search and seizure laws ohio

Imagine being pulled over by police for no apparent reason. Once they pull you over, two police officers come up to your car and open your door. Then, without saying a word, one of them yanks you out of the driver’s seat. The two officers handcuff you and sit you down on a nearby curb as they start to search your car. This situation is exactly the type that the founders of our country hoped to prevent when they passed the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment provides that: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” While the text of the Fourth Amendment is hardly a model of clarity, it stands for everyone’s right to be free from unreasonable governmental searches and seizures. Search and Seizure Laws in Ohio In large part, the system of government in the United States allows for states to make their own laws. Federal law provides a “floor,” meaning states cannot provide their citizens fewer rights than federal law dictates. However, states are free to provide additional protections. Article 1 § 14 of the Ohio Constitution includes language that is identical to the Fourth Amendment. While the language is exactly the same as the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Ohio courts can interpret this language independently from how federal courts interpret the Fourth Amendment. Of course, provided that any difference confers additional rights and not fewer rights to our citizens. Given the fact that state law confers at least as much protection as federal law, when discussing Ohio search and seizure laws, it is important to start with federal law and then look to Ohio law to determine whether there are additional protections. What Makes a Search Illegal? Long ago, courts determined that police must obtain a warrant to execute a search or seizure. Otherwise, courts would deem the search or seizure “unreasonable.” To obtain a warrant, police officers must submit an affidavit to a magistrate judge. The magistrate reviews the facts in the affidavit and determines whether probable cause exists. If so, the magistrate can issue a warrant. However, over time, courts read in several exceptions to the warrant requirement. Thus, under the current state of the law, there are several situations in which police officers do not need to obtain a warrant. Consent If you consent to a search, police officers do not need to obtain a warrant. For example, if police ask to search your car and you agree, you cannot challenge the search based on a lack of probable cause. Plain View If an object is in plain view, police officers do not need a warrant to seize that item. For example, if police see a bag of drugs sitting on the seat of a car during a traffic stop, they do not need a warrant to open the door and seize it. Search Incident to a Lawful Arrest Once police arrest someone, they can conduct a limited search of the arrestee and the area in the arrestee’s immediate vicinity. For example, if police arrest you for shoplifting, they can search your pockets. Stop and Frisk If police officers have reasonable suspicion that someone is engaging in illegal activity, they can conduct a limited pat-down of the person. For example, if police respond to a call for a person with a gun and you match the description, they could lawfully conduct a stop and frisk. Car Searches Courts have held that citizens are still entitled to an expectation of privacy in their vehicles. However, due to the mobile nature of a vehicle, the courts have held that officers can conduct a search of a vehicle without a warrant, provided they have probable cause to do so. Hot Pursuit If police are in hot pursuit of a fleeing suspect, they are allowed to follow him or her into a building without a warrant. If none of these exceptions exist, police officers must obtain a warrant. However, even when police conduct a search under one of these exceptions, an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney can challenge the applicability of the exception. What to Do After an Illegal Search? If police arrest you based on what you believe to be an illegal search or seizure, you have options. Under Ohio search and seizure laws, evidence obtained through illegal means can be suppressed. This means the government cannot use that evidence at trial. To challenge the admissibility of evidence, you must file a motion to suppress. A motion to suppress is a pre-trial motion asking the court to keep evidence out of trial. If the court grants the motion, then the prosecution is often left without any choice but to withdraw the case because they no longer have the evidence necessary to prove their case. Have You Been Arrested After a Questionable Search? If police arrested you after searching you, your car, or your home — you may be able to challenge the officer’s actions that lead to the discovery of evidence. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA., our Ohio search and seizure lawyers have extensive experience getting illegally obtained evidence excluded. We regularly litigate motions to suppress on behalf of our clients, often getting the cases against them withdrawn. Our attorneys handle all types of criminal offenses, including drug crimes, weapons offenses, violent crimes, and more. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an Ohio criminal defense lawyer, call us at 937-222-1515. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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is cbd oil legal ohio

