• Driving Under the Influence in Ohio [Infographic]

    Driving while under the influence of alcohol is not just a dangerous thing to do—it’s also illegal. In Ohio, law enforcement officials use the term OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence), and the penalties are steep. If you are facing your first Ohio drunk driving offense, you could be facing jail time and up to $1,075 in fines. Your license could also be suspended for as long as three years, and the penalties only get more severe for subsequent offenses. Check out this infographic to learn more about Ohio DUI laws, and why you need an experienced lawyer if you are facing charges. Please share with your friends and family.

    Driving Under the Influence in Ohio

  • What Types of Defenses Are Common in Domestic Violence Cases?

    Domestic violence laws in Columbus, Ohio, provide for severe legal penalties upon conviction, which may include time in jail or prison. After an accusation or arrest for domestic violence , it’s imperative to contact an attorney immediately. The sooner you contact a domestic violence attorney, the sooner he or she can get to work building effective legal strategies for your defense.

    Self-Defense Common Defenses in Domestic Violence

    One common defense strategy against domestic violence charges is that the defendant was acting in self-defense. In these cases, the lawyer can use evidence that shows that the other party intentionally inflicted physical harm and that the defendant exercised reasonable force to protect him- or herself. In self-defense situations, reasonable force is necessary. For example, if Mary slaps John, it is not considered reasonable force for John to shoot Mary. However, it might be considered reasonable force for John to push Mary back away from him.

    False Allegations

    Not all domestic violence allegations arise from actual incidents. In many cases, the accuser brings false allegations against the defendant. This is often done for personal revenge or to gain some sort of advantage, such as when the accuser is trying to deny the defendant the right to child custody or visitation. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, it’s important to be fully honest with your attorney about the circumstances, such as whether your accuser might have made deliberately false accusations. Your attorney can review the police reports and witness statements to look for inconsistencies in the accuser’s allegations.

    Burden of Proof

    Domestic violence allegations often boil down to one person’s word against the other. It isn’t actually necessary for your lawyer to prove that you are innocent. Like all criminal defendants, you are innocent until proven guilty. This means that it is the role of the prosecutor to prove your guilt. Your attorney can question the credibility of the prosecutor’s witnesses and physical evidence to raise a reasonable doubt about your guilt or innocence in the minds of the jurors.

  • What Minors Need to Know About DUI/OVI Penalties

    The legal drinking age is 21, but unfortunately, it’s all too easy for underage individuals to access alcohol. When underage drinking is combined with operation of a motor vehicle, serious accidents can result. When an individual under age 21 is charged, then operating a vehicle while under the influence (OVI) is referred to as the operation of a vehicle after underage consumption (OVUAC). This type of OVI charge may be brought when an underage person has allegedly been found with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02%. If you’re facing an OVUAC charge, talk to a DUI attorney in Columbus, Ohio, without delay.

    Pre-Trial Sanctions DUI/OVI

    Even before an underage OVI case goes to trial, the defendant can face pre-trial sanctions . Pending an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) hearing, the defendant’s driver’s license or permit can be suspended. The suspension may last between six months and three years. However, a DUI attorney can represent the defendant at the administrative hearing and argue in favor of the restoration of the driver’s license.

    First Offense

    A first offense is prosecuted as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. It is at the discretion of the court to decide whether to impose a jail term of up to 30 days or a fine of up to $250.

    Second Offense

    If an underage offender faces OVUAC charges for the second time within a year, then the prosecutor can pursue third-degree misdemeanor charges. The court can impose a class four judicial suspension, which is a definite suspension of the driver’s license or permit for one to five years. The court is given discretion to impose other penalties, which h might include a jail term of up to 60 days. The defendant may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500.

    Associated Charges

    It is possible for defendants who are facing OVUAC charges to be charged with other criminal offenses at the same time. Some common charges filed against underage drinkers include minor in possession of alcohol, solicitation of alcohol, and distribution of alcohol to other minors. The underage drinker may be charged with the possession of false identification and possibly child endangerment violations. These charges can bring additional legal penalties upon conviction.

