what happens if you fail to appear in court for a traffic ticket

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 ohio

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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ohio teen driving law

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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false positive breathalyzer test

If you’ve ever driven past a police officer in the middle of an Ohio OVI stop, you may have seen the officer holding up a small device for the driver to blow into. This is a breath-alcohol testing device, more commonly known as a breathalyzer. Police officers use breathalyzers to estimate a driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC). If the result of a breathalyzer test indicates a driver is under the influence of alcohol, it may provide the officer with probable cause to arrest the driver. How Does a Breathalyzer Machine Work? Under Ohio law, it is illegal to drive with a certain amount of alcohol in your system. The legal standard for what constitutes “drunk driving” is a blood-alcohol content of .08% or more. However, breathalyzer machines don’t actually test a person’s blood. Instead, these devices measure the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath. The device then uses a complex formula to provide an estimate of the driver’s blood-alcohol content. There are two types of breathalyzer devices. The breathalyzers police officers use during a traffic stop are called preliminary, or portable breath tests (PBTs). Most police districts also have a larger, more sophisticated breathalyzer at the station. While PBTs are much more convenient, they are also less accurate. Thus, the results of a PBT are generally inadmissible at court due to the possibility of a false positive breathalyzer test result. So, it is common for an officer who administers a PBT to then take a driver back to the station for additional testing. Problems with Breathalyzers If you’ve been arrested for an Ohio OVI, you may be wondering what can cause a false positive breathalyzer test. There are a few problems with breathalyzers. Residual Mouth Alcohol Breathalyzer tests measure the amount of alcohol contained in the expired air, or exhaled air, from a person’s lungs. After you consume alcohol, your body almost immediately begins absorbing the alcohol into your bloodstream. However, if you very recently consumed alcohol, there will likely be some alcohol lingering in your mouth and throat. This is called residual mouth alcohol. Residual mouth alcohol can cause an exaggerated test result or even a false positive. This is because the alcohol content in the mouth and throat immediately after consuming alcohol is much higher than the alcohol content in your exhaled breath. There are many potential sources of residual mouth alcohol, a few of which include: Nyquil or other brands of cough syrup; Cough drops containing menthol; Mouthwash; and Chewing gum. Additionally, a breathalyzer may pick up on residual mouth alcohol if someone has certain dental work or mouth piercings. For example, a dental bridge or a tongue piercing can cause alcohol to get trapped in small crevices in the mouth. Those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) may also register a false positive on a breathalyzer test. This is because GERD can cause certain gases, including those containing alcohol, to leave the stomach and rise into the mouth and throat. Calibration Breathalyzer devices require constant calibration to function properly. Police departments should maintain a log of the maintenance performed on each breathalyzer machine. However, sometimes police officers forget to calibrate a breathalyzer. When a machine is not calibrated properly or not calibrated at all, it may result in an inaccurate test result. An experienced Ohio OVI defense attorney can review a breathalyzer maintenance log to determine if the device was properly calibrated prior to the administration of your test. OVI Arrests Based on False Positive Breathalyzer Results If someone is arrested based on a breathalyzer false positive, they can challenge the circumstances of their arrest. If successful, the challenge may result in the exclusion of any evidence obtained after the faulty test. For example, if you can show that a result from a PBT was inaccurate, any other subsequent test results or observations made by police officers may be inadmissible in court. If police searched your car and found incriminating evidence, this too may be excluded from trial. In some cases, this can mean the prosecution has no choice but to withdraw the case. Have You Been Arrested for an Ohio OVI Offense? If you face Ohio drunk driving charges based on the results of a breathalyzer test, do not give up hope. There are many defenses in Ohio OVI cases, especially those following an arrest based on breathalyzer test results. At the law firm of Gounaris Abboud, LPA., our dedicated team of criminal defense attorneys aggressively represent clients facing all types of DUI charges. We work with a team of respected expert witnesses who can help explain to the judge or jury why a breathalyzer test result may not be as accurate as the government claims. To learn more about our firm and the services we provide, give us a call to schedule a free consultation. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.