Short Answer: Yes, CDB oil is legal in Ohio.  Long Answer: For CBD oil to be legal in Ohio, It must come from a legal source of CBD.  The federal government exempted industrial hemp from its definition of marijuana in the 2018 Farm Bill. Therefore, CBD oil made by a hemp manufacturer licensed in a state with an approved regulatory program is legal. However, the federal government has not yet approved the use of CBD in any dietary supplement or food. The Ohio legislature created its legal hemp program in 2019. As part of the program, Ohio legalized CBD and cosmetics, personal care products, dietary supplements, and food made from hemp.  Under either rule, “hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L (cannabis) that tests below a 0.3% total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration. THC is the psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. If the plant tests higher than 0.3% THC, it is marijuana. Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under federal and state law.  The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s crime labs can test and distinguish between hemp and marijuana. Private labs can also distinguish between legal and illegal plants and products. If you’ve been arrested with CBD oil in Ohio, don’t hesitate to contact us at Gounaris Abboud, LPA. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys understand the legal distinctions and can help you fight any criminal charges you may face. What Is CBD Oil? “Cannabidiol,” known as CBD, is one of many chemical compounds (called phytocannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant. Both THC and CBD naturally occur in the cannabis plant. Licensed hemp farmers use varieties of the cannabis plant that will develop up to 40% CBD and less than 0.03% THC. Unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating.  To make CBD oil, the manufacturer extracts the CBD from the cannabis flower using a mechanical or solvent-based extraction process, similar to making essential oils. Then the manufacturer adds the CBD extract to a carrier oil, such as grapeseed or hempseed oil. Before a store can sell CBD oil, the manufacturer must test it for both CBD and THC concentrations. Additionally, if sold in Ohio, it must meet Ohio’s food safety standards. Is CBD Oil Legal Under Federal Law? Since 1970, the federal government has outlawed possession of marijuana. The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) defines marijuana as all parts of the cannabis plant, whether growing or not. The Act placed it in the most restrictive class, Schedule I. According to the CSA, Schedule I drugs have a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use.” Starting in 2014, Congress decided to exclude “hemp” from the definition of marijuana. With the 2018 Farm Bill, it created a national industrial hemp program. Under the Bill, State Departments of Agriculture could create their own hemp regulations to submit for federal approval or follow a USDA-created plan. Hemp grown under an approved program by a licensed farmer became legal. However, cannabis plants that contain more than a trace amount (0.03%) of THC and products made from them remain Schedule I drugs.  In addition, the Bill gave the FDA authority over hemp and CBD products. The FDA regulates the safety of food and drugs sold in the U.S. To date, the FDA has approved only one CBD product, a prescription drug Epidiolex used for rare, severe disorders. CBD Oil Is Not Illegal in Ohio: Senate Bill 57 In 2018, the Ohio governor approved a bill (SB 57) to decriminalize hemp and license hemp cultivation. SB 57 made it legal to possess and use hemp products containing less than 0.3% THC in Ohio. This includes CBD oil. In addition, SB 57 legalized sales of CBD oil in stores outside of medical marijuana dispensaries. Finally, the law requires labels on hemp products that say they contain less than 0.03% THC. Initially, the Ohio attorney general stopped prosecuting marijuana cases. The state’s crime labs could not tell the difference between the newly legal hemp and illegal marijuana. SB 57 allocated $968,000 to the attorney general’s office to develop testing. Within a year, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation finished creating its testing protocol, and prosecutions resumed. Despite the lab’s capabilities, they commonly experience testing delays, putting off prosecution for months or even years. Were You Arrested With CBD Oil in Ohio? Police officers cannot tell the difference between hemp and marijuana by sight alone. They are legally allowed to search for marijuana if they smell or observe what they think is marijuana. They can arrest you if they have probable cause to believe that you possess illegal marijuana. Unless your CBD oil is correctly labeled under Ohio’s hemp laws or you have proof of being a medical marijuana patient, the only way to prove your compliance with the law is through laboratory testing. If you’ve been arrested for possessing CBD oil in Ohio, we can help. When you contact our firm, an experienced drug crime defense attorney will help you navigate through the legal system. Our firm has achieved dismissals and penalty reductions for hundreds of people. Together, our award-winning attorneys have over 50 years of experience to use in your defense. Our clients have called us trustworthy, empathetic, honest, and supportive, and we’ll be there for you throughout the legal process. Contact us today for a free case analysis at 937-222-1515.

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Ohio Speed Limit Laws

Getting pulled over for speeding in Ohio can result in speeding ticket fines, an increase in insurance rates, and other consequences for drivers. Additionally, a conviction for violating the speed limit in Ohio adds points to your driving record. After a certain number of driving points accrue on your driving record, you could face the revocation of your driving privileges.  If you received a ticket for driving over the speed limit in Ohio, you might think hiring an attorney is a waste of time and just pay the fine. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. An Ohio attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to have your fine reduced or spare you the addition of penalty points on your Ohio driving record. Our defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, represent clients charged with violations of speed limit laws in Ohio. Contact our office today to start your free case analysis. What Kind of Speed Limit Laws Exist in Ohio?  Ohio’s main speed limit law prohibits driving at a speed greater than is “reasonable or proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the street or highway and any other conditions.” Essentially, the speed limit law requires motorists to drive at a safe speed. What qualifies as a safe speed depends on the factors listed in the statute, in addition to other factors. For example, operating a vehicle during the day might allow drivers to go faster than when operating the vehicle at night, as the darkness factor makes driving less safe. The main speeding law also prohibits motorists from driving a vehicle “at a greater speed than will permit the person to bring it to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.” Absolute Speed Limits Most drivers are familiar with absolute speed limits, as absolute speed limits are the speeds posted on Ohio speed limit signs. If you drive faster than the posted speed limit, you violate Ohio’s speed limit sign law. Unless otherwise posted, Ohio outlines absolute speed limits for certain roadways in the state, such as: 70 miles per hour on rural freeways, 65 miles per hour on rural expressways and urban freeways, and 55 miles per hour on most other roadways. Ohio allows local jurisdictions to adjust speed limits within their boundaries, so the speed limit in one Ohio city will not necessarily match the speed limit in another city.  Prima Facie Speed Limits Ohio also implements prima facie speed limits, sometimes referred to as presumed speed limits. Unlike absolute speed limits, exceeding the prima facie speed limit does not automatically render you guilty. You can present evidence in court establishing that your driving speed was safe. If you can prove that your speed was safe, the judge should find you not guilty. Unless otherwise posted, Ohio’s prima facie speed limits include: 20 miles per hour in school zones, 15 miles per hour in alleyways within cities, and 25 miles per hour in residential and urban areas. While violating the prima facie speed limit creates a presumption that you violated Ohio’s speed limit law, you can rebut that presumption by demonstrating that your driving speed was safe. Penalties for Ohio Speed Limit Law Violations The penalties for violating Ohio speed limit laws vary depending on a number of factors, including your prior speed limit convictions and how many miles over the speed limit you were driving.  A first-time or second-time speed limit violation amounts to a minor misdemeanor charge. A minor misdemeanor carries the potential of a fine up to $150.  A third-speed limit violation within a one-year period qualifies as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Fourth-degree misdemeanors carry the potential of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.  Speed limit violations that involve driving faster than 35 miles per hour in a business district or faster than 35 miles per hour in a school zone amount to fourth-degree misdemeanors as well. A fourth or subsequent speed limit violation within a one-year period qualifies as a third-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. A third-degree misdemeanor carries the potential of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.  If the speeding violation occurred in a school or construction zone, the state typically doubles the fine amount. Ohio Point System and Speed Limit Law Violations Ohio assesses points against the driver records of motorists convicted of certain driving violations. If you accumulate 12 or more points within a two-year period, the state can suspend your driver’s license. Speed limit law violations warrant the assessment of points against your driving record, but the number of points depends on the violation. For example, a speeding violation involving speeds of less than 25 miles per hour above the speed limit results in two points against your driving record. A speeding violation involving speeds in excess of 25 miles per hour over the speed limit results in four points against your driving record.  If you accumulate 12 points against your driving record within a two-year period, the court will suspend your driver’s license for six months.  Facing Speed Limit Law Violations in Ohio? Contact an Attorney Today Though speed limit violations do not typically result in severe penalties, recurring violations can result in serious fines, the suspension of your driver’s license, and even jail time. Depending on the factors present in your case, an Ohio traffic attorney can argue that you were driving safely at the time of the alleged violation or present evidence that justifies your increased speed. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we pride ourselves on giving our clients the one-on-one attention needed to establish trust in the attorney-client relationship. Contact our office today to get started.

