Driver Not Guilty of Murder for Ramming Two People With His Car in 2013

montez-hollins

Montez Hollins pleads not guilty of murder when he was protecting his fiancee and another woman with them from an armed gunman and accomplice by using his vehicle to slam into the two people.  After a few hours of deliberation among the jury, Hollins was acquitted in the murder of Jason Barry Sr. and attempted murder and felonious assault for injuring Barry’s wife, Kistina Petree which all took place in a West Side shopping center two years prior.

Read More about this article in The Columbus Dispatch.

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.

Proposed Ohio Bill Would Allow Concealed Carry Without Permits

Weapons

Ohio legislators have proposed a bill earlier this legislative session that would allow some residents in the state to carry a concealed firearm without a permit and without the appropriate training.

According to Cleveland.com, House Bill 147 would allow anyone age 21 or older in Ohio to carry any concealed firearm not specifically banned by law. This, however, would not apply if the person has been banned from legally possessing a firearm, such as a convicted felon.

The bill, which was introduced last week, would be a significant shift from the existing law. Currently, those who wish to legally carry a concealed firearm must obtain a permit from their local sheriff’s department. Before this can be acquired, he or she must complete eight hours of safety training.

A person could be charged with carrying a concealed weapon under Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.12 if he or she does not have a permit and knowingly carries or has:

  • A deadly weapon besides a handgun
  • A handgun other than a dangerous ordnance
  • A dangerous ordnance

This gun crime currently is punishable as a minor misdemeanor, misdemeanor of the first degree, felony of the fourth degree or felony of the third degree, depending on the specific circumstances of a case. This could mean jail time, expensive fines and more restrictions.

The permit and training processes would not be required if the proposed bill actually became a law. This means a large portion of the population would be able to legally possess a concealed firearm without having to undergo a training process.

The proposed bill also would prohibit law enforcement officers from searching people or seizing the weapon simply because they are carrying a legal firearm. Landlords could not prohibit tenants from carrying or possessing a gun.

Under current law, if a person is carrying a concealed firearm and is stopped by law enforcement, the individual must immediately inform the officer that he or she has been licensed to carry a handgun and currently possesses the gun, according to Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.12(B).

If a person is carrying a concealed firearm and is stopped by law enforcement, according to current law, he or she must not knowingly disregard or fail to comply with any lawful order of the officer while the person is stopped.

Additionally, if a person is carrying a concealed firearm and is approached by law enforcement, the person must keep their hands in plain sight while interacting with the officer. He or she also cannot remove the gun from a holster nor have any sort of contact with the firearm, unless told by the officer to do so.

If a person violates any of these requirements, he or she could be charged with a minor misdemeanor, misdemeanor of the first degree or felony of the fifth degree. In addition, his or her concealed license may be suspended.

All of these requirements can become a little hazy if the bill passes. Once it is not a requirement to have a permit, the way law enforcement officers handle citizens who are carrying concealed weapons could change. Some of the laws will remain the same, including where possession is prohibited.

For instance, possession of a firearm in a school zone, no matter the lack of permit requirement, still is a violation. Carrying a concealed firearm in a courthouse or a building in which a courtroom is located also would be a violation.

If the bill is approved, Ohio would become the sixth state to change its laws allowing more residents to own and possess concealed firearms. For more information about the proposed legislation, read House Bill 147 here.

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.

Violent Crime Incidences Decreasing Throughout Ohio, FBI reports

Ohio reported more than 30,000 incidents of violent crime in 2013, but according to a recent report from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, The Buckeye State still had a decrease in violent offenses compared to the previous year.

The FBI’s annual report released late last year shows Ohio’s violent crime rate in 2013 dropped more than 8 percent from the previous year, according to Cleveland.com. The state reported nearly 32,000 violent crime incidents, compared to the nearly 35,000 from the previous year.

Violent crime in this report is composed of four offenses:  murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. These offenses are considered some of the most heinous crimes in Ohio, and they carry some of the harshest penalties.

The state recorded 455 cases of murder and non-negligent manslaughter in 2013, according to the FBI report.  Murder, an unclassified felony, is one of the most heavily penalized crimes in Ohio, carrying a prison sentence of up to life in prison, a fine of up to $25,000 or both.

A person can be charged with murder if he or she causes the death of another person on purpose or intentionally, or if he or she causes the death of another person during the commission of a felony of the second or first degree.

