6 of the Most Common Criminal Defense Cases in Ohio
Take any criminal charge seriously. Even if the penalty will amount only to a few hundred dollars in fines and fees for a low-level misdemeanor, the arrest and conviction can remain on your record for the rest of your life. Plus, there is little way to know for sure what the penalties will include until a judge issues the sentence.
As a Columbus, Ohio-based criminal defense attorney, a lawyer with The Maher Law Firm most often handles the six types of cases described briefly below. If you need help with any criminal matter, consider contact us by phone at (614) 205-2208 or online through this form.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Courts and police in Ohio call this offense operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OVI. Adults above the age of 21 cannot drive with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 or higher. The BAC limit is lowered to .04 for commercial drivers and to .02 for drivers younger than 21.
Legal limits also exist for amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, LSD, marijuana, methamphetamine, PCP, and salvia. Testing above the limit for alcohol or a listed drug will result in an automatic license suspension, and all OVI-related suspensions apply to both the driver’s personal license and commercial driving certifications.
Ohio law makes it illegal to attack and harm anyone or to credibly threaten someone’s life or physical well-being. When an assault is committed during a theft, the offense gets treated as felony robbery.
It is a crime to possess, use, manufacture, or sell drugs that are considered harmful and addictive when they are taken without a prescription. Drugs that cause legal problems include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, and prescription painkillers classified as opioids. Opioids include oxycodone/OxyContin, hydrocodone/Vicodin, codeine, and fentanyl.
Note that many of the drugs that attract the attention of local law enforcement and federal authorities are prescription medications. When you take a drug for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or chronic, severe pain, make sure you have your prescription records in order. Confusion over what constitutes legal possession and use of a drug can usually be cleared up with the help of a Columbus, Ohio, criminal defense attorney.
You cannot transport a loaded firearm in a vehicle in Ohio, and you must qualify for a license to carry a concealed handgun if you do want to carry. Felons are prohibited from owning firearms or ammunition, and Ohio residents younger than 18 cannot purchase a gun. The minimum age to carry a handgun is 21.
Under the law, a weapon is anything that can be used to inflict fatal injuries. This includes knives and most hand tools, but such objects are much less controlled than firearms. How an object gets used generally determines whether police and prosecutors will treat the object as a weapon.
Using or carrying a weapon while committing a crime constitutes a weapons offense that can be prosecuted separately from any other alleged offense. The presence of the weapon will usually make penalties for the other offenses more severe.
As an alleged criminal offense, disorderly conduct covers everything from fighting to yelling and offending or insulting others. Police can use a great deal of discretion when charging a person with acting in a disorderly fashion, but authorities are supposed to have evidence of one of the following:
- The behavior has persisted despite requests to stop,
- The behavior occurs near a school,
- The behavior occurs near a hospital or police station, or
- The behavior distracts or threatens emergency personnel.
Obstructing Official Business
You can face a criminal charge for physically blocking, distracting, or delaying a police officer or public official while that individual is doing his or her job. This is not obstructing justice, which concerns actions like lying to investigators or destroying evidence, but actually doing something that interferes with the public employee’s work. If the obstruction results in physical harm to an official, the offense is treated as a felony.