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Carrying firearm while intoxicated

Ohio law prohibits individuals intoxicated by alcohol or drugs from carrying a firearm. For obvious reasons, Ohio lawmakers doubt the decision-making ability of anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. By punishing individuals drunk while carrying a gun, this law aims to deter others from committing the violation.  If you’re facing charges for possession of a firearm while intoxicated, you could end up dealing with serious penalties. Consult with an experienced firearm possession attorney to determine what penalties apply to your case and how best to deal with them. When Do Possession of a Firearm While Intoxicated Charges Arise? As a general matter, Ohio allows individuals to possess firearms. Ohio even offers eligible persons the option of obtaining a concealed carry permit, allowing them to possess a concealed weapon. However, Ohio law, under section R.C. 2923.15 prohibits anyone from “carrying or using” a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs of abuse. Thus, you cannot carry a firearm in your vehicle if you’re operating the vehicle while under the influence. Therefore, most of these charges arise along with driving under the influence (DUI) charges or operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) charges. Please note that there is a BIG distinction between what Prosecutors need to prove between being charged with OVI in Ohio and “under the influence” of alcohol in Ohio while carrying or using a firearm.  In an OVI charge in Ohio, A person can consume alcohol and drive AS LONG AS they are not impaired.  Law enforcement will routinely test a person’s blood-alcohol level to determine if that person is OVER the legal limit.  Please note that when a person is charged with Using a Weapon While Intoxicated, law enforcement DOES NOT need to prove a certain level of impairment.  The statute for this offense ONLY requires the State of Ohio to prove: “that a person WAS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL (or any drug of abuse).  This means that simply having a single beer (or a portion of a beer) MAY constitute as “under the influence.” What Counts as Carrying or Using? The prosecutor can charge you for being “under the influence” of alcohol while possessing a firearm even if you don’t have the weapon readily accessible. Courts have upheld convictions for this offense when the firearm was found: Inside the vehicle’s glove compartment, Inside a bag or purse, and In the backseat. If you were charged with using weapons while intoxicated after authorities found a firearm in your vehicle, contact one of our attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, to discuss your options. Penalties for Possession of a Firearm While Intoxicated Ohio law considers possession of a firearm while intoxicated a first-degree misdemeanor. First-degree misdemeanors carry the potential of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Even if you have a concealed weapons permit, you could face a conviction.  But remember, prosecutors rarely charge this offense on its own. This charge most commonly arises in conjunction with a DUI/OVI charge, which carries more severe potential penalties. For a first-offense DUI/OVI conviction, the driver faces: At least three days but no more than six months in jail, Mandatory license suspension for at least six months, and A fine of up to $1,075. A second DUI/OVI conviction carries the following potential penalties: At least ten days but no more than six months in jail, Mandatory license suspension for at least a year, A fine of up to $1,625.  If your blood alcohol level (BAC) is above 0.17%, you will receive more severe penalties.  In addition to the criminal penalties, a misdemeanor conviction—especially those concerning driving under the influence—can also result in other consequences, such as: Increased insurance premiums, Difficulty obtaining employment, and Inability to secure certain housing.  After serving your sentence and paying your court fines, you will suffer the financial consequences of having a misdemeanor conviction on your permanent record.  Facing Charges for Using or Possession of a Firearm While Intoxicated? Consult with an Ohio Firearms Attorney Today An experienced firearms possession attorney with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, can help you understand what penalties are associated with the criminal charges filed against you. Depending on the circumstances of your case, an attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to have your sentence reduced or have your charge dismissed entirely. Our team has more than 30 years of collective experience in the courtroom. Attorney Nicolas G. Gounaris, one of our managing partners, has experience as a prosecutor, magistrate, and acting judge, giving him a unique outlook when it comes to defending criminal cases. Additionally, Mr. Gounaris received nominations from his peers to the Super Lawyers list for ten consecutive years, from 2012 through 2021. Further, Mr. Gounaris has been recognized by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDA) as a “Nationally Ranked Top 10” in 2014 and 2015 and was named as a recipient of the “10 Best Client Satisfaction” Award for Criminal Law by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys in 2014 and 2015. There is no time to waste when your freedom is on the line. Contact our attorneys Gounaris Abboud, LPA, as soon as possible at 937-222-1515 or online. 

