Ohio Criminal Law

Do You Offer Free DUI Consultation?

April 14th, 2014

free dui consultationWe offer a free DUI consultation because the most important decision you will make in defending your case will be hiring the right DUI attorney.  Here is a common sense guide to making the most of your time.

You should walk out of your free DUI consultation confident in the knowledge that you have spoken to someone who has real experience defending DUI cases.  Ask the following and, if you don’t get straight answers, get up and leave: Have you ever tried a DUI case to a jury?  Have you ever tried a felony DUI case?  Have you ever tried a “test” case (a case where the person blew into a breath machine)?  Have you ever tried a “refusal” case (a case where the person refused to blow into a breath test machine)?  Have you ever tried a DUI case in federal court?   Have you ever argued cases involving dentures?  Have you ever argued a case involving AMBIEN sleep medication?  Have you ever represented doctors? Dentists? Pilots? Paramedics? Athletes? Military Personnel?  How many DUI Motions to Suppress have you done?  Have you ever done a motion or trial in the court where I will appear?

Have the attorney explain in detail what each step in the DUI court process will be like.  Have your attorney explain what he or she will be doing at each stage and what will be required of you at each stage.  This is also a good way of determining what level of communication you can expect from your attorney and how your attorney approaches the problems in your case.  Have the attorney explain what possible defenses he or she will raise.  Ask how the attorney what his or her philosophy is regarding pre-trial hearings.  Ask what his or her negotiation philosophy is based upon, what books they have read about negotiation and how they will approach the negotiation in your case.  Ask how the decision to go forward on a motion to suppress will be made.  If the attorney won’t (or can’t) explain things easily to you, why should you expect them to communicate well with a jury.

Here are some common-sense questions to determine what you will be charged for:

  • Will you be charged a flat fee or will you pay a retainer fee and have an open-ended bill?
  • Will your attorney be incentivized to keep the case going on longer?
  • Will your attorney be incentivized to take any plea just to end the case?
  • Will you be charged copy fees, filing fees, paralegal fees, or any other fees on top of your bill?
  • Will you be billed monthly, weekly or all at once?
  • Does the fee include the costs of a trial?
  • Does the fee include the costs of an appeal?
  • Does the fee include representation on case-related issues after the case is over (driver’s license issues)?

Do not hire an attorney that promises outcomes or implies that they are the only lawyer who could handle your case.  You know better!  All that ethical counsel can promise is their best effort at defending you.  Some lawyers, through hard work, may be in a better position to recognize issues in your DUI case.   No lawyer will win all their cases, but you can’t win issues you don’t know exist.  Hire the person who is best situated to be your guide. As the old cowboys used to say, “he’ll do to ride the river with.”  Like all relationships, you will know when it is right. Rely on your judgment and experience and trust your instincts.  You will know whether or not you have made a good decision.

We hope this article will help you make the most of your free DUI consultation.

Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself Dayton’s choice for drunk driving defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at (937) 318-1384 or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). If you need assistance after hours, call the 24/7 DUI Hotline at (937) 776-2671.  You can have DaytonDUI at your fingertips by downloading the DaytonDUI Android App or have DaytonDUI sent directly to your mobile device by texting DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Facebook, @DaytonDUI on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Pheed and Pintrest or get RSS of the Ohio DUI blog.  You can email CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or visit his office at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.  “All I do is DUI defense.”

To schedule a free DUI consultation contact me, or check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

Top Ten Rules for Partying in Ohio

March 31st, 2014

In light of the arrest made following the University of Dayton’s victory, we offer college students these rules for partying (legally) in Ohio.

Rule #1: Don’t Drink and Drive

Ohio has some of the most stringent drunk driving laws in the county.  A first-time offender faces 180 days in jail and a one thousand seventy-five dollar fine, loss of their driver’s license for up to three years and enhanced penalties upon subsequent convictions.  A DUI (called an OVI in Ohio) is not subject to expungement, meaning it will be on your record forever, and subjects an offender to a six (6) year look-back period for enhancements and up to twenty (20) years for enhanced punishments for refusing an officer’s request to provide a breath, blood or urine sample.  In addition to the penalties you will face in court, you may face suspension from your school or other discipline. (Ohio Revised Code 4511.19)

Rule #2: Don’t Drink If You Are Under 21

It is illegal in Ohio for anyone under 21 to purchase, possess or consume an alcoholic beverage.  A conviction of Underage Consumption is a first degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $1,000.00 and/or up to six months in jail.  Despite efforts to lower the drinking age, the law remains rigidly enforced.  Athletes, students on scholarship and students who live in on-campus housing may face additional harsh penalties for underage drinking and be particularly vulnerable to the penalties that are sure to follow an arrest.  Ohio Revised Code Section 4301.69 contains most of the information concerning underage alcohol possession and use. Penalties are in Ohio Revised Code Section 4301.99.

