Have you been arrested for “possession of criminal tools”? If so, you might be confused. You are even more likely to be confused if you were arrested for possessing tools such as a hammer, that are legal to possess when not classified as “criminal tools.” Unfortunately, possessing criminal tools is one of those vaguely-worded offenses like “Loitering” and “No Visible Means of Support,” that are highly subject to police and prosecutor abuse. The term “criminal tools” is so vague that it can refer to anything from a machine gun to a stick of chewing gum blocking a keyhole opening. So how do you know if your charges are legitimate? The best way to know is to consult experienced defense attorneys like those at Gounaris Abboud, LPA. We can assess the facts of your case and protect your rights every step of the way. The Three Legal Elements of the Crime of Possession of Criminal Tools Every crime consists of one or more elements that the prosecutor must prove to win a conviction. In the case of possession of criminal tools, three legal elements exist: The “criminal tool” was a “substance, device, instrument, or article;” That was in your possession or control; and During the time you possessed the “criminal tool” you intended to use it for criminal purposes. Element #1: A Substance, Device, Instrument, or Article Although the definition of this element is quite broad, it would arguably exclude abstract items such as computer malware. The tool must be a tangible object that you can hold in your hand. Element #2: Your Possession or Control “Possession or control” generally means that the item was on your person or property, that you knew it was there, and that you knew what it was. You don’t have to know that it is illegal to possess it. However, circumstances can exist that can make proving control over the tool tricky for prosecutors. For instance, suppose Joe, Jack, and Jeff all share a house together. Now suppose that someone uses a crowbar to break into a neighbor’s house one night. After doing so, the burglar puts the crowbar into the garage that all three housemates share. This can make it tough for the prosecution to prove who had possession, control, or even knowledge of the crowbar. In fact, a fourth party, that doesn’t even live in the house, may have placed it there. Criminal Intent A prosecutor cannot win a conviction for possessing instruments of crime without establishing criminal intent. You must have specific criminal intent before items in your possession are classified as criminal tools. The prosecution, however, may infer intent from your mere possession of certain items. The prosecutor can shift the burden of proof onto you if you possessed or controlled certain types of items. Possession or control of a “dangerous ordnance” This is possession of something that most people wouldn’t have unless they intended to use it to commit a crime. California maintains a list of dangerous ordnances that includes items such as dynamite, explosive-grade nitroglycerine, and military-issue firearms. Adaptations If you possess items that you specifically adapted for criminal use, this type of item carries a rebuttable presumption of criminal intent. An example would be a taped-up flashlight. Items commonly used in crimes If you possess or control an item commonly used to commit crimes, under certain circumstances, that could indicate criminal intent. For example, if the police find a screwdriver hanging from your belt at night, while you are wearing a facemask and black clothing, they might be able to infer criminal intent. Defenses Several potential defenses are available against a charge of possession of criminal tools: Merger: The prosecution has already charged you with the underlying offense; Reasonable doubt as to your criminal intent; or The item was never in your possession or control. Numerous other potential defenses are available, depending on the specific facts of your case. Penalties The prosecutor can charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony version of possession of criminal tools. It all depends on your intent—did you intend to commit a felony or a non-felony? This crime is a fifth-degree felony if you intended to commit a felony, and it is a first-degree misdemeanor if you intended to commit a non-felony. For a felony, you could face up to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine. For a misdemeanor, you could face up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. Remember that the foregoing punishments are maximums, not minimums. It’s Time to Start Fighting Back Contact the award-winning criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA by calling (937) 222-1515 or by contacting us online, so that we can give you a free case analysis. Our offices are located in Dayton and Springboro, Ohio, and we serve clients throughout the state.Read More
Trustworthy. Empathetic. Honest. Supportive.
Hear what else our clients are saying about us.
I found Gounaris and Abboud through good online reviews. Mr. Abboud handled my cases very professionally for two years. He truly takes his cases to heart and cares about his clients. He keeps you informed and has all the answers to all your questions. You really feel safe with Mr. Abboud as your lawyer. I would highly recommend him to anyone needing professional family law representation.Patty M.
Attorney Nick Gounaris handled my case and he did a wonderful job. I am very pleased with this law firm. I have never been in the situation I found myself in ever before and it was scary and confusing, but Nick and his staff were wonderful with answering my many questions and they were very sympathetic and understanding, always quick to respond when I would call. I am happy with the outcome of my case. If you find yourself in a situation that needs legal help, these are the guys to call!Melinda Q.
They did absolutely everything possible to help reduce the sentence and charges faced. The fees for their services were worth every cent and superior to any public defendant representation. They both put their hearts into their work and care like nobody else I have ever encountered in the legal system.Karis F.
A divorce, an accusal, or an injury
can change your life.
When facing high-stakes legal situations like these, it’s comforting to know that you can trust the team representing you.
At Gounaris Abboud, our awarded attorneys are available 24/7, and we only stop when we achieve the best possible results for you and your loved ones.
Let’s get to work on your case.
One night of your life shouldn’t change the rest of your life. Let’s work together to ensure your future.
Our family lawyers work tirelessly to protect your assets and children during your divorce and family disputes.