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drug paraphernalia in ohio

Clients frequently ask us, What is the charge for possession of drug paraphernalia? Ohio statutes make this answer simple by labeling the violation “possession of drug paraphernalia.” In many cases, paraphernalia charges arise in combination with drug possession charges. Here, we are going to provide information about the possession of drug paraphernalia in Ohio and the penalties those charged with violation of the statute face. If you were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, contact one of our Ohio drug crime attorneys as soon as possible. We can prepare a strategy to help you obtain your desired outcome in your case. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation. What Does Ohio Consider Drug Paraphernalia? Ohio’s statutes describe drug paraphernalia as any equipment, product, or material of any kind that is used or intended for use in any activity involving a controlled substance. If the definition sounds broad, that’s because it is. Under the right circumstances, Ohio authorities can consider a vast number of items to be drug paraphernalia. The specific items of drug paraphernalia outlined by the statute include: Marijuana pipes, Water pipes, Roach clips, Cocaine vials, Carburetor pipes, Drug packaging products, Bongs, and Scales for weighing a controlled substance. While some forms of drug paraphernalia seem obvious, authorities can transform innocent common household items like shrink wrap and plastic bags as drug packaging supplies. If the prosecutor believes you intended to use the items in the distribution of controlled substances, you could face charges for possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the statute, the court and other authorities will consider certain factors when determining whether an item is drug paraphernalia, including: Statements by the owner of the item concerning its use; The proximity in time or space of the item to any drug crimes being committed; Existence of controlled substance residue in or on the item; Direct or circumstantial evidence that the owner of the item intended to use the item to facilitate a drug crime violation; Oral or written instructions provided with the item concerning its use; National or local advertising concerning the use of the item; and Expert testimony concerning the use of the item. This represents a non-exhaustive list of circumstances law enforcement and the court can consider. What is Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Ohio? Section 2925.14 of the Ohio Revised Code addresses the illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia. The statute prohibits individuals from knowingly using drug paraphernalia or possessing drug paraphernalia with the intention of using it. Thus, if law enforcement officers find drug paraphernalia among your belongings after your arrest, you could face an additional charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, even if you were arrested for something completely unrelated. Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in Ohio Currently, Ohio does not consider possession of drug paraphernalia a felony offense. However, charges commonly associated with possession of drug paraphernalia, like drug possession and drug distribution, often result in felony charges. The penalties associated with possession of drug paraphernalia, even your first offense, depend on the controlled substance the paraphernalia was reportedly used for. For marijuana paraphernalia, Ohio considers the violation a minor misdemeanor. Minor misdemeanors do not result in jail time. But the penalty for a conviction includes a $150 fine plus administrative court costs and the potential of having your driver’s license suspended, so a conviction is something you definitely need to avoid. For other controlled substances, the consequences are more serious, and the possession of drug paraphernalia can be a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Fourth-degree misdemeanors in Ohio carry the potential of up to thirty days in jail and a $250 fine.  The charge enhances to a second-degree misdemeanor for selling drug paraphernalia and a first-degree misdemeanor if the consumer was under 18. Additionally, convictions can result in your license being suspended for up to five years. Hiring an Attorney to Defend Against Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charges Depending on the facts of your case, a qualified drug crimes lawyer can raise potential legal defenses on your behalf and negotiate with the prosecutor to lessen your charges. Many legal defenses can apply in a drug paraphernalia possession case, such as: You own the alleged paraphernalia for an entirely legal purpose; Someone placed the paraphernalia in your possession without your knowledge; or You have a valid medical marijuana prescription that authorizes possession of certain items designed for marijuana consumption. Whatever the circumstances are, you need a lawyer with the knowledge and commitment to advance your interests before the court. Our team at Gounaris Abboud, LPA has over 50 years of combined legal experience. With attorneys previously employed as prosecutors and judges, we know our way around the criminal justice system. We represent many clients facing drug-crime allegations every day, including those charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.  If you’re facing criminal charges in Ohio for possession of drug paraphernalia, we are here to help. Contact our office today to start your free consultation.