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First-Degree Misdemeanors Ohio

The United States government is set up to allow each state to create its own criminal law. In most states, including Ohio, most crimes fall into two categories or “grades”—felonies and misdemeanors. While misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, a misdemeanor conviction can still have a significant impact on your life. For example, depending on the offense, a first-time misdemeanor offense can carry the possibility of fines, probation, and even jail time. The Degrees of Ohio Misdemeanors In Ohio, there are five types of misdemeanors. Minor misdemeanors, Fourth-degree misdemeanors, Third-degree misdemeanors, Second-degree misdemeanors, and First-degree misdemeanors. Minor misdemeanors are the least serious, and first-degree misdemeanors are the most serious. Many crimes can be graded in different ways, depending on the facts alleged by the prosecution. For example, domestic violence (Ohio Revised Code section 2919.25), can be a fourth-degree misdemeanor, third-degree misdemeanor, second-degree misdemeanor, or a first-degree misdemeanor.  In the case of domestic violence, the crime is a first-degree misdemeanor if someone knowingly causes or attempts to cause physical harm to a family or household member. Domestic violence is also a first-degree misdemeanor if you recklessly cause serious physical harm to a family or household member. Other examples of first-degree misdemeanors include: Driving under the influence of drugs; Petty theft of items valued at $1,000 or less; Driving on a suspended license; and Assault. —As stated, first-degree misdemeanors are the highest grade of this crime classification and generally carry the stiffest penalties. Punishments for First-Degree Misdemeanors In most cases, if you are convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio, the judge has discretion in how to sentence you. This means the judge will hear arguments from your attorney as well as the prosecution and then determine what the appropriate sentence will be. In some cases, the judge may also allow the victim to present a “victim impact statement.” However, generally, a first-degree misdemeanor conviction carries the following penalties: Up to six months in jail; and Up to a $1,000 fine. Depending on the nature of the offense, a judge may also impose other punishments, including mandatory house arrest, community service, probation, drug testing, or counseling. Typically, these punishments are alternatives to incarceration. For instance, if the judge sentences you to probation with community service and drug testing but you fail to complete the requirements as ordered—the court will likely sentence you to jail time instead. When determining what the appropriate sentence is, a judge will consider several factors: The prosecutor’s recommendation; The impact the crime had on the victim’s life; The level of remorse expressed by the defendant; The defendant’s prior record; and The impact incarceration would have on the defendant’s life. Generally, a first-time misdemeanor charge will not result in a jail sentence. However, in the case of more serious misdemeanors, jail time may be on the table. Additionally, some first-degree misdemeanors carry mandatory minimum sentences. Why Having an Attorney Is Crucial for Those Facing First-Degree Misdemeanor Charges It is important for anyone facing first-degree misdemeanor charges to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Not only will an attorney help you determine the best way to defend against the allegations, but they can also advocate on your behalf during plea negotiations and at a sentencing hearing.  For sentencing hearings, attorneys know the types of things judges want to hear and the most effective way to convey this information. For example, many people convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor believe that they should hide their substance abuse issues from the judge because it may involve admitting to past criminal activity. However, often a judge who learns of a defendant’s mental health issues (including substance abuse) may be more inclined to fashion a rehabilitative sentence instead of one that includes jail time. It isn’t that drug use is an “excuse” for a person to commit a crime, but it certainly plays into the overall circumstances that a judge may consider when coming up with a sentence.  That said, it is also essential to present this information in an effective manner that may compel the judge to be lenient. Experienced attorneys know how to do this, and they often even know the judge. Knowing the predisposition of the judge can be quite valuable, and help your attorney fashion an argument that is most likely to get you a positive result. Attorneys may also be able to negotiate an agreement between you and the prosecution for a sentence that you can live with. This avoids the uncertainty of trial and can spare you the stress of not knowing what your future holds. Contact an Experienced Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer Today If you were recently arrested for a first-degree misdemeanor, reach out to the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA. At Gounaris Abboud, our Ohio criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience representing clients facing all types of crimes, ranging from a first-time misdemeanor offense to serious felony charges. We understand that facing criminal charges is a stressful experience, and we do everything we can to put your mind at ease throughout the process. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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ohio medical marijuana laws

