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Ohio Legal Issues Blog

Do I have a claim if I'm injured working on a construction site?

The answer is yes, but the type of claim depends on how it happens.

Construction injuries

The economy is doing well; there is construction everywhere. But along with new construction, comes a large number of injuries and even death. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, constructions worker deaths have risen 37% since 2011, well above other industries. In fact, in 2018, the construction industry accounted for nearly one in five worker deaths in the U.S. 

Can I Hold My Gun In The Privacy Of My Own Home If I'm Drunk?

No, according to the 12th District Court of Appeals-even if the weapon is unloaded. But that decision has been appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the issue yesterday.

The case originated in Clermont County two years ago, when a deputy and a sergeant from the Clermont County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to Frederick Weber's home after his wife called 911. She reported her husband was intoxicated and holding his shotgun. Notably, there was no evidence Frederick was threatening anyone, about to harm anyone or fire the gun, or that a crime had been or was about to be committed. In fact, when the police arrived at the Weber home, Frederick's wife advised them everything was fine and Frederick put the gun away.

Wrong Way Driver on Interstate 75 Kills Three

Three members of a Middletown family were killed on Friday, February 21, when a semitruck driven by Todd Bowling went through a cable barrier on Interstate 75 into oncoming traffic near Moraine, Ohio, in the area of the Heidelberg Distributing Co. facility. Bowling's tractor trailer crossed from the northbound lane into the southbound lane and struck another vehicle. Betty Davis, 57, Amanda Kidwell, 36, and Brayden Jennings, 6, were all killed in the accident. A fourth passenger in their vehicle, 8-year-old Adriana Sanchez, was also critically injured. Law enforcement is still investigating the incident and no charges have been filed at this point.

The importance of early legal representation

Injury victims and family members of those who passed away do not want to think about legal representation at any point, let alone immediately after tragedy. Unfortunately, time is important in these types of cases and family members should hire an attorney quickly for a number of reasons. 

Speeding Ticket Citations

Everyone knows the feeling of driving down the interstate and seeing a law enforcement officer in the median...your stomach drops. You quickly glance at your speedometer and realize you were going well over the speed limit. Before you know it, the police officer has turned on their lights and pulled you over for speeding. On any given day, many Ohio drivers find themselves in this very scenario. Perhaps the most common traffic violation, a speeding ticket has more consequences than you would think. Depending on your traffic record, profession, or driver's license status, a person should be prepared to fight their ticket in court. While such cases can be minor, you should know your rights and be informed.

What are the Consequences for a Speeding Ticket?

Under Ohio law, there are no set amounts for a speeding ticket fine. The amount you are fined will vary depending on the jurisdiction in which you are cited. A fine for a speeding ticket will usually range from $150-$500. Other than a fine, and perhaps most importantly, drivers should be aware that a speeding ticket results in points being applied to your license. These points can make your personal car insurance rates increase dramatically. Depending on how fast you were going and what the speed limit is, you could be assessed two or four points. It is important to keep track of your points because as an Ohio driver, once you have twelve (12) points, your license is suspended. 

Can a Judge Order an Alleged Victim to Allow the Defendant and Their Attorney to Photograph the Inside of Their Home?

No, according a recent decision by the First District Court of Appeals. In State ex rel. S.L. v. Rucker, 2020-Ohio-584, the First District granted a writ of prohibition for S.L. preventing the trial judge from compelling her to allow the defendant or his agent access to her residence. In other words, the First District held that Judge could not order S.L. to allow the defendant access.

This case stemmed from an ongoing domestic violence charge in Hamilton County Municipal Court. The defendant in that case, Tepe, had shared a residence with S.L. There was also a pending civil protection order giving S.L. exclusive use of the residence. This residence was the site of the alleged domestic violence crime. Tepe's attorney sought and obtained permission from the court for the attorney and Tepe to access to S.L.'s home for one hour, with police escort, for the purpose of taking photographs. 

Can You Be Charged With A Crime For Spanking Your Child In Ohio?

The short answer is yes, however, Ohio law does not specifically prohibit a parent from using physical punishment such as spanking.

Corporal punishment is not always a crime in Ohio. Corporal punishment includes all physical punishment including spanking. The problem is that Ohio law does not draw a clear line for when physical parental discipline becomes a crime. Ohio law leaves room for interpretation which gives prosecutors broad discretion on when to charge a parent. The sole question in most cases is whether the discipline is "proper and reasonable" under the circumstances. 

Ohio General Assembly to Consider Supreme Court's Proposed Bail Reform

Every year the Ohio Supreme Court proposes rules changes every year, and this year one of the rule changes impacts bail reform and Ohio Criminal Rule 46. One of the major proposed changes is a requirement that defendants have a bail hearing within two business days of arrest and that judges utilize the "least restrictive" conditions when imposing bail. Specifically:

The court shall release the defendant on the least restrictive conditions that, in the judgment of the court, will reasonably ensure the defendant's appearance in court, the protection of the safety of any person or the community, and that the defendant will not obstruct the criminal justice process. If the court orders monetary conditions of release, the court shall impose an amount and type which are least costly to the defendant while also sufficient to reasonably ensure the defendant's future appearance in court. 

Can Police Officers Lie To You?

Yes, police officers and detectives can lie. It is not illegal for them to do so. This does not mean all police officers do lie. But often times when they do, officers or detectives will employ deceptive tactics to suspects or people who they believe have knowledge of a crime in order to collect information. Of course, they may try this with suspects directly to obtain incriminating information or a damning admission.


ADMISSIONS PROMPTED BY A DETECTIVE'S LIES ARE USUALLY -BUT NOT ALWAYS-USED AGAINST THE SUSPECT

Typically, when a suspect admits to committing a crime after being prompted by an officer's lie or misrepresentation, the officer charges the suspect with a crime and the prosecutor attempts to use the person's own admission to prove their case. But is that fair? Not always, at least according to the Ninth District Court of Appeals in State v. Wilson. 

What is yours is mine and what is mine is mine too?

How to determine separate property in divorce 

When entering a marriage many spouses combine all their financial assets into joint accounts, buy property together, and proceed under the assumption of 'what is mine is yours' and vice versa. However, this age-old adage does not hold true in a divorce. In Ohio, during a divorce, the court divides into two categories; separate property and marital property. Once the property is categorized, the court then makes an equitable division of all property between the spouses according to the specific facts of the case.

Separate property is all property, either real or personal, that is traceable to one spouse. The spouse who is claiming to have separate property has the burden of proving that they either acquired that property prior to the marriage or obtained the property through gift, inheritance, or bequest during the marriage. Examples of separate property include but are not limited to; a down payment on a home made by one spouse prior to the marriage, jewelry received through a deceased parent's Will, or money in a retirement account that was invested prior to the date of marriage. In the instance of the retirement account, the calculation of the separate property would also include any passive interest on the premarital investment. 

Proposed Law Could Make Using Your Cellphone While Driving Illegal in Ohio

Ohio House Bill No. 468 was recently introduced which would overhaul Ohio's distracted driving laws. Currently, Ohio Revised Code ยง 4511.204 makes driving while texting illegal. However, unless the individual is under the age of 18, this offense is considered a secondary offense Ohio as the statute specifically states that law enforcement cannot stop someone solely as a result of he or she texting while driving. A driver can only be stopped and charged with this offense in conjunction with another traffic offense, such as speeding or going left of center.

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