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Ohio Legal Issues Blog

Obtaining Identification After an OVI Arrest

We are frequently asked how a person can show proof of identification following an OVI arrest. The short answer is that use of a passport or other identification cards should be used until a temporary state ID can be obtained.

When someone is arrested for OVI and placed under an administrative license suspension for either refusing a chemical test or testing over the legal limit, their license is seized by law enforcement and destroyed. The accused is often left without any form of identification. In these circumstances, it is wise for defendants to obtain a temporary state identification (ID) card from the Ohio BMV.

What if I don't want the Court to decide?

When it comes to the most important things in your life, your children and financial security, you likely do not want a stranger deciding your future. When facing divorce, many people want to know what options they have other than litigation. There are many forms of alternative dispute resolution that can be utilized before or after one files a complaint for divorce in Ohio or a petition for dissolution in Kentucky. Many clients have heard terms such as mediation or collaboration, but do not know what they mean or how they can be used in their case.

Mediation is a very common form of alternative dispute resolution and is oftentimes ordered by the court in the divorce process. Mediation is when a neutral facilitator works with the parties to try to help them reach an agreement. The mediator does not have the authority to make decisions for the parties. Some courts offer mediation at the courthouse. Oftentimes those mediators are Magistrates. Mediation is confidential process and is a helpful tool to settle cases outside of court either prior to any divorce action being filed or after. The parties can attend mediation either with their attorney present or without. Either way, it's important to prepare with your attorney before the mediation session. 

An Alarming View Of Opioid Prescriptions

Lawmakers in Ohio have passed several measures designed to get a handle on the prescription of pain medications that can be addicting. The laws are one response to a frightening epidemic of opioid abuse and the resulting deaths. According to one recent estimate, nearly 60,000 people overdosed in 2016, many of them lost to prescription and non-prescription painkillers. Drug overdoses are now the most common cause of death among Americans under 50 years old.

Responsible drug prescriptions

Ohio was forced to act in an attempt to control irresponsible practices at "pain management clinics." The popularity of these clinics rose quickly and coincided with the spike in opioid prescriptions and overdoses. Ohio law now requires that these clinics be owned and operated by one or more physicians. These physicians must meet further requirements, including:

  • Having never been denied a license to prescribe, dispense, administer, supply or sell a controlled substance
  • Having never had their license restricted for inappropriate actions regarding a controlled substance
  • Having never been subjected to disciplinary action by a licensing entity based on inappropriate actions regarding controlled substances 

Ohio's Sixth District Court Of Appeals Clarifies What Constitutes A Marked Lanes Violation

The Sixth District Court of Appeals in State v. Huffman, 2017 Ohio 7007, recently released a decision clarifying what constitutes a marked lanes violation. This case is valuable for criminal defense attorneys not only because it delineates what constitutes a traffic offense but also because many of our clients charged with OVI are often initially stopped for such a violation. The Court held that a violation of Revised Code ยง 4511.33, the marked lanes statute, occurs when a driver travels completely across the center line or fog line.

The means that merely swerving within one's lane or touching the fog or center lines does not constitute a marked lanes violation and would be insufficient to justify pulling over a vehicle. This is an important distinction as officers often stop a vehicle for these supposed violations. Thus, a stop predicated on touching the line, without crossing it, or weaving in one's lane must be thrown out, which is exactly what the Sixth District did in this case. As a result, the OVI charge against Huffman was dismissed due to the improper stop. 

Possessing Two Or More Drugs At The Same Time Leads To Multiple Sentences

Last week, the 12th District Court of Appeals in State v. Woodard, 2017-Ohio-6914 held that drug possession charges based upon the simultaneous possession of two or more controlled substances are not allied offenses of similar import. Essentially, allied offenses of similar import are offenses committed by engaging in the same act with the same motivation or mindset. When someone commits two or more separate offenses that are allied offenses of similar import, the court must merge the sentences of the separate offenses (known as "merger" or "the merger doctrine").

For instance, selling cocaine may bring about a drug trafficking charge and a drug possession charge. However, if a defendant is charged with and found guilty of both, a court can sentence the defendant on only one charge but not both. 

Text Messages to Encourage Boyfriend's Suicide Used to Convict Teen of Involuntary Manslaughter

Michelle Carter was recently found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 suicide death of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III. The evidence relied upon by prosecutors was primarily text messages that Carter sent to Roy encouraging him to commit suicide.

In Massachusetts, there are no laws criminalizing assisted suicide. For that reason, prosecutors prosecuted Carter for involuntary manslaughter for the unintentional killing of Roy by "an act that constitutes such a disregard of the probable harmful consequences to another as to be wanton or reckless."

What should I do if I have been stopped by the police after I have been drinking?

The penalties for people convicted of drunk driving have never been more severe. A conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence in Ohio can land a person in jail, lead to expensive fines, cause the person's license to be suspended and require them to enroll in treatment classes. The penalties can be more severe depending on a number of factors, including prior convictions, higher blood alcohol content levels and more.

Watch our video on the best way to conduct yourself during a police stop if you have been drinking.

Anyone stopped by police on suspicion of driving under the influence is right to be worried. If you have been drinking and the police stop you, you should do all of the following: 

Can I take a vacation during my divorce case? - Travelling and Divorce

Summer is here and many families like to take vacations with their children. A common question when going through a divorce or after is "are there any restrictions on travelling with my children?"

If you are already divorced, look at your parenting agreement. In most agreements, there are guidelines related to vacation (extended) parenting time. Those restrictions oftentimes address giving notice and providing the necessary information to the other parent, such as itinerary, flight information, contact information, and the place that you will be staying. There may also be information about where you are able to take the children and for how long. 

Every Motorcycle Owner Should Have Uninsured And Underinsured Insurance Coverage

A recent Ohio motorcycle case highlights the importance of your motorcycle insurance coverage 

Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) protects you in the event you are injured when the at-fault driver does not have any insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) protects you when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover the full extent of your injuries. The cost for obtaining UM / UIM insurance is minimal and might save your future. For motorcyclists this type of insurance coverage is a no-brainer.

According to the Insurance Research Council roughly 14% of Ohio drivers do not carry any liability insurance. A large portion of the remaining cars on the road carry only minimum coverage. In Ohio the state minimum coverage for liability insurance is only $25,000. At Rittgers & Rittgers the damages in the majority of the motorcycle crash cases we handle are frequently hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes millions of dollars. Medical bills, alone, almost always exceed the $25,000 state minimum.

Ohio's Waiting Period For Sealing A Non-Conviction: Before The Ohio Supreme Court

Earlier this month, the Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments in State of Ohio v. Colton Dye, Case Number 2016-1395. The issue before the high court was whether a trial court must wait until the applicable statute of limitations has expired before sealing an individual's record of a non-conviction.

Under Ohio law, eligible offenders may file a motion to seal their record of conviction if the offense itself is sealable and so long as the offender has waited the appropriate time to seal the record. For misdemeanor convictions, offenders must wait at least one year after their probation terminates before they are eligible to file to seal the conviction. The waiting period to seal a felony conviction is three years after probation terminates. 

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