Over the past fifteen years, society’s attitude towards marijuana has changed significantly. In 2016, Ohio voters passed House Bill 523 into law, which allowed Ohioans to legally use medical marijuana for the first time. However, due to complications in implementing the medical marijuana regulatory framework, it wasn’t until 2019 that people could purchase medical marijuana.  However, even though medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, there are still significant restrictions on who is eligible for medical marijuana, when and where you can consume marijuana, and how much marijuana a medical cardholder can possess. Who Is Eligible for an Ohio Medical Marijuana Card? In Ohio, medical marijuana is only available for patients who suffer from a “qualifying medical condition.” State law provides a list of all qualifying medical conditions, which currently includes the following: AIDS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Cachexia, Cancer, Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, Epilepsy (and other seizure disorders), Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, Inflammatory bowel disease, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Sickle cell anemia, Spasticity, Spinal cord disease or injury, Terminal illness, Tourette’s syndrome, Traumatic brain injury, and Ulcerative colitis. Additionally, anyone who experiences “chronic and severe or intractable” pain can qualify for medical marijuana. This opens the door for someone to apply for marijuana if they have a disease, disorder, or injury that is not included in the list of enumerated conditions. Each year, the State Medical Board of Ohio conducts a review process to determine whether new conditions should be added. Through this process, you can request that the Board add your condition to the list. Obtaining Approval for Medical Marijuana Just because you suffer from a listed condition does not mean that you can head down to your local dispensary and buy medical marijuana. You must first go through the registration process. The first step to qualifying for medical marijuana in Ohio is to go to a doctor who has an active certificate to recommend (CTR) issued by the State Medical Board of Ohio. Typically, this requires an in-person visit with the physician. During your visit, the physician will determine if you have a qualifying condition. If you do, they will then request that the Board add your name to the patient registry. State law requires a physician to obtain your driver’s license, identification card, or U.S. passport to verify your identity. Caregivers can purchase and administer medical marijuana for those in their care, provided there is documentation of the arrangement. If the doctor approves you for medical marijuana, they can write a prescription for a 90-day supply. The doctor can include up to three refills, totaling a one-year supply. Thus, you will need to visit a doctor at least once a year to continue receiving medical marijuana. Once the doctor enters your name into the patient registry, you will receive an email outlining the registration process. You must then complete the registration process and pay the annual fee. The annual fee is $50 for patients and $25 for caregivers. However, veterans and those patients who cannot afford to pay the fee may apply to pay a reduced amount. Once you complete the registration process, the final step is to find a dispensary. Limits on Ohio Medical Marijuana While medical marijuana is legal, there are still many restrictions on its use. For example, growing marijuana is still illegal. To comply with the law, you must purchase medical marijuana through an approved dispensary. You can also only possess up to a 90-day supply of marijuana at a time. State law defines what a 90-day supply is, based on the type of marijuana or cannabis product. Up to eight ounces of tier I medical marijuana (23% THC or less); Up to five and three-tenths ounces of tier II medical marijuana (more than 23% THC); Up to twenty-six and fifty-five-hundredths grams of THC content in patches, lotions, creams, or ointments for topical administration; Up to nine and nine-tenths grams of THC content in oil, tincture, capsule, or edibles; and Up to fifty-three and one-tenths grams of THC content in medical marijuana oil for vaporization. Of course, it is also still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. In Ohio, this is referred to as operating a vehicle impaired (OVI). This presents a problem for many medical marijuana users because THC, the active component in medical marijuana, stays in your system for up to several days. The inactive components of medical marijuana—which do not cause you to feel high or impact your driving—can remain in your system for weeks. Anyone arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana may have a defense, depending on the amount of THC in their blood at the time of their arrest and whether they exhibited any signs of impaired driving. An experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney can help you understand the laws and whether you have a viable defense to a marijuana OVI charge. Contact an Experienced Marijuana Defense Attorney Today If you face any marijuana-related charges in Ohio, reach out to the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA. At Gounaris Abboud, our attorneys stay up-to-date on the frequently changing laws surrounding Ohio medical marijuana. Regardless of the nature of the charges you face, we will develop a compelling defense to ensure the charges impact your life as little as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our Ohio medical marijuana defense attorneys, give us a call today. You can also connect with us through our online form.