For example, if a person deliberately and fatally shoots another with the intent to kill him or her, the shooter would face murder charges. Additionally, if a person fatally shoots someone while in the process of kidnapping, which is a first-degree felony, he or she also could face murder charges.

Ohio reported more than 6,800 incidences of rape last year, according to the FBI report.  A person can be charged with rape in Ohio if he or she engages in sexual conduct with another person when the offender purposely makes the other person submit by force or threat of force, according to Ohio Revised Code § 2907.02.

Rape charges also could apply if a person engages in sexual conduct with someone who is not a spouse, or is a spouse but lives separately, and:

  • The other person is younger than 13 years old
  • He or she substantially impairs that person’s judgment or control  to prevent resistance through the use of drugs, controlled substances or intoxicant by force, threat of force or deception
  • The alleged offender knows or has reason to believe the other person’s ability to resist or consent is impaired by mental or physical condition, such as being intoxicated, or advanced age

Additionally, life in prison is a penalty a person could face if he or she is charged with rape, a first-degree felony, if the victim is younger than 10 years old. If the victim is compelled through force, threat or a controlled substance, the offender would not face less than 5 years in prison.

Robbery can be a felony of the first, second or third degree, according to Ohio Revised Code § 2911.02. The state reported more than 14,000 incidences in 2013. If a person commits a theft and has a deadly weapon, causes or threatens harm or uses force against someone during the crime, the charge could be upgraded to robbery.

The state also reported more than 14,000 aggravated assault crimes for 2013. Aggravated assault is a less serious violent crime, although it still is a felony offense. A person can be charged with the crime if he or she causes or attempts to cause harm to another person, with or without a weapon, according to Ohio Revised Code § 2903.12.

Any time a person faces criminal charges, the allegations should be taken seriously. However, facing charges for a violent crime can have a significant impact on a person’s future. A conviction could change his or her life forever. Even being charged with the offense could have an impact on the social and professional aspects of a person’s life.

If you are facing charges for a violent crime in Ohio, contact an experienced Columbus violent crime defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm. We can help you through the grueling process and make sure all options are available to you in your defense. Call (614) 444-1900 to discuss your unique case.

Ohio Program Helps Violent Crime Victims Get Compensation

Violent crime reports in major Ohio cities have decreased in the past two years, but victims of certain violent attacks still could seek compensation for the losses they incurred because of the crimes.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office offers the Crime Victims Compensation Program which allows people who are victims of violent crimes to apply for compensation to help with various costs associated with the crimes.

In Ohio, violence crimes are offenses that are taken seriously. The broad term can include burglary, robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, domestic violence and murder. Those who become victims of those crimes can have several long-term effects, including medical bills, lost wages and counseling.

According to WBNS-10TV in Columbus, the office fulfilled more than 3,300 requests last year, paying an average of $2,700 per claim.  The maximum total payments are limited to $50,000, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s website, and several expenses have caps.

This program is designed to help victims regain control of their lives after an unfortunate event. The program can help cover the costs crime scene clean up for personal security, replacing of items used as evidence and replacing of clothing damages as a result of medical treatment.

Medical-related expenses, including hearing aids, eyeglasses, dental appliances, walkers, wheelchairs or other mobility equipment also could be covered by the program. If a person qualifies, he or she also could receive funding for counseling for immediate family members of victims and if necessary funeral and burial costs.

However, there are guidelines to determine who is eligible. Victims who are injured as a result of a violent crime or claimants responsible for the victim’s expenses, such as parents or guardians, could be eligible to receive a payment. In some situations, dependents of homicide victims could be eligible for the program.

If the victim has a felony conviction or a child endangerment or domestic violence conviction within 10 years prior to the crime or while the crime is pending, he or she may not be eligible. In addition, if a person does not report the crime or refuses to cooperate with law enforcement, he or she may not be eligible for compensation.

Payments through the program cannot be made for pain and suffering or for stolen, damaged or lost property. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office will not pay victims for expenses that can be covered by other sources, such as medical bills that can be covered by insurance.

There have been changes to the programs in recent years, including removing the prior requirement in which victims had to apply to the program within two years of the crime. Now, there is no limitation and the victim can apply any time after the occurrence of the crime.

For more information about the Ohio Attorney General’s Crime Victims Compensation Program, visit the Ohio Attorney General’s website.

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.