Rule #3: Don’t Furnish Alcohol to Minors

Furnishing someone under 21 with alcohol is a first degree misdemeanor.  If you are providing the alcohol, make sure you know where it is going.  You may be responsible if an underage person consumes the alcohol and face harsh punishments.  Ohio regularly receives funding for programs aimed at curbing underage drinking and uses these funds to go after people providing the booze.  The bigger your party the more likely it is to draw attention from law enforcement.

Rule #4: Don’t Use a Fake ID

Just possessing  a fake ID is illegal in Ohio and is classified as a first degree misdemeanor.  Using the fake ID to purchase alcohol is punished by a mandatory $250.00 fine and may result in a 3 year driver’s license suspension.  A popular enforcement method is for police officers to serve as vendors in drive-through establishments:  “COPS IN SHOPS”

Rule #5: Don’t Drink Where You Shouldn’t

Ohio has an open container law.  It is a minor misdemeanor to possess in public an open container of an alcoholic beverage.  You are subject to a fine of up to $150.00 (a minor misdemeanor).  Possession of alcohol while in a car bumps the charge up to a fourth degree misdemeanor and subjects the offender to 30 days in jail. 4301.62 Opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor prohibited at certain premises.

Rule #6: Don’t Be Drunk In or Near a Car

Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 4511.194 (effective Jan. 1, 2005), it is illegal to be in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. “Physical Control” is defined as being in the driver’s seat of a car and having possession of the vehicle’s keys.  Physical Control does not require that the vehicle have ever been driven or even started.  Under the statute, having the keys within reach will satisfy the definition of having “physical control.”   The crime is one of potentiality, (i.e. you are so close to driving that we will punish you) and speaks to the growing neo-prohibitionist tendencies in Ohio law.

Rule #7:  Don’t Be Disorderly

Disorderly conduct can occur from simply being intoxicated in public.  Officers are given a great deal of discretion in determining what constitutes disorderly behavior.  Disorderly conduct occurs when one recklessly causes inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another due to offensive conduct. Disorderly conduct also occurs when one makes unreasonable noise in such a manner as to violate the peace and quiet of the neighborhood or to be detrimental to the life and health of any individual.  While normally a minor misdemeanor ($150.00 fine) a disorderly conduct can be enhanced to a fourth degree misdemeanor (30 days jail/$250 fine) if an officer tells you to stop the behavior and you persist. See O.R.C. 2917.11 Disorderly Conduct.

Rule #8: Don’t burn stuff

Intentionally setting fire to property that might endanger other or their property, in fact damages the property of another and/or preventing police, fire or EMS personnel from doing their job is a violation of O.R.C. 2909.01 to 2909.0.  Students at public universities in Ohio who are found guilty of these crimes will lose all state-funded financial aid for two years.

Rule #9: Disperse When Instructed

Failure to disperse is also a crime in Ohio.  You should begin walking away and/or go indoors upon such an order. You must obey all lawful orders given by such persons at an emergency site.  A recent revision in the law makes a failure to disperse in situations such as campus area riots an offense for which you can be arrested and jailed. If you actively hamper police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and other public officials while they are doing their jobs you subject yourself to the charge of Misconduct During An Emergency.

Rule #10 Don’t Riot

The party is getting out of control.  If more than five people are engaging in disorderly behavior the party may be deemed a riot under Ohio law.  Your participation in a riot may subject you to criminal penalties. If there is violence involved the rioting gets bumped up to aggravated rioting.  Aggravated rioting is a felony level offense.  Those found guilty of rioting and aggravated rioting must be dismissed from their university and are not permitted to enroll in any state-supported institution of higher education for one year.

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Huber Heights, Beavercreek, and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook, www.facebook.com/daytondui and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.comor write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

DUI & Drug Trafficking Cases In Ohio

March 18th, 2014

drug traffickingMore and more, we are seeing an increase in drug trafficking cases.  The Ohio State Highway Patrol has become much more aggressive in using a traffic stop as a pretense to do an extensive search for illegal drugs.  These stops frequently turn a minor traffic violation case into a trafficking, distribution or possession of drugs case.  We expect more of these cases as the Ohio State Highway Patrol begins implementation of the Drug Recognition Expert protocol.

The analysis of a drug trafficking case is very similar to the approach we take to an impaired driving case.  What that means is that we deconstruct each and every decision that the officer makes.  Was there proper justification for the traffic stop? Did the officer have reasonable and articulable suspicion to continue the detention to conduct a drug trafficking or possession investigation?  Did the officer conduct an illegal search of your person and/or vehicle? Did the officer’s actions, based on a totality of the circumstances, establish probable cause for a drug trafficking arrest?  Was the evidence handled or tested properly?  Can the government establish a proper chain of custody for the evidence?  Our mission is to get your case thrown out! We act aggressively to keep you out of jail, keep your fines low and protect your freedom.