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ohio cyberbullying laws

With the rise in popularity of social media platforms, Ohio lawmakers passed statutes aimed to address the harm caused by cyberbullying. Cyberbullying refers to bullying that occurs over the internet or other electronic communication. If you are accused of cyberbullying in Ohio, you could face significant financial consequences. Our criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA can answer any questions you have about cyberbullying laws in Ohio. Contact our office today for a free consultation. Does Ohio Have Cyberbullying Laws? Ohio does not have statutes specifically addressing cyberbullying. However, Ohio prosecutors can address cyberbullying under other criminal statutes. These Ohio laws encompass cyberbullying by including language about communications sent electronically. Telecommunications Harassment The first charge frequently associated with cyberbullying allegations is Ohio’s telecommunications harassment statute. This statute prohibits individuals from sending certain telecommunications, including making calls or sending messages: With the intent to harass, intimidate, or abuse the recipient or anyone at the recipient’s location; That describe, suggest, request, or propose that the recipient or any other person engage in sexual activity, in addition to the requirement that the recipient or a person with the recipient has requested that the sender stop contacting them; That causes the recipient to believe that the sender will cause serious physical harm to a person or piece of property; After the recipient or anyone at the recipient’s location has previously told the sender not to contact the recipient; and That contain any false statements concerning the death, injury, illness, disfigurement, reputation, indecent conduct, or criminal conduct of the recipient with the intent to abuse, threaten, intimidate, or harass the recipient. Ohio considers a telecommunications harassment charge a first-degree misdemeanor. First-degree misdemeanors in Ohio carry the potential of up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Prosecutors charge additional violations of the telecommunications harassment statute as fifth-degree felonies. Fifth-degree felonies in Ohio carry the potential of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Menacing by Stalking Alternatively, prosecutors can charge those accused of cyberbullying under Ohio’s “menacing by stalking” statute. Prosecutors file charges under this statute when an individual reportedly engaged in two or more acts that caused another person to believe that they were going to cause physical or mental harm to the other person or a member of that person’s family. Additionally, the menacing by stalking statute prohibits individuals from using electronic methods of communication to urge others to commit violations of the statute. Like the telecommunications harassment charge, Ohio considers a menacing by stalking charge a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum potential penalty includes 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, the existence of certain factors enhances or increases the seriousness of a menacing by stalking charge to a fourth-degree felony. Those factors that enhance the potential penalties include: A previous menacing by stalking conviction; When the accused made a threat of physical harm to or against the alleged victim; In committing the act of menacing by stalking, the accused trespassed on property where the alleged victim lived, worked, or attended school; The alleged victim is under 18 years old; or The accused has a history of violence toward the alleged victim. Fourth-degree felonies in Ohio carry the potential of up to 18 months in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.  Other Laws Addressing Cyberbullying in Ohio In addition to criminal statutes, the Ohio legislature has implemented anti-bullying statutes that require all school boards to adopt model anti-bullying policies that prohibit bullying on school property or at school-sponsored events. The statute describes bullying as repeated acts between or among students that cause mental or physical harm. The repeated acts refer to any written, verbal, electronic, or physical act. Additionally, the anti-bullying laws encourage Ohio school districts to form bullying prevention task forces and engage in other initiatives to eliminate bullying. Consult with an Ohio Cyberbullying Attorney Today In many cases, the individuals prone to cyberbullying or online harassment charges are juveniles. Juveniles facing cyberbullying allegations may feel overwhelmed and confused. Our cyberbullying attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA can help you and your juvenile determine what strategy fits your situation. Collectively, our team has more than 30 years of experience in the courtroom. One of our managing partners, Attorney Nicolas G. Gounaris, has experience as a prosecutor, magistrate, and acting judge, giving him a unique outlook when it comes to defending criminal cases. Additionally, Mr. Gounaris received nominations from his peers to the Super Lawyers list for ten consecutive years, from 2012 through 2021. Further, Mr. Gounaris has been recognized by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDA) as a “Nationally Ranked Top 10” in 2014 and 2015 and was named as a recipient of the “10 Best Client Satisfaction” Award for Criminal Law by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys in 2014 and 2015. A criminal record can severely impact a juvenile’s future. Contact our team of criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA as soon as possible so we can get started on our case.

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transporting firearms in ohio

