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Ohio Legal Issues Blog

Ohio's New BMV Program May Help You Get Your Driver's License Back

The Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative 

On January 31, 2019, more than one third of the 1.1 million Ohioans with suspended driver's licenses will have an opportunity to petition the BMV to reduce their reinstatement fees or waive them entirely. This opportunity falls under a new six month program called the Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative.

Not all individuals with suspended driver's licenses are eligible to apply for the program. For instance, the opportunity is not available for individuals convicted of an offense involving alcohol, drug abuse, or a deadly weapon, or where the basis of the charge involved any such factors. Instead, there are 25 specific offenses listed in the new law eligible for reinstatement relief. These include, but are not limited to: reckless operation, non-compliance/FRA suspensions, and failure to stop after an accident. 

Homeowner's Insurance Policies Part 2: Definition or Exclusion?

As you read your homeowner's insurance policy one thing that you will inevitably encounter are terms referencing other terms, referencing definitions, referencing back to other terms (never mind all of the exclusions). It can be maddening. A logical next question is whether these definitions are there to exclude coverage, or simply to define coverage. While our previous discussion about exclusions should give you some peace of mind that anything not specifically excluded should be covered under Ohio law, courts are instructed to read policies in their entirety, and not to ignore one part of a policy to the benefit of another.1 Courts must "give meaning to every paragraph, clause, phrase and word."2

For example, many policies define the place being insured as the "residence premise." They then define the "residence premise" as "the place where you reside." This begs the question, if you have insurance on a property where you are not living, is it covered? Here are some tips to help you determine the answer.

Domestic Violence Charge Dismissed

We recently represented a hard-working single father with no criminal record who is thirty-seven years old. His girlfriend told him that she would accuse him of domestic violence if he ended the relationship. When he ended the relationship, she followed through with her threat and called 911. She told the arresting officer he hit her a few times in the back of the head and pulled her hair. Our client denied harming her or any woman. Even though the officer noted in the complaint that he did not observe any injuries, he felt as though he had probable cause to charge and arrest our client and charge him with first degree misdemeanor domestic violence based solely upon the ex-girlfriend's statements.

Attorney Steve Kilburn spoke with our client's employer who received a call from a strange individual accusing his client of smoking marihuana. She called back and told his employer she had lied about the false accusation concerning the marihuana. There was no doubt in our mind this was our client's disgruntled ex-girlfriend who had falsely accused him of domestic violence around that same time. Additionally, while the case was pending, our client received a text message explicitly stating the ex-girlfriend had falsely accused him of domestic violence. The text message was sent from a phone number that matched the phone number on the ex-girlfriend's written witness statement. 

Recent Changes in Ohio's Intervention in Lieu of Conviction ("ILC") Statute

For the second time this year, Ohio has expanded its Intervention in Lieu of Conviction ("ILC") statute, once again benefitting defendants across the State. Effective on October 29, 2018, the new ILC statute gives a person countless opportunities to enroll in ILC. In other words, even if a person has previously been given an opportunity for ILC, the court now has the discretion to permit a defendant to enroll into the program again.

Ohio's ILC statute changed earlier this year when it removed its mandatory revocation policy upon any violation of ILC terms and conditions. Instead, the statute gave a judge the discretion as to whether to revoke the defendant's ILC upon a violation. Common ILC violations include new criminal charges, failing a drug or alcohol test, and missing required probation meetings. 

Homeowners Insurance Policies Part 1: Is It Excluded?

Reading your homeowner's insurance policy can be a daunting task. The policies often feel intentionally designed to get you not to read them. One reason might be so that you do not realize all the occurrences that happen in your daily life that may be covered. This primer is designed to go over some basics of reading your policy and ensure that you start maximizing the value that you get for diligently paying premiums.

Let's start with exclusions. Most of us know that insurance companies do everything they can to keep from paying a claim. The good news is that under Ohio law "an exclusion in an insurance policy will be interpreted as applying only to that which is clearly intended to be excluded."1 In other words, if your policy does not explicitly say that a certain occurrence is excluded, then you have a good argument that it should be covered. We recently had a case where a woman was denied coverage when her house burned to the ground because she did not reside in the home at the time of the fire. The good news is that the exclusion section of the insurance policy did not explicitly discuss fire damage when the home was vacant, and the insurance company is attempting to deny the claim based on the definition section of the policy. We believe we have a good argument to get our client coverage.

Hold my beer...Miami University makes substantial changes to alcohol policy - Part Two

105B Prohibited Use of Fermented Alcohol/Open Container 

As part of its updated 2018-2019 Code of Student Conduct ("Code"), Miami University made significant changes to its alcohol policy. The substantial changes to 105(A) were discussed in Part One; if you have not read that post, please go read it now to understand the new broad-sweeping reach of Miami's 105(A) alcohol policy.

Under recent versions of the Code, 105(B) was treated as a lesser-included offense of 105(A)-meaning that if an underage student was found "not responsible" for being intoxicated, that student could still be found "responsible" for violating 105(B)'s prohibition against possessing or consuming alcohol while under the legal age. In some ways, 105(B) is still treated as a lesser-included. However, given the Code's new distinction between possessing or consuming "fermented alcohol" and possessing or consuming "distilled liquor," with the latter being viewed as a more severe offense, underage possession or consumption of liquor is no longer a 105(B) violation. (Please read our detailed breakdown of 105(A)'s changes here.) 

Hold my beer...Miami University makes substantial changes to alcohol policy - Part One

105A Intoxication and Prohibited Use of Liquor 

As part of its updated 2018-2019 Code of Student Conduct ("Code"), Miami University made significant changes to its alcohol policy. The most noteworthy change is the Code's new distinction between "fermented alcoholic beverages" and "distilled liquors."

Under recent versions of the Code all alcoholic beverages were treated the same. But under the 18-19 Code underage consumption or possession of "distilled liquors" is a higher-level offense than consuming or possessing "fermented alcoholic beverages" underage. 

We Have Seen It All And Can Help

It's Sunday morning. You just woke up to a piercing headache, a mysterious stain on your favorite shirt, and wait, what's that paper in your pocket? You pull out a crumpled up rectangular sheet of blue paper.  The words "ordered to appear" and "prohibited acts" jump off the paper. Your heart begins to race as it all comes rushing back to you. Take a deep breath. We have seen it all and we can help.

Don't believe us? Check out some statements made by past clients:

SUI: Scootering While Intoxicated?

Earlier this year the City of Cincinnati was inundated with Bird scooters. The pilot started in Over-the-Rhine, The Banks, and Downtown. Recently the scooters have been seen in Oakley, Mt. Lookout, and surrounding areas of Cincinnati. Another company, Lime-S, also introduced similar scooters downtown.

Urban Meyer & Title IX Part 2: The Finding

The Urban Meyer saga seems to have reached its end with the coach returning to the team this week. It's time to look back on our initial analysis of the situation and compare it to that of The Ohio State Investigative Board's published findings. 

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