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is classified as a felony of the third degree. This charge, if convicted, comes with a presumptive sentence of up to 5 years in prison, fines of up to $10,000 or both.

If this bill passes, offenders could face even harsher penalties and more extensive prison sentences. The best way to avoid these drastic consequences is to avoid a conviction. If you are charged with a violent offense or a firearm crime, contact an experience Columbus criminal defense attorney.

Proposed Marijuana Legalization Could Create Millions in Tax Revenue, Says Supporters

A constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana could lead to more than $550 million in annual tax revenue, according to some of the amendment’s supporters.

ResponsibleOhio, a committee trying to legalize marijuana for personal and medicinal use in Ohio, released initial tax revenue projections for its legalization proposal, saying the plan could generate $554 million each year, according to Cleveland.com.

Under the proposal, marijuana would be taxed 15 percent at production and manufacturing facilities and 5 percent at retail locations. Tax revenues would be used toward local governments, addiction services and marijuana research.

According to Cleveland.com, county and local governments would receive $476 million of the estimated $554 million annual tax revenue. The remaining $78 million would be used in addiction prevention services, care for medical patients, marijuana law enforcement and research.

ResponsibleOhio estimates more than 269 tons of recreational and medical marijuana would be used in Ohio each year beginning in 2020, the year it is predicting the new market will stabilize. The amendment would legalize purchase, possession and use of up to 1 ounce for adults over age 21 and medical marijuana patients.

Although states throughout the country are reforming their marijuana laws, the substance still is illegal in Ohio and through federal law. This means a person currently in possession of the substance in almost any form, no matter the amount, could face marijuana charges.

If a person is charged with possession of marijuana for the first time, according to Ohio Revised Code §2925.11, the penalties would be determined by the amount of marijuana allegedly in his or her possession. If the person has a clean criminal record, there may be a chance to have his or her record sealed.

If a person is accused of possessing less than 200 grams of marijuana, he or she could face misdemeanor possession charges. Although this offense may seem minor, it can carry up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. This also could mean a criminal record, which could affect a person’s ability to secure a job.

Consequences for felony possession of marijuana charges in Ohio are much more severe and can have serious consequences. In Ohio, possession of more than 200 grams of marijuana is a felony. The minimum charge for felonious possession of marijuana can result in a 12-month jail sentence.

The more marijuana a person is accused of possessing, the more severe the charge. For instance, if a person is accused of having more than 20,000 grams of marijuana, he or she could face second-degree felony charges, resulting in a mandatory eight-year prison sentence and $15,000 in fines.

In most instances, the charges and corresponding penalties for marijuana crimes are determined by the amount of marijuana involved in the alleged offense. Other serious marijuana charges in Ohio could include:

  • Cultivation/manufacture
  • Possession with intent to sell
  • Trafficking in marijuana

It is important to know the current laws in your state and the states around you. Although some areas of the country, such as Colorado, have made recreational and medical marijuana legal, it still is a criminal offense in most parts of the country. Any charge of possession, trafficking or cultivating could mean severe criminal penalties.

If you have been charged with a marijuana offense in Ohio, you should consult a Columbus marijuana defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense in your case and fight the accusations against you.

Proposed Bill Seeking Cell Phone Restrictions for Drivers

Ohio drivers could have new restrictions when getting behind the wheel if a bill seeking to ban cell phone use in some areas and make texting while driving a primary traffic offense gains support in the legislature.

House Bill 637, sponsored by State Representative Rex Damschroder, would prohibit the use of any electronic wireless communication device in a school zone during hours when children are present and in a construction zone during hours of actual work.

This means drivers would not be allowed to talk on the phone or use a handheld electronic device for any reason in those areas. Texas and Arkansas already have banned cell phone use in school zones. Illinois also banned cell phone use while driving in both zones before banning it all together.

The proposed bill also would make reading or writing a text-based message a primary offense for all drivers. For example, if a person is stopped at a red light and he or she decides to send a text message, the driver could be ticketed if a law enforcement officer witnesses it.

The traffic offense would be considered a minor misdemeanor. The penalties for the offense could include a fine of $150 and a class seven driver’s license suspension. Under this suspension, an Ohio driver may lose the right to legally get behind the wheel for up to one year.

The proposed law is slightly different from what the state currently has in place. As of now, texting while driving in Ohio is a violation, but it is a secondary offense for adults. This means drivers must be stopped for another offense before they can be ticketed for illegally texting.

For instance, a driver cannot be pulled over only for texting while driving.  Because it is a secondary offense, the driver must be suspected of committing a primary offense, such as speeding or reckless operation, before he or she could be stopped. Once stopped, a ticket can be issued for texting while driving.