Before transporting a firearm in Ohio, you need to know what Ohio’s firearms laws allow and prohibit. The rules can vary depending on where you intend to store your weapon and whether you plan to conceal it. Additionally, Ohio’s vehicle gun laws address transportation with a firearm.  Clients frequently ask, Can I carry a gun in my car in Ohio? We’ve prepared a short guide to help you understand the laws surrounding transporting firearms in Ohio and the penalties associated with those laws. If you have additional questions or have been charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, contact Gounaris Abboud, LPA, to start your free consultation. Firearm Possession in Ohio: An Overview The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives U.S. citizens the right to own and carry a firearm, subject to limitations. Ohio prohibits certain individuals from possessing a firearm, including those who: Suffer from chronic alcoholism; Are deemed mentally incompetent, mentally defective, or mentally ill by the court; Were ordered by the court to live in a mental institution; Are fugitives from justice; Were charged or convicted of a violent felony; Were charged or convicted of a felony drug offense that involved illegal drug possession, sale, distribution, or trafficking; or Suffer from drug dependency or are in danger from suffering a drug dependency. As long as these disabling factors don’t apply to you, you can generally own and possess a firearm in Ohio. However, if there are any questions about one’s right to carry, you should still contact a lawyer as there are often details that a simple checklist cannot answer. Ohio is an “open-carry” state. That means individuals who legally own a firearm can openly carry a firearm within the state with or without a concealed carry permit, subject to other limitations. For example, transporting a firearm in your vehicle carries different requirements based on whether the gun owner has a concealed handgun or weapon permit. Unlike some states, Ohio does not require firearms owners to register their weapons at a state level. Concealed Carry Permits: Ohio Requirement Ohio refers to the permit authorizing individuals to carry a concealed weapon as a Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permit. Some states refer to this as a weapons permit or handgun permit. Ohio requires first-time CCW applicants to meet several requirements, including: Be at least 21 years of age, Complete the required 8-hour course for a Certificate of Competency, Make an appointment with the concealed carry office, Complete your CCW application, Provide a passport-sized photo within 30 days of your application, Provide a valid form of identification, Pass criminal background check, Pass a mental competency check, Turn in your Certificate of Competency, Pay the non-refundable fee, and Submit to fingerprinting. Ohio does not require active duty military members to pay the fee or submit to the training course. Even with a CCW, Ohio law prohibits individuals from carrying a concealed handgun in certain locations, including: Police stations, Sheriff’s offices, Correctional facilities, Airport terminals, Courthouses, Mental illness facilities, Universities (unless specifically allowed), and School safety zones. In addition to a CCW, individuals carrying a concealed handgun must carry another valid form of government identification. Transporting Firearms in Your Vehicle The legality of transporting concealed firearms in your vehicle depends on whether you possess a CCW permit. If you have a concealed carry permit, you can transport a loaded, concealed handgun inside your car. However, you cannot carry a concealed weapon in your vehicle if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Carrying a concealed weapon in your vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol amounts to a 5th Degree Felony, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500. If you don’t have a CCW permit, you can transport an unloaded firearm as long as it is carried in one of the following ways: In a closed package, box, or case; In a compartment that can be reached only by leaving the vehicle; or In plain sight and secured in a rack or holder made for that purpose. Violation of this provision amounts to a 4th Degree Felony, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $250. Consult with a Weapons Charges Attorney Today An experienced weapons charges attorney with Gounaris Abboud, LPA, can help you understand the charges you’re facing and your options. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with the one-on-one attention that is critical to establishing a trusting attorney-client relationship. Our team has more than 30 years of collective experience representing individuals charged with criminal violations. No two cases are the same, so we dedicate time to each one of our clients, which allows us to listen to their situation, the outcome they desire, and create a strategy to meet their goals. When your freedom is at stake, there is no time to waste. Contact our team of criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, as soon as possible at 937-222-1515 or online. 

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failure to appear in court

Make Sure You Appear in Court If You Want to Avoid Additional Consequences Woody Allen allegedly said that 90% of life is just showing up. Judges in Ohio traffic courts require 100% attendance—showing up 9 out 10 times won’t cut it. You could be in a lot of trouble if you miss your speeding ticket court appearance. Missing your court date is never a good thing. Even in times of a global pandemic, you need to appear in court. Not only will you lose your ticket appeal, but the judge might also issue a warrant for your arrest, assess costs against you, and even suspend your license.  What should you do if you can’t make your court appearance for a speeding ticket or another moving infraction? The traffic defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud can help you with your traffic ticket defense. They can go to traffic court with you—or for you—and protect your rights. Why It’s Imperative That You Go to Court You have the right to fight your speeding ticket or other traffic offense in court. These crimes are referred to as minor misdemeanors. You can pay the ticket—thereby admitting guilt—and avoid going to court.  However, there are consequences that stem from accumulating too many traffic tickets. For example, the state could suspend your driver’s license. Additionally, your insurance company could increase your coverage rates or drop you altogether. Moreover, if you have a commercial driver’s license, the state could revoke your ability to make a living by driving. Therefore, it makes sense to fight a traffic offense to protect your driving record as well as your way of life. You can go to court to contest the traffic violation allegations if you want. You must appear in court at the date and time the court assigns to you. You have the chance to plead not guilty and have a trial.  Keep in mind, you have a legal obligation to appear in court if the police charge you with a felony or misdemeanor traffic crime. Traffic crimes carry the possibility of going to jail. You must appear at your arraignment date and trial date; otherwise, the court can take matters into its own hands. Consequences for Missing Court When Your Speeding Ticket Court Appearance Is Required Traffic courts are busy. They don’t have the luxury of wasting time processing your case and then putting the resources into it if you don’t show up. The time courts spend on your case is time spent away from someone else’s. Additionally, the prosecution has to call witnesses to come to court for your trial. This costs the state money. Consequently, magistrates and judges can punish you for not appearing. The court can enter a default finding on your docket if you don’t come to court. If you have minor misdemeanor traffic charges, then the judge will find you guilty and order you to pay the fine and associated fees. However, the court will issue a bench warrant for you if you have criminal offenses on your ticket. Having a bench warrant lodged against you means that you are subject to arrest when you’re in public. What are the implications of having a bench warrant out against you? Having a warrant is no way to live. The police can arrest you any time they encounter you. You might think you can avoid the police, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. If you are involved in a fender-bender, get stopped for a traffic offense, or have to call the police if you witness a crime, then you will be arrested. Police often “run” your information when they learn your name. They have to arrest you if the court issued a warrant for your apprehension. You will be brought to court after your arrest if the court is open at that time. If not, you might have to post bond if you are eligible. If you can’t post bond, then you could end up staying in jail until the next time court opens. Therefore, you could spend an entire weekend in jail awaiting your court appearance all because you didn’t go to court when you should have. Additional Consequences for Missing a Court Appearance for a Speeding Ticket Can you imagine your life if a police officer threw the cuffs on you and took you to jail because you missed a court appearance? How would you explain your arrest to your family? What would you say to your boss? You might be embarrassed, especially if you’ve never been in trouble before. Don’t let this happen to you.  How Can Gounaris Abboud Help? Gounaris Abboud’s defense attorneys can help you in a variety of ways. First, you can lean on our tremendous experience to help you out of a jam. As we’ve discussed, there are many reasons why you might want to fight a speeding ticket. Gounaris Abboud’s defense lawyers appear in traffic courts in Ohio regularly. We can appear on your behalf and may be able to get your ticket cleared up. If the court insists that you personally appear for your hearing, then Gounaris Abboud’s ticket defense lawyers can ask for another date if you can’t come to court for a valid reason. We can argue your case for you and give you the best possible chance to win your ticket appeal.  Contact Gounaris Abboud Today for Further Information About What Happens If You Fail to Appear in Court for a Traffic Ticket Call Gounaris Abboud today at 937-222-1515 to learn more about how we can protect your rights. Our award-winning traffic ticket defense lawyers have the experience and knowledge you need to win your traffic ticket case.