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firearm purchase ohio

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides all citizens the right to bear arms. However, despite the language of the Second Amendment, the state and federal governments can impose strict limits on gun rights. Additionally, the constitutional rights of minors are not always coextensive with those of adults. The result is that if you are under age, buying a gun in Ohio is against the law. Not only that but attempting to buy a gun can get minors in legal trouble. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help those charged with weapons offenses understand what they face and how to best defend against the allegations. How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy a Gun in Ohio Under Ohio gun purchasing laws, it is illegal for minors to purchase or attempt to purchase any type of firearm. Section 2923.211 of the Ohio Revised Code clearly states that “No person under eighteen years of age shall purchase or attempt to purchase a firearm.” Additionally, no person under the age of 21 can purchase or attempt to purchase a handgun unless they meet one of two exceptions: The person is at least 18 years old, is a police officer, and completed firearms training approved by the Ohio peace officer training council or equivalent firearms training; or The person is at least 18 years old, is an active or reserve member of the U.S. military or Ohio National Guard, and completed the appropriate firearms training. Thus, in no event is a minor under the age of 18 allowed to purchase a gun. And you cannot purchase a handgun if you are under 21 years old unless you are a police officer, in the military, or in the Ohio National Guard. While some states draw a distinction between hunting rifles, shotguns, and pistols, Ohio does not. For the purposes of Ohio’s gun laws, all these weapons are “firearms.” Additionally, the law makes no distinction between “purchasing” and “attempting to purchase” a firearm. Punishments for Minors Caught Buying a Gun Illegally If police officers arrest you as a minor for attempting to buy a gun illegally, you face serious consequences. In most cases, crimes committed by minors are not heard in adult court. However, that does not mean that a minor who attempts to purchase a gun won’t get in legal trouble. Section 2923.211 provides that anyone under the age of 18 who purchases or attempts to purchase a firearm commits a delinquent act equivalent to a fourth-degree felony. In these cases, the range of punishment can vary significantly. This is because, in some situations, a minor may face charges in adult court if an offense involves the use of a firearm—for example, if a minor used an illegally purchased gun to commit another crime. However, in most cases, a minor who attempts to purchase a firearm will stay in the juvenile justice system. Anyone over the age of 18 but under 21 who purchases or attempts to purchase a firearm is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree. Misdemeanors of the second degree carry a punishment of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $750. Penalties for Adults Who Purchase Firearms for Minors Ohio law also makes it a crime to sell or “furnish” a firearm to anyone who is underage. This includes a parent who allows a child to use a gun for anything other than “lawful hunting, sporting, or educational purposes.” So parents can take their minor children hunting and teach them about firearm safety without running afoul of the law. However, if a parent allows unsupervised use, they may subject themselves to criminal liability. Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.21, violating this law will result in a conviction for a felony of the fifth degree. Fifth-degree felonies carry a punishment of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Were You Arrested for an Ohio Gun Charge? If you were arrested for an Ohio firearm offense, contact the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA. At Gounaris Abboud, we represent clients facing all types of Ohio weapons charges, including minors who purchased a gun illegally. We have more than 50 years of combined experience helping clients navigate the complex and stressful criminal trial process. We always keep a laser focus on defending their rights and securing the best result possible.  We believe in developing lasting relationships with each of our clients. Thus, we take the time to get to know you, your situation, and your goals before recommending any course of action. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Ohio gun crime defense lawyers, give us a call today. You can also reach out to us through our online contact form.