Currently there are several instances in which texting while driving laws do not apply. These also would be exempt under the new law. A person using a device for emergency purposes would not be ticketed. The emergency purpose could include contacting law enforcement, a hospital or a fire department.

Drivers who use handheld communication devices in the course of his or her duties in a public safety vehicle, such as a law enforcement officer, and those who use devices for their jobs while operating commercial trucks also would not be included in the texting while driving ban.

Some people have been concerned this bill will conflict with drivers who use their mobile devices for navigation. However, the new bill, just as the existing law, would exclude drivers from facing texting while driving charges if he or she is using the device as a GPS.

The accusation of texting while driving can carry a heavy social stigma as law enforcement agencies throughout the country try to decrease the use of electronic devices while driving. Proving the crime can be hard, and a criminal defense attorney can help you build a defense.

For more information about the proposed legislation, read House Bill 637 here.

Sisters Brutally Assaulted in Ohio

Police in Cincinnati Ohio have issued an arrest warrant for a 25 year old woman who they say brutally assaulted two sisters outside of an apartment building. The incident was recorded on a cell phone and the alleged offender can be seen, along with a group of females, punching and kicking the victims numerous times.

Crimes of this nature are common in certain parts of Ohio. One of the most commonly committed violent crimes is assault.  According to the Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.13, assault occurs when an individual intentionally causes or attempts to cause bodily injury to another person.

In the situation mentioned above, the alleged offenders were said to have repeatedly kicked the victims in the head. Under Ohio law, this could lead to an upgraded charge of aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is defined by Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.12 as causing or attempting to cause serious physical harm to someone with a weapon, or by use of dangerous or excessively violent actions.

In most cases, assault is considered a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or fines up to $1,000. However, aggravated assault is typically charged as a fourth degree felony, and could lead to between six to 18 months in prison, and/or fines up to $5,000.

If assault occurs against a law enforcement officer or any other peace officer, the alleged offender can be charged with fourth degree felony.  An individual who commits aggravated assault against a peace officer can face third degree felony charges, and if convicted, can be sentenced to between one to five years in prison, and/or be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000.

Today, technology is more prevalent than ever before.  With a camera on nearly every cell phone, it has become increasingly common for individuals to be charged with a crime based on footage recorded from a phone. In these cases, it is extremely important to have an attorney representing you who has the knowledge and skill necessary to help you through a difficult situation.

Although video footage can be a difficult obstacle to overcome, there are defense options available to you. In some cases, your defense attorney may be able to successfully argue that the footage shows you acted in self-defense, the evidence was obtained illegally, or that the individual in the video is not you.

Due to the serious penalties an assault case can bring, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately following your arrest. Whether you feel as though you were provoked, acting in self-defense, or falsely accused, individuals charged with assault should not hesitate to contact a defense attorney in Ohio who can assistant them in presenting their side of the story in a compelling way.

The Basics of Extradition Procedures in Ohio

Although extradition is not an issue faced by the majority of those arrested, the process is unfamiliar to most people. With a daunting scenario hanging over the heads of those threatened by this process, it can be confusing to understand what extradition involves.

Extradition is a process that occurs when an individual is transferred to another state where that person has a warranted issued against them. This procedure can be lengthy and require a large amount of time and resources for the government. That is why, although extradition can be employed against any individual wanted by another state, it is usually only fully realized against those wanted for felonies or other serious offenses.

The state procedures for extradition are outlined in Ohio Revised Code §§ 2963.01 – 2963.35, and these rules generally follow those set forth in the United States Uniform Extradition Act(UCEA). The UCEA is a measure taken to standardize the extradition processes of each state in an effort to minimize confusion and clerical errors. The steps followed by each state may vary slightly, but most of them follow the ones listed in the UCEA, which generally include these stages:

-State requesting fugitive issues valid arrest warrant
-Requesting state’s governor or entity of equivalent authority issues valid formal written request
-Accused is arrested and provided due process rights such as an attorney
-Accused is given option to waive right to due process through extradition waiver
-If accused refuses waiver of extradition, court examines case for sufficient supporting facts and legal compliance
-Requesting state must take custody and transport the accused within 30 days of the extradition waiver or supporting fact hearing

Due to the expensive and lengthy process of extraditing an individual, courts are often eager to consider alternative to this scenario. A criminal defense attorney can seek out this other options on your behalf, such as pretrial intervention, seeking to dismiss the charges against you, or negotiating your voluntary appearance in exchange for withdrawal of the extradition request. Having an experienced defense lawyer on your side can be imperative when facing the possibility of extradition.