  • How Prior Convictions Affect Domestic Violence Cases

    Domestic violence in Ohio is a very serious offense. If you’ve been charged with this crime, you’ll need to promptly inform your lawyer of any prior domestic violence convictions. Usually, a conviction of knowingly or recklessly causing harm to a family or household member is prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor and the threat of harm is prosecuted as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. If you have just one prior conviction of domestic violence, however, then knowingly or recklessly causing harm will be prosecuted as a fourth-degree felony and threatening to cause harm will be prosecuted as a second-degree misdemeanor.

    Two or more prior convictions of domestic violence will elevate the charges further. Charges of knowingly or recklessly inflicting harm will be prosecuted as a third-degree felony and threatening to cause harm will be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor. When charges are upgraded in this manner, defendants accused of domestic violence can expect to face much more severe legal penalties if they are convicted again.

    Domestic Violence

  • What Are Your Rights During Police Interactions?

    If you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in Columbus or if you’re interacting with police officers for any other reason, it’s important to be fully aware of your legal rights. You cannot assume that police officers will protect your legal rights; their job is to enforce Ohio DUI laws and other criminal laws, not to look out for your interests. One of the most important rights to exercise is your right to seek counsel from a DUI attorney. You can request that a DUI attorney be present during all police interrogations and court proceedings.

    To hear about your other two basic legal rights, watch this video. This expert explains the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which establish all citizens’ legal rights during police interactions.

  • What to Do at an OVI Traffic Stop

    Under criminal law in Ohio, operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) can apply to any individual who is suspected of being impaired while operating a car, bicycle, horse-drawn carriage, or any other vehicle-motorized or otherwise. If you have been pulled over on suspicion of OVI near Columbus, it’s essential that you keep calm and exercise your legal rights. Simple mistakes can increase the likelihood that you’ll end up facing an OVI charge . If you are arrested, remember to call a DUI attorney right away.

    Demonstrate Compliance OVI Traffic Stop

    As soon as you see flashing lights or hear a siren, take your foot off the gas pedal and pull over in a safe area. Remember to use your turn signal to let the police officer know that you are complying. Turn off your engine, but leave your lights on if it’s dark. Avoid moving around in your seat, and never reach for your license and registration until requested to do so. These actions might make the officer think that you are trying to hide contraband.

    Avoid Volunteering Information

    It’s inevitable that the police officer will ask you questions upon approaching your car window. Answer certain questions, such as those that ask you for your full name and address. However, do not volunteer information that could incriminate you. Many people assume that it’s all right to say that they had a glass of wine with dinner. But in fact, this only gives the officer probable cause to investigate the situation further. If you admit to drinking, the officer is then allowed to perform the field sobriety tests. Don’t argue with the police officer and always remain polite.

    Refuse Roadside Tests

    Another area where OVI suspects commonly make mistakes is when they are asked to take roadside sobriety tests. It’s often thought that these tests are mandatory, when in fact, they are not. These roadside tests include walking a straight line, balancing on one foot, and following the officer’s finger with your eyes. You are not required to take these tests; however, if the officer asks you to get out of your vehicle, you must comply.

    BAC Testing Information

    Ohio is an implied consent state, which means that you are presumed to have given your consent to BAC chemical testing. If you refuse, you can face penalties such as the suspension of your license for up to one year. However, your DUI attorney may be able to modify this license suspension and get you driving privileges for work and other necessary activities. If you do agree to the breathalyzer and your BAC is above the legal limit of .08, you face an additional charge of OVI per se. There are also more severe penalties for a “high test.” In summary, without a BAC test, you can be charged with OVI Impaired; with a BAC test, you can be charged with OVI Impaired and OVI per se. Be sure to weigh these options when considering whether to voluntarily take a breathalyzer test.

  • Protecting Your Rights When You’re Charged with Assault

    Criminal charges that involve physical harm or threatened physical harm can lead to serious penalties upon conviction. The most effective way to protect your legal rights in the wake of assault charges is to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney in the Columbus area can build an assault defense on your behalf. He or she will be present during interviews with police officers to ensure that you do not inadvertently say anything to compromise your assault defense. Your attorney will explain your legal rights, answer your questions, and represent you at your bail hearing to argue for your release pending your trial.

