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Posts tagged "changes to Ohio DUI laws"

No Time Limit On Charging Crimes When One Flees To Avoid Prosecution

There is no time limit on charging crimes when one flees to avoid prosecution. In State v. Bess, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Ohio law tolls or stops the running of the statutes of limitations when the offender purposefully avoids prosecution. This applies to crimes that had not yet been charged or even discovered, as long as the offender purposefully avoids prosecution. In this case, Bess learned in 1989 that he was being investigated for raping a young girl. He fled to Georgia and assumed a false identity in order to avoid prosecution. He was indicted later that same year. He remained in Georgia until he was arrested in 2007 and returned to Ohio. During trial preparation, the prosecutor interviewed the girl’s brother and learned for the first time that he too was raped by Bess. A second indictment charged Bess with that rape. Bess was convicted. While there was no question that the State of Ohio could try Bess for rape of the girl, the real question was whether he could be charged and convicted of a crime eighteen years after he purposefully fled to avoid prosecution. The Ohio Supreme Court said that he could be charged and convicted in this manner because he purposefully fled the jurisdiction to avoid prosecution. (more…)

Automatic Lifetime Registration For Juvenile Sex Offenders Is Unconstitutional

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that automatic lifetime registration for juvenile sex offenders is unconstitutional. In their decision, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that automatically imposing a lifetime registration requirement for a juvenile sex offender amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and violates the juvenile’s right to due process of law. In 2006, Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act, also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORN). In 2008, Ohio became the first state to adopt a law that followed SORN. When the Ohio Supreme Court reviewed this law in its 2012 decision, it noted that most of the states refused to pass similar laws, opposing the lifetime sex offender registration and notification requirements for juveniles. This national consensus of rejecting automatic lifetime registration requirements for juveniles was the first of two factors the Court used to strike down this portion of the law. The second step was to look at the court’s own independent judgment on whether this punishment violates the Constitution. In doing so, the Court determined that: (1) the lifetime registration requirement was much more likely to hinder than to help juveniles obtain stable employment and reintegrate into their communities after their release from custody; (2) was contrary to past decisions that held that juveniles should be treated as less morally capable than adults; and (3) was contrary to the juvenile justice system’s primary purpose of rehabilitation rather than punishment. This analysis led the court to conclude that the severity of lifetime registration and notification and lack of adequate justification renders it cruel and unusual under the eighth amendment to the United States Constitution. The law also denied due process because it is automatic and does not allow the court to consider the child’s background or how publication of the offense might affect rehabilitation.

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Suspended Driver’s License in Ohio

What do you do if you have a suspended driver’s license in Ohio? The solution starts with determining what event caused the driver’s license to be suspended. Once the cause is determined, one may be able to figure out the reinstatement requirements. It is also important to know what can happen if one is convicted of driving under a suspended driver’s license. Ohio BMV’s website can be found on my links page, along with a number of other important links.   How does one’s driver’s license get suspended in Ohio? A judge can order the suspension as part of your sentence for a crime. Such crimes include drug possession, drug trafficking, possession of drug paraphernalia, OVI, hit-skip, fleeing and eluding, or driving under suspension. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) imposes suspensions for failure to show proof of insurance either during a traffic stop or after random selection by the BMV to show proof of insurance. This suspension is known as a non-compliance suspension and is covered under Ohio’s Financial Responsibility Act.   (more…)

What Is Extradition?

What is extradition? Extradition is a procedure where a person in one state is surrendered to another state in connection with separate criminal proceedings. Usually, that person has fled the state to avoid prosecution, sentencing or incarceration. A person who flees prosecution or sentencing is called a fugitive.   One the fugitive is arrested, he or she can either request a hearing to contest the extradition or can waive the right to this hearing. If the fugitive waives the right to a hearing, he or she will be available for return to the state that issued the warrant. (more…)

Can You Lie To The Police?

Can you lie to the police? No. You have the right to remain silent, not to lie, especially if that lie is designed to mislead the police. Then, the lie is considered obstruction of justice or obstruction of official business.   Obstructing justice is defined in Ohio Revised Code 2921.32 (R.C. 2921.32). It is a crime to attempt to hinder the discovery, apprehension, conviction or punishment of a person who has committed a crime. This can include lying or misleading the police, harboring or hiding the accused person, or helping the accused person evade the police. It can also include the use of bribery or intimidation. If the crime committed by the person aided is a misdemeanor, obstructing justice is a misdemeanor of the same degree. For example, if the aided person committed assault, a first degree misdemeanor, obstructing justice would be a first degree misdemeanor. If the crime committed by the person aided is a third, fourth or fifth degree felony, other potential penalties are specified under R.C. 2921.32.   Obstructing official business is defined in Ohio Revised Code 2921.31 (R.C. 2921.31), making it illegal to prevent, obstruct or delay a police officer or other public official in the performance of his or her official duties. (more…)

What Do You Do When Pulled Over By The Police?