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involuntary manslaughter charge

Charges of Ohio Involuntary Manslaughter Can Lead to Lengthy Prison Sentences: Get the Help You Need Now We take driving for granted. We love our cars, and we are used to the freedom driving a car allows us to experience. In fact, our lives depend on our ability to drive.  We forget that driving a motor vehicle is dangerous. Despite knowing the dangers of driving, we mindlessly get in our cars to go to work or school. However, our complacency when we drive could put us in dangerous positions. This is especially true after having a couple of drinks and then driving.  If you are in an accident after you’ve had a couple of drinks and someone dies, then you could face charges of involuntary manslaughter in Ohio. An Ohio involuntary manslaughter sentence could leave you behind bars for up to a decade or more. The Ohio involuntary manslaughter defense lawyers with Gounaris Abboud have helped countless clients who thought they had no way to win their case avoid the harsh penalties imposed by Ohio law. Gounaris Abboud’s experience, resources, and skills can help give you the best chance to avoid a long involuntary manslaughter sentence in Ohio. What Is Involuntary Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle in Ohio? Involuntary manslaughter by motor vehicle in Ohio generally refers to charges stemming from a fatal motor vehicle accident. Ohio law categorizes the charges based on the circumstances of how the crash occurred. The categories of crimes are: Aggravated vehicular homicide; Vehicular homicide; and Vehicular manslaughter. The penalties vary for these offenses depending on the facts of the case and your criminal record if you have one.  Aggravated Vehicular Homicide By OVI  In Ohio, a person is guilty of a second-degree felony for being the proximate cause of someone’s death in an accident if operating a vehicle while intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, or both.  Ohio law defines this offense as aggravated vehicular homicide. A person convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide faces a minimum mandatory prison sentence. Under Ohio law, the judge must impose a minimum mandatory sentence of two, three, four, five, six, seven, or eight years. That means you are not eligible for parole or early release until you serve the minimum sentence.  The judge has to follow a formula that sets the maximum term you spent in prison. After the judge sets the minimum mandatory term of your sentence for involuntary manslaughter in Ohio, then the judge must set the maximum sentence. Ohio law instructs the judge to add 50% to the minimum sentence to arrive at the maximum sentence. The state will also revoke your license or driving privileges for life.  Ohio law allows the prosecution to bring charges against you that have enhanced sentences if certain conditions exist. You face a first-degree felony conviction for aggravated vehicular homicide if you meet those conditions. The prosecution can ask the judge to increase your involuntary manslaughter sentence in Ohio if you: Have three previous convictions for DUI/OVI within 10 years; Have a previous conviction for assault or manslaughter involving a traffic offense; Were driving without a license or on a suspended license; or Committed a combination of any of these offenses. A conviction for first-degree aggravated vehicular manslaughter could send you to prison for as long as 15 years or more depending on your record. Aggravated Vehicular Homicide by Reckless Conduct Aggravated vehicular homicide by reckless conduct is a third-degree felony. Recklessness is consciously disregarding an unjustifiable risk of harm. If a person died in an accident and you were driving recklessly or committing a reckless driving offense in a construction zone, then you are guilty of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide by Reckless conduct. You could spend up to five years in prison for a third-degree felony conviction. Your charges of involuntary manslaughter in Ohio could rise to a second-degree felony if the prosecution proves that enhanced sentences should be imposed. Enhanced sentences usually apply when you have prior convictions or drove while your license was suspended. Vehicular Homicide The charge of vehicular homicide applies to the death of someone in an accident caused by the negligent conduct of the driver. This charge also applies to the death of a person killed by a speeder in a construction zone if the crash occurred within the construction zone. A person drives negligently when failing to abide by the standard of care all drivers are expected to observe. The crime of vehicular homicide is a misdemeanor in the first degree. The maximum jail sentence is 180 days. However, the court must send anyone convicted of vehicular homicide to jail for a minimum of 15 days. You could face fourth-degree felony charges if your license was suspended or revoked when the fatal crash happened. Vehicular Manslaughter The term vehicular manslaughter in Ohio applies to car crashes that occur when the driver commits a minor misdemeanor that causes the death of another. Accidentally running a red light or not stopping at a stop sign are examples of minor misdemeanors. The maximum penalty for vehicular manslaughter by vehicle in Ohio is 90 days in jail. Notwithstanding, the prosecutor could ask to upgrade the charge to a first-degree misdemeanor if you drove on a suspended license when the crash happened. Defenses to Ohio Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in Ohio The types of defenses available to you will depend on the facts of the case and your criminal record. You must not wait too long before talking to a qualified attorney about your case. Otherwise, you might lose out on valuable evidence that could help you with your defense.  At Gounaris Abboud, we aggressively pursue every avenue of defense available to you, so you have the best chance of winning your case. In some instances, the best defense is trying to knock evidence out of court because the police violated your rights. Sometimes, the best defense might be showing the jury that the prosecution can’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If those avenues of defense may not...