    Your criminal defense attorney will request the police reports, medical records of involved parties, and other evidence such as surveillance footage. He or she will review these items to begin crafting strategies for your legal defense. When you meet with your attorney, it’s important to be completely honest with your account of what happened. Tell your attorney about anything that might help your defense, such as the names and contact information of individuals who might testify on your behalf.

    Charged with Assault

  • Domestic Violence Laws

    If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in the Columbus area, you may be curious to know exactly how police officers determine your alleged impairment. In addition to looking for the signs of drunk driving such as erratic driving, police officers can use a Breathalyzer to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC).

    As you’ll learn when you watch this video, your BAC is a calculation of how much alcohol is present in your bloodstream. It’s expressed as a percentage, which is reflective of the volume of alcohol compared to the volume of blood. In other words, if an accused drunk driver allegedly has a BAC of 0.10 percent, this means that 0.10 percent of his or her blood is comprised of alcohol. There are a number of factors that can affect BAC. For instance, the more drinks a person has, the higher his or her BAC will be. Drinking and driving can be deadly, but every accused drunk driver has the legal right to representation from a DUI attorney.

  • Defining Different Types of Domestic Violence Laws

    Domestic Violence Laws A conviction for domestic violence in Columbus can affect your life for years to come. Long after you serve your time behind bars, domestic violence convictions can ruin your reputation and credibility, inhibit your ability to maintain employment, and destroy interpersonal relationships. Even the mere accusation of domestic violence can lead to serious repercussions, which is why it’s critical to contact a criminal defense attorney promptly after you’ve been charged or as soon as you think you might be under investigation for domestic violence.

    Causing or Attempting to Cause Physical Harm

    The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) defines domestic violence in section 2919.25. The first division in this section prohibits any individual from knowingly inflicting or attempting to inflict physical harm . This law is applicable when the alleged victim is a family or a household member. A family or household member can refer to anyone who is currently or has previously resided with the accused, including a spouse, former spouse, or person living as a spouse. It also includes parents, foster parents, and pregnant woman’s unborn child. A first offense of this nature is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. A second offense is prosecuted as a fourth-degree felony and a third offense is a third-degree felony. However, regardless of prior convictions, if the accused knew that the alleged victim was pregnant at the time of the alleged incident, then the offense is prosecuted as a fifth-degree felony.

    Recklessly Causing Serious Physical Harm

    The second division of the domestic violence law prohibits the reckless infliction of serious physical harm on a family or household member. Reckless actions refer to those that do not necessarily intend to inflict harm, but do so regardless. A first violation is prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor and a second conviction considered a fourth-degree felony. A third offense is a third-degree felony.

    Threatening Imminent Physical Harm

    The third division covers the use of the threat of force. It is illegal to use threats of force to knowingly place a family or household member in fear of imminent physical harm. Generally, this is prosecuted as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. A second offense of domestic violence is a second-degree misdemeanor and a third offense is a first-degree misdemeanor.

  • Ohio DUI Stops and Implied Consent Laws

    Before a police officer can pull you over on suspicion of drinking and driving, he or she must have probable cause. However, it’s relatively easy for a police officer to establish probable cause for drunk driving . For instance, a person could be pulled over for drinking and driving in the Columbus, Ohio area because a police officer observed that person swerving within a lane or failing to use a turn signal. Once the alleged drunk driver has been stopped, the officer can look for additional indicators of drinking and driving, such as the odor of alcohol.

    When an officer suspects a driver of being impaired, the officer can request that the driver take a chemical test. Under Ohio DUI laws, any person who operates any vehicle on public or private property is presumed to have already given consent for a chemical test. This is known as an implied consent law. If the suspected drunk driver refuses to take the test, he or she can face penalties in addition to drunk driving penalties. Additionally, after a test refusal, police officers have the legal authority to compel the driver to submit to a chemical test of whole blood, blood serum, or plasma. In most cases, police officers are immune to civil liability for claims of assault and battery when compelling compliance with a chemical test.

    DUI Stops