The Second Amendment’s right to bear arms is one of the most important constitutional protections that we have as Americans. However, the government has an interest in protecting the public and preventing the possession and use of weapons that could pose a danger to others. Weapons offenses balance these competing offenses.
It is important to have an experienced Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer. If you or a loved one are facing weapons charges, you need a strong advocate in your corner. Contact The Wieczorek Law Firm 24/7 for a free case review.
Types of Ohio Weapons Offenses
Ohio has many weapons laws that regulate the possession and use of various weapons. We can help people who are charged with offenses such as:
Having a Weapon While Under Disability
One of the most frequently charged weapons offenses in Ohio is having weapons while under a disability. Certain people are not allowed to possess, carry, acquire, or fire a firearm or dangerous ordnance, including:
- People who have been convicted of a violent felony or a felony involving drugs
- People who have been indicted for a violent felony or a felony involving drugs
- Fugitives from justice
- People with drug or alcohol dependence
- People who have been found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be mentally incompetent
- Individuals with Domestic Violence convictions
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Ohio prohibits carrying a concealed weapon, which includes any handgun, weapon, or dangerous ordnance. To carry a concealed weapon, you must obtain a license to do so. If you are stopped by police, you are required to promptly inform them of your license and any concealed weapon you have with you.
Improperly Discharging a Firearm
It is illegal to recklessly discharge a firearm in an occupied shelter, a school safety zone, or on or over a Cincinnati public road or highway.
Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle
This offense involves knowingly discharging a firearm while in a motor vehicle or transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle that anyone can access in the vehicle.
Possessing Criminal Tools
Ohio makes it illegal to possess or have under one’s control any substance, device, instrument, or article with the intent to use it in a criminal manner. This includes dangerous ordnances or materials to make one or possessing items to make a weapon with the intent to use it in a crime.
Using Weapons While Intoxicated
The use of firearms of any type under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited by law in Ohio. This prohibition applies regardless of whether or not you have a license to carry your handgun or firearm. Violation can result in a first-degree misdemeanor charge., while penalties for a conviction may include up to 180 days in jail and fines of $1,000.
Types of Defenses to Ohio Firearm Crimes
The following are only some of the potential defenses that might be raised in gun crime cases.
The prosecution must prove all elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a criminal conviction. If they claim that you possessed a firearm, the prosecution must present sufficient evidence to prove that this specific weapon was in your actual possession or that you constructively possessed the firearm.
Possession can be actual possession in which you actually had the firearm in your physical possession. Possession can also be constructive possession in which you knew or should have known it was readily available or present.
Challenging the “Knowing” Element
Many gun crimes argue that a defendant “knowingly” possessed or used a weapon. If you did not know a firearm was present in the vicinity, you should not be convicted of a gun crime. Thus, the statute requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you “knowingly” possessed the firearm. This is often the strongest defense as the State cannot “get into the defendant’s mind” and is forced to prove the case circumstantially.
Ohio courts have ruled that an inoperable gun cannot be considered a deadly weapon. Thus, the statute requires that the firearm be capable of expelling a projectile. Failure for the firearm to be operational is an absolute defense to the crime.
There are two exceptions: First, you can still violate Ohio law if you bring an inoperable gun in a school safety zone. In addition, if you can easily turn the inoperable gun into a functional weapon, it may still result in a criminal conviction.
Fourth Amendment Violations
Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement officers do not have the right to search a person, vehicle, or home without a warrant.
If your Constitutional rights were violated by an unreasonable search and seizure the lawyers at The Wieczorek Law Firm can move to suppress any evidence stemming from that violation.
For First Offenders
If this is your first criminal charge, your attorney can work to limit the consequences you face and seek alternative sentencing and ultimately a potential complete dismissal of your case.pretrial diversion program. Typically, the defendant must enter a guilty plea as charged to the offense but the court never finds the defendant guilty. Instead, the court holds the plea in abeyance for s defined time period in which the defendant must adhere to the strict requirements of the court for a specific time period. These programs allow you to serve a term of probation with strict conditions set by the judge. When you successfully complete your program, and all requirements, you might qualify to have your charges dismissed and and be eligible to have the case sealed immediately.One option for many first offenders is a
Penalties for Ohio Weapons Crimes
The potential penalties for an Ohio weapons offense depend on many variables, including which crime you are accused of committing, your prior criminal history, and the circumstances surrounding the crime. Weapons offenses can be charged as:
- Fourth-degree misdemeanor – Up to 30 days in jail; a fine up to $250
- Third-degree misdemeanor – Up to 60 days in jail; a fine up to $500
- Second-degree misdemeanor – Up to 90 days in jail; a fine up to $750
- First-degree misdemeanor – Up to 180 days in jail; a fine up to $1,000
- Fifth-degree felony – Up to 12 months in prison; a fine up to $2,500
- Fourth-degree felony – Up to 18 months in prison; a fine up to $5,000
- Third-degree felony – Up to 5 years in prison; a fine up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony – Up to 8 years in prison; a fine up to $15,000
- First-degree felony – Up to 11 years in prison; a fine up to $20,000
Due to the severity of these penalties, it is crucial that you work with an experienced Cincinnati firearm crime defense lawyer who will mount an aggressive defense on your behalf.
Contact an Ohio Firearms Crime Defense Attorney for Help
If you are facing gun charges or other weapon offenses, contact us today for a consultation.