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teen driving laws ohio

Many parents know when it’s time for their teenager to get behind the wheel. However, parents do not always realize the extensive requirements for obtaining a temporary permit, the rules that apply specifically to teenage drivers, and the steps necessary for securing a regular driver’s license once your teenager reaches the appropriate age. New Ohio teen driving laws can cause added confusion, leading parents to think that the requirements or restrictions for teen driving have changed.  If you are looking for information about Ohio’s teen driving laws, you came to the right place. Reach out to our team at Gounaris Abboud today to learn more. What Are Ohio’s Teenage Driver Laws?  The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) allows teenagers who are fifteen-and-a-half years old to obtain a temporary instruction permit identification card (TIPIC) once they pass a written and vision test. The BMV offers the written test on a computer at most of its locations. If your teenager fails the written test, they can retake the test after 24 hours have passed. The written test contains 40 multiple choice questions about Ohio traffic regulations and signs. The BMV requires at least a 75% score on the test. After receiving a passing score, the teen driver has 60 days to purchase the TIPIC. If your teen driver is under 16 years old, the TIPIC authorizes him or her to practice driving on public roads, but only when a parent, guardian, or certified driving instructor occupies the front passenger seat of the vehicle. If the teen driver is older than 16 but under 18, he or she can practice driving with a licensed driver over the age of 21 in the front passenger seat. Obtaining an Ohio Driver’s License After holding the TIPIC for six months and satisfying other requirements, your teen driver can obtain an Ohio driver’s license. During the six month period, the teen driver must satisfy requirements including: Completion of a driver’s education course; 24 hours of classroom instruction; 8 hours of driving instruction; and 50 hours of supervised driving experience, at least 10 of which occur at night. When these requirements are satisfied, your teen driver can contact any Ohio driver’s license exam station and schedule a skills test. The skills test involves an actual road test using your teen’s own vehicle. If your teen fails the skills test, he or she must wait seven days before attempting the test again. Ohio Teenage Driving Restrictions Teens’ driver’s licenses in Ohio are subject to certain restrictions. Some of those restrictions fall off after holding the license for 12 months, but other restrictions remain in place until your teen turns 18. During the first twelve months, Ohio’s teenage driving laws place the following restrictions on teen drivers: Prohibition on driving between 10 PM and 5 AM absent specific circumstances; Only one non-family member as a passenger at a time, unless a parent or guardian is present; All occupants must wear seatbelts; and Use of mobile devices is strictly prohibited. After they hold a driver’s license for at least 12 months, Ohio allows teen drivers to operate their vehicle at any time of night if accompanied by a parent or guardian, but other restrictions still apply. Violating these restrictions can result in your teen being unable to drive without parental supervision for up to six months or until the teenager turns 17 years old, whichever happens first. Multiple violations can result in revocation of the probationary license. Consequences for Violation of Ohio’s Teenage Driving Laws Ohio implements strict laws punishing distracted driving. Ohio defines distracted driving as “engaging in any activity that is not necessary to the operation of a vehicle and impairs, or reasonably would be expected to impair, the ability of the operator to drive the vehicle safely.” For drivers over 18, the use of a handheld electronic device does not, on its own, give Ohio law enforcement authorities the ability to stop the driver. However, if the driver is under 18, the use of a handheld device does give police authorization to pull the teen driver over. A first violation results in a 60-day license suspension and a $150 fine. A second violation results in a 1-year license suspension and a $300 fine. Because the legal drinking age is 21, authorities have authorization to charge drivers under 21 with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .02 percent but less than .08 percent with “Operating a Vehicle After Underage Consumption.” The maximum potential penalties include up to two years of license suspension, a remedial driving course, re-taking the driver’s license examination, and four points assessed to your license.  Contact Us for Questions About Ohio Teen Driving Laws Traffic violations can negatively affect not only your teenager’s ability to drive, but also your insurance coverage prices. While the violation may seem minor, the consequences can affect your teenager in more ways than one. By hiring a traffic attorney that specializes in Ohio’s teenage driving laws, you can ensure that no stone is left unturned in avoiding a traffic conviction. We will review the circumstances surrounding your case and formulate a defense strategy to help you obtain a favorable result. With over 50 years of courtroom experience, we are confident in our ability to represent you in an aggressive and efficient manner. Contact our office today to start your free consultation.

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