What do you do when pulled over by the police?  This really depends on the situation, but there are some tips that work for traffic stops, especially those where the officer suspects a DUI or OVI.   Be aware that the officer and perhaps his video camera is watching your every move.  Signal and pull over right away, but do so smoothly, safely, and completely.  Put the car into park or, if you have a stick-shift, move the gear to neutral and set the parking brake.  Have your license, registration and insurance in hand as quickly as possible.  Keep your seat belt on.  Turn off the radio and roll your window down.  When the officer approaches your vehicle and asks for your driver’s license, registration and insurance, hand them over.  If you still have not located these items, ask the officer for permission before going to retrieve them.  This will alert the officer that you are merely trying to comply with his or her request and that you are not retrieving a weapon.  The officer will be noting whether you are having difficulty finding these items, especially if it looks clumsy.  The officer may ask questions.  You should either politely decline or keep your answers short and true, without admitting anything.   (more…)

Certificate Of Qualification For Employment

What is a Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE)?  A CQE is an order from the common pleas court in the county in which you reside that allows to apply for employment or a professional license even if your conviction may have disqualified you in the past.  Many employers exclude convicted felons as potential job candidates.  This makes it even more difficult for a convicted felon to re-integrate himself or herself into society.  A CQE can provide the employer the assurance needed to give someone a chance.
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Castle Law Allows You to Defend Yourself in Your Home

Ohio’s castle law allows you to defend yourself in your home.  Otherwise known as the “castle doctrine,”  the law now recognizes the security and sanctity of the home.
Ohio law previously required the victim of a home invasion to retreat before using deadly force against the intruder.  If the person in the home used deadly force, that person had to prove that he or she acted out of fear of serious physical injury or death. (more…)

Can a Juvenile Court Give an Adult Sentence?

Can a juvenile court give an adult sentence?  It sure can.  However, this option is only available for a Serious Youthful Offender (SYO), which blends juvenile and adult sentences.  Bindovers to adult court are not included in this article, as those cases involve a hearing to determine if a juvenile should be tried as an adult, and, if so, the juvenile’s case is transferred to adult court.  SYO exists in the world between the typical juvenile proceedings and adult court. (more…)

What Is Shoplifting In Ohio?

Have you been picked up for shoplifting in Ohio?

While people commonly refer to stealing from a store as shoplifting, there is not an offense in Ohio that is called shoplifting.  So, what is shoplifting in Ohio?  Shoplifting in Ohio is technically known as theft, which is defined in Ohio Revised Code 2913.02 (R.C. 2913.02).  Theft can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.  If the value of the items total less than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), the offense is petty theft, a misdemeanor of the first degree.  This offense has a maximum jail term of one hundred eighty days in jail.  If the value of the items total one thousand dollars or more but less than seven thousand five hundred dollars, then the offense is theft, a felony of the fifth degree.  This offense has a maximum prison term of twelve months.  If the value of the items total seven thousand five hundred dollars or more and less than one hundred fifty thousand dollars, the offense is grand theft, a felony of the fourth degree.  This offense has a maximum prison term of eighteen months. (more…)

More Potential Jurors Want Convictions

I have been noticing a disturbing trend over the past two years.  More potential jurors want convictions.   Some want so badly to return a verdict of guilty that they are willing to ignore the law in order to find the person guilty.  How have I discovered this fact?  During my twenty years of practice, I have developed a number of questions that I ask potential jurors in order to determine if they could be fair and impartial to my client.  One of these questions simply asks the potential juror if he or she would make the State of Ohio prove each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt before making a finding of guilty.  I go one step further and ask what the juror would do if the State proves all but one element beyond a reasonable doubt, with that one missing element being close but not quite there.  In my first eighteen years of practice, every potential juror answered this question correctly, which was to return a verdict of not guilty.  The first six of those years were spent as an assistant prosecutor, watching other defense attorneys ask various versions of this same question.  The other twelve of those years, I asked that question as the criminal defense attorney. (more…)

Unreliable Identification Cannot Be Used At Trial

If the identification procedure used by the police is suggestive and unnecessary, it is a violation of the accused person’s rights. The courts look at the corrupting effect of the suggestive identification against the witness’s ability to make an accurate identification.  Even if the witness had an adequate opportunity to view a suspect, the later use of a highly suggestive identification procedure can make the witness’ testimony inadmissible.  In other words, unreliable identification cannot be used at trial. Courts consider a number of factors, including: (1)        opportunity of the witness to view the criminal a the time of the crime; (2)        the witness’ degree of attention; (3)        the accuracy of the witness’ prior description of the criminal; (4)        the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the confrontation; and (5)        the length of time between the crime and the confrontation. (more…)

When Is Consent To Search Valid?

When is consent to search valid?  Generally, if someone gives the police consent to search a house, car, luggage, etc., the police can conduct the search and the court will uphold the search and the items found during the search. However, in order to consent to a search, the person must have either actual or apparent authority over the item or place to be searched.   A roommate has actual authority to consent to search an apartment.  Even if the person does not live in the apartment, if that person led the police to believe that they lived there, they have apparent authority.  This means that the police can believe, in good faith, that the person lives there and has the authority to consent to a search.  However, the roommate cannot consent to a search of someone else’s luggage. (more…)

What Field Sobriety Tests Are Used In OVI Case?

Field sobriety tests in OVI cases can determine innocence, guilt, and even get the case thrown out.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a manual that sets forth the three major field sobriety tests and sets forth uniform standards for such testing.  The tests consist of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk and Turn test and the One Leg Stand test. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN) is often called the "pen test" or "eye test."  The HGN is performed with a pen, but can be performed with any “stimulus,” as long as it is held 12-15 inches away from the person’s eyes.  Contacts, glasses and head injuries can affect this test.  The manual sets forth minimum times for each portion of the test, all of which adds up to at least 96 seconds. The Walk and Turn is supposed to be performed on a flat surface.  It consists of a standing heel-to-toe position during the instructions, nine heel-to-toe steps, a turn and nine return heel-to-toe steps.  Existing leg and back injuries can affect one’s ability to perform this test. The One Leg Stand is also supposed to be performed on a flat surface.  It consists of holding one’s foot six inches above the ground while counting for a minimum of thirty seconds.  Existing leg and back injuries can affect one’s ability to perform this test. These are just a few of the requirements outlined in the NHTSA field sobriety testing manual.  An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help determine whether the police have complied with the manual and challenge the testing procedures in court. (more…)