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Posts tagged "sealing Ohio convictions"

Ohio Has A Unique Restriction On Traffic Stops

Ohio has a unique restriction on traffic stops.  The Ohio Supreme Court, in its Robinette decision, said that police officers may not request consent for a search of a vehicle, once the purpose of the initial traffic stop is completed and there is no evidence of any wrongdoing beyond the reason for the traffic stop.  The Supreme Court of Ohio said that the courts have an obligation to protect the ordinary law-abiding citizen from intrusive, illegal and overbearing government action.  This protection is necessary because most people are not aware of their right to refuse consent to a search of their vehicle. The United States Supreme Court, in its review of this decision, declined to adopt this rule for the entire nation.  In doing so, the rule was left intact in Ohio.  This was an unfortunate decision, as the Ohio Supreme Court got it right in this instance.  Authorities should not be allowed to further detain people and request consent after they have already issued a citation, and checked for license, registration and insurance.  This person should be free to drive off without being subjected to a fishing expedition. (more…)

What Is Felony Theft In Ohio?

What is felony theft in Ohio?  Theft in Ohio is defined in Ohio Revised Code 2913.02 (R.C. 2913.02).  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.  If the value of the items total one hundred fifty thousand dollars or more and is less than seven hundred fifty thousand dollars, the offense is aggravated theft, a felony of the third degree.  If the value of the property is seven hundred fifty thousand dollars or more and is less than one million five hundred thousand dollars, the offense is aggravated theft, a felony of the second degree.  If the value of the property is one million five hundred thousand dollars or more, the offense is aggravated theft of one million five hundred thousand or more, a felony of the first degree. (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…)

Can Police Pull You Over Based On A Tip From Another Driver?

There are times when the police conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle based upon a tip from a citizen that the vehicle was driving erratically.  Sometimes, this is a tip from another driver.  When the police observe traffic violations that, by themselves, justify a traffic stop, courts need not analyze the reliability of the citizen’s tip in determining whether the traffic stop was valid.  However, the police often gather little to no evidence prior to conducting a traffic stop.  In those instances, courts must analyze the reliability of the tip.  In other words, the courts ask: "can police pull you over based on a tip from another driver?" In analyzing the reliability of the tip, informants are divided into three classes: (1)        the anonymous informant; (2)        the known informant; and (3)        the identified citizen informant. (more…)