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Aggravated Burglary Ohio

Someone can be guilty of both burglary and robbery or of either crime separately. Although many consider both burglary and robbery to be synonymous with theft, they are distinct crimes that involve circumstances beyond basic theft. Burglary always involves trespass but does not always involve stealing something. Robbery is a theft that involves some type of threat, force, or use of a weapon.  Theft Offenses in Ohio Ohio divides theft offenses into petty theft and grand theft, depending on the value of the property stolen. Someone commits theft when they unlawfully take goods or services from another person without consent or beyond the limits of consent with the intent to permanently deprive the person of the property. If the value of the goods or services is under $1,000, it is petty theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. If the value is over $1,000 or is a credit card, check, license plate, or DMV form for title or registration, it is a felony. The level of felony increases based upon the alleged loss.   What Is Burglary? Burglary is also called “breaking and entering.” Someone commits burglary when they unlawfully trespass in any part of a non-abandoned building or structure with the intent to commit a crime. This could be a theft crime or another type of crime, such as an assault. It is a third-degree felony. Burglary is a second-degree felony when someone else is present in the building or if the building is someone’s temporary or permanent dwelling. Merely trespassing unlawfully in someone’s permanent or temporary habitation, without the intent to commit a crime, is a fourth-degree felony. Burglary can occur in any type of non-abandoned structure, e.g., a building, a boat, an airplane, or a vehicle. Examples of someone’s dwelling or habitation would be the person’s house or apartment, a hotel room, or a tent.   What Is Aggravated Burglary? Someone commits aggravated burglary when they commit burglary when they either harm or threaten to harm someone else or have a deadly weapon. Aggravated burglary is a first-degree felony.  What Is Robbery? Someone commits robbery when they attempt or commit theft, or they are fleeing after doing so, and they: Have a deadly weapon, Harm or attempt to harm someone else, or  Use or threaten force against someone.  Robbery is a felony. It is a second-degree felony if the person had a deadly weapon or it involved physical harm to another person. It is a third-degree felony if it involved only force or the threat of force. What Is Aggravated Robbery?  Aggravated robbery is when someone attempts or commits theft, or is fleeing afterward, and they: Have a deadly weapon and make it known by showing it, using it, or indicating that they have it; or Seriously harm or attempt to seriously harm someone else. Penalties Penalties for burglary or robbery depend on the degree of the felony charge. All convictions will involve prison time and a fine. The court may also suspend or limit driving privileges in certain circumstances.  First-degree felony: three to ten years prison and a $20,000 maximum fine; Second-degree felony: two to eight years prison and a $10,000 maximum fine; Third-degree felony: one to five years prison and a $10,000 maximum fine; Fourth-degree felony: six to 18 months prison and a $5,000 maximum fine; and Fifth-degree felony: six to 12 months prison and a $2,500 maximum fine. Aggravating factors that would increase the penalty include theft of a: Firearm or deadly weapon, Motor vehicle, Dangerous drug, Police animal or support animal, Gasoline, or  Rented property or services. For the crime of burglary involving physical harm to another person, the seriousness of the harm is an aggravating factor. Gounaris Abboud, LPA, Has the Criminal Defense Attorneys You Need Our attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, have more than 50 years of experience between them, and we take bold, zealous approaches to legal defense. Our theft crimes defense attorneys can help you understand what to expect from the legal system and devise a defense that suits your best interests. Please contact us via our website or call 937-222-1515 to schedule your consultation. 