Legal knowledge, case results, firm news, and more on our blog.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens the right to own and carry a firearm, subject to certain limitations. Nevertheless, certain qualifications and limitations prevent millions of Americans from owning a gun. In Ohio, these are referred to as disabling conditions. Ohio law restricts the possession of a gun when a disabling condition, or disability, exists on the part of the possessor. So what does having weapons while under disability mean? It means the defendant possessed a weapon, despite being prohibited from doing so. If you received a charge for having weapons while under disability, Gounaris Abboud, LPA, is here to help. Contact our office today for a free consultation. Ohio Law: Having Weapons Under Disability Ohio law criminalizes having a firearm for individuals who: Are fugitives from justice; Were charged or convicted of a violent felony offense; Were charged or convicted of a felony drug offense that involved illegal drug possession, sale, distribution, or trafficking; Are dependent on drugs or in danger of being dependent on drugs; Are chronic alcoholics; Are mentally incompetent, mentally defective, or mentally ill, as determined by the court; or Were ordered to live at a mental institution by the court. The offense of having a weapon under disability is commonly referred to as “WUD.” Firearm refers to any gun, whether loaded, unloaded, or temporarily inoperable. Punishment for Weapons Under Disability Charge in Ohio After determining the meaning of WUD, you could be wondering how much jail time you’re facing for a weapons under disability charge in Ohio. Ohio considers a WUD charge a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony carries potential penalties including: Up to five years in prison; and Up to a $10,000 fine. In addition to criminal penalties, individuals convicted of WUD can face difficulty finding employment and housing due to the felony conviction. Defenses to Having a Weapon Under Disability Certain legal defenses absolve defendants charged with WUD of liability, resulting in the dismissal of charges or a not guilty verdict. Common defenses to WUD include: The defendant was unaware that the gun was in his or her possession; The defendant was en route to a police station to turn the firearm in; The firearm was used in self-defense; and The firearm was located during an illegal search and seizure. The existence of any of these legal defenses presents an opportunity for a criminal defense lawyer to argue that you should not face charges. Contact an Experienced Ohio Criminal Defense Today Weapons charges result in stiff fines and jail time in most circumstances. A weapons charge attorney with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, will review the facts of your case to evaluate the full picture of the charges against you. With more than 50 years of collective experience, our team is more than qualified to defend you against a weapons under disability charge. We know that no two cases are the same, so we take the time to sit down one-on-one with our clients, listen to their situation and desired outcome, and tailor a plan to address those concerns. If you want to discuss your case with one of our criminal defense attorneys, call our office at 937-222-1515.Read More
Individuals seek ways to protect themselves. This can include carrying things such as pepper spray, personal alarms, and even knives. Others use knives as a collectible item or handy tool. However, given the impact a knife injury can have, Ohio knife laws impose restrictions on how they are possessed and used. These laws seek to balance the freedom to possess and carry various types of knives with the justice system’s duty to protect others from the dangers knives can present. Ohio Revised Code Knife Laws First things first: The revised Ohio knife law effective April of 2021 provides a significant adjustment to knife laws in Ohio. The law now states that the prohibition against carrying concealed weapons does not include knives that are not used as a weapon. “Knives” include: Razors; Automatically opening pocket knives; Folding knives; and Any knife-type cutting instrument. Senate Bill 140 also repealed a statewide ban on the manufacture and sale of automatically opening pocket or folding knives. Knife as a Weapon Designation In general, when the law addresses an offense involving a “deadly weapon” or “weapon” it does not include any knife in that category. However, here is the exception, and it is a crucial one to know: If an offender uses any knife or cutting instrument as a weapon, law enforcement can then categorize the item as a deadly or concealed weapon. Here is an example. A person is smoking marijuana in a public park, in violation of the law. The police stop the person because of the smoking and pat them down without any struggle. They find a switchblade in their pocket. The switchblade possession will not lead to a charge of possession of a concealed or deadly weapon. On the other hand, if law enforcement apprehended the same individual after they attempted to rob a person and used the knife to threaten the victim, things would change. At that point, as the offender used the knife as a weapon in the robbery, they can be charged with carrying a concealed weapon. So, Ohio knife carry laws provide citizens with the freedom to carry a knife. However, if a citizen uses that item as a weapon, its possession and use can become illegal. There remain, of course, various prohibitions regarding having knives on school grounds and other locations. Attorneys Who Know Ohio Knife Laws If a person is facing Ohio knife carry law violations or other knife-related offenses, they should look for a criminal defense attorney. Knife law violations are criminal offenses, and penalties could include incarceration and fines and lead to the loss of employment. An established law firm with a history of clients who recommend it can put an offender in the best position to fight charges. The time to seek legal advice is when one fears they may be facing charges or as soon as possible after law enforcement charges them. However, even if a court date is around the corner, experienced attorneys can step in and take over. Gounaris Abboud, LPA Gounaris Abboud, LPA has more than 50 years of collective experience in criminal defense and other areas of law. We handle every level of the case, from the most challenging legal cases in Ohio to everyday smaller matters. To our attorneys, every case is important. Please call us at 937-222-1515 or reach us online to schedule your free consultation today.Read More