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False Sexual Allegations

Sex offense crimes are unique among criminal cases in that they often proceed on very little physical evidence. Instead, many of these cases rely on mere allegations of illegal conduct. While the burden of proof always rests with the prosecution, proving that sexual allegations are false can be a challenge. However, there are certain strategies that can be used to expose false sexual assault allegations. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, approximately 8% of all claims of rape are unfounded, meaning they were completely made up. On average, the rate of unfounded claims across all types of crime is 2%. Thus, rape allegations are about four times as likely to be false when compared to other types of crime. While the FBI only considered forcible rape in its analysis, it stands to reason that other sexual allegations suffer a similarly high rate of fabrication. Other types of sex offenses include: Sexual battery; Unlawful sexual contact with a minor; Sexual imposition (non-consensual sexual contact); Gross sexual imposition; and Importuning (solicitation and prostitution). However, the prosecution does not need to have physical evidence to prove someone guilty of a sex offense. State and federal rules of evidence consider a witnesses’ testimony equivalent to physical evidence. Thus, at least in theory, a conviction for a sex offense can stand on one person’s testimony. Thus, anyone facing an Ohio sex crime should immediately discuss their case with an experienced criminal defense attorney to develop an effective defense, regardless of whether the allegations are false. Defending Against False Sexual Assault Allegations Sexual assault allegations are not unlike other crimes in that there are several defenses that can defeat a prosecution’s case. However, selecting the best defense requires a thorough review of the prosecution’s evidence. Below are some of the more common defenses to Ohio sex crimes. Consent Many sex crimes require the prosecution to prove that the defendant committed the sexual act, forming the basis of the offense without the alleged victim’s consent. Thus, presenting evidence that the encounter was consensual will often defeat the prosecution’s case. However, consent is not a valid defense in every sex assault case. Specifically, if the alleged victim was a minor, incapacitated, or suffered from a mental illness, proving consent will not help you avoid a guilty verdict. Similarly, consent is invalid if it was obtained through force or coercion, including through the use of drugs or alcohol.  Fabrication Given that 8% of reported rapes are unfounded, one of the most common defenses to sexual assault charges involves challenging the alleged victim’s credibility. This can be done either by claiming the alleged victim’s testimony was intentionally false or was the result of a mistake. For example, the following can help prove an accuser’s story isn’t true. Alibi An alibi is a complete defense to a criminal charge. When you run an alibi defense, you claim that you were somewhere else when the alleged crime occurred. In some cases, this requires you to testify to your whereabouts. However, you can also have the person you were with testify on your behalf. Alternatively, cell phone records or work records may be used to prove you were not at the scene of the alleged crime. Animus Most false claims of sexual assault involve a personal issue between the alleged victim and the defendant. For example, if your partner finds out you had an affair, they may file false accusations of sexual assault to get back at you. While often an effective strategy, this approach requires special care so as not to appear callous in front of the jury. Impossibility If you were physically incapable of committing the alleged offense, you can present medical records in your defense. For example, if you are unable to have sex due to a medical condition, it will cast doubt on the alleged victim’s claim that they were raped. While this is not the most common defense, it does come up on occasion—and when it does, it is often very effective. Illegally Obtained Statements In some sex assault cases, the prosecution relies on statements the defendant made to detectives. However, detectives must satisfy certain constitutional requirements before taking a defendant’s statement. For example, if a detective takes an official statement from you without reading your Miranda rights to you, the statement may not be admissible at trial. These are just a few of the various ways to expose false sexual assault claims. To learn more about other possible defenses and what may work best in your case, contact an experienced Ohio sex assault defense lawyer. Are You Facing Sex Assault Allegations? If you are accused of sexual assault, showing that the accusations are false can be challenging. However, it is possible with the assistance of an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney. At Gounaris Abboud, LPA., we have more than 50 years of combined experience standing up for our clients’ rights. We have successfully resolved countless cases on behalf of clients across Ohio, and look forward to speaking with you to see how we can help. To learn more, and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, give us a call or connect with us through our online contact form today. 

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possession of criminal tools

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.

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