We have a great track record of defending drug trafficking, distribution, possession and other drug charges.  We know how to seek treatment in lieu of conviction and how to minimize penalties. We also have a track record consistent with fighting these charges.  For the past five years we have been the chosen team to represent Miami Valley N.O.R.M.L.  We speak, we advocate and we defend.

If you are facing a drug trafficking charge in the Miami Valley, call Charles M. Rowland II for a free consultation at (937) 318-1384.  If you need assistance after hours, please call the 24-7 Hotline at (937) 776-2671.

How The Constitution Died In America

March 11th, 2014

US Constitution

This article is about the Constitution.  It is a departure from my norm (a rant really!).

“The ability to learn from others is central to the evolution and persistence of culture, and it is viewed as part of the reason humans have come to dominate the planet.  Sometimes individuals copy the behaviors of others seemingly at random; other times they appear to decide who to copy based on the level of prestige of the individual” [Source].  An example is a person who learns to affix a sharpened rock to the end of a stick. We do the same so as to successfully take down a wooly mammoth and survive.   Famed sociologist Max Weber writes about this evolutionary adaptation in his leadership theory, wherein he says that we have a need to place “charismatic leaders” in a position so that we may emulate their success.  Weber defines charismatic leadership as “resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him” [Source]. Who are our cultural leaders today?

With the advent of television and our celebrity culture we see the destructive nature of this evolutionary drive. In America, we have eschewed the valuable thinkers in government, philosophy, science and the arts in favor of celebrity. Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton (among others) are emulated and their desires and actions implicitly placed as examples for society to follow.  What we know of evolution dictates that a significant portion of people will follow them as an example worthy of emulation.  We acquiesce without conscious thought based on the unseen drive to copy the behavior of the successfully adapted.   It is yet to be seen if we can survive and adapt as a society if we follow the leadership and example of people who have no discernible talent (except that of maintaining attention and fame).

The point of this post is to have us examine what we place in front of police officers as charismatic leadership behavior. Recall the early days of cinema where law enforcement was seen as upholding the law; so much so, that they would defend the prisoner against the mob at the risk of their own lives. The rule of law was important and we were only safe if we submitted ourselves to it.  Lawlessness and chaos were kept at bay by the brave men (usually only men back then) that understood the rule of law was sacrosanct.  Early television shows like Gunsmoke, 1-ADAM-12 and Dragnet followed this philosophy. The characters found their nobility in upholding and trusting the system.  The police, sheriff, marshall, FBI agent, were all US.  They valued “us” because we shared with them a value system rooted in our mutual respect for the law and each other.

Somewhere in the 1960′s we lost faith in each other.  Depictions of law enforcement behavior changed accordingly.  Now, the system was the enemy.  Instead of a shared value system worthy of respect; Dirty Harry taught us that it was not to be trusted.  Only the law enforcement officer could reliably inflict punishment and justice.  He was a lone force for good.  Detective Sipowicz on NYPD Blue was lauded for his ability to “work around” the rules and intimidate criminals into confessions. “Colors” is a film about a 19 year veteran (Robert Duvall) who is teamed with a rookie (Sean Penn).  They debate (via their attitudes and actions) which approach to policing is best in our modern society.  Not surprisingly, the values of rapport and diplomacy are symbolically killed with the death of the Duvall character.  The charismatic leadership takeaway for aspiring officers: we are not in this together; the citizen is the enemy; don’t trust the Constitution because it does not work.  This had a cultural impact. [language warning for clip].

Beginning in the 1980′s we see the courts begin to adopt the same philosophy toward the Constitution as that depicted in the culture.  We began to see our cherished Constitutional American values shown as technicalities that protected criminals.  Is it any surprise that we see an erosion of the 4th Amendment, 5th Amendment and other Constitutional protections?  Should we expect anything less than the police seeking military grade weapons to protect itself against us?  Since the criminals are “the other” why not just lock up and store as many people in prisons as we can?  Why should we not adopt any tactic, no matter how unscrupulous to attack people who use drugs — they are the enemy!  Red-light cameras, civil asset forfeiture, mass incarceration, the drug war, and ultimately the sanctioning of torture by our government can be traced back to this cultural adaptation. Some more evidence -Almost 60% of teens think torture is ok! According to a Red Cross poll looking at attitudes US citizens have about the use of torture on enemy combatants. So is it a stretch to think that teens, who grew up in the last decade now think torture is an acceptable form of punishment?  In my particular practice (DUI defense) we see no shortage of advocacy groups who seek to remove that pesky Constitution from their goal of punishing the “other” the drunk driver — the enemy!

Let’s change this!  Support the Constitution. Let’s be American again! It begins by believing in the system and believing in each other.  Police officers are not our enemy and we are not theirs.

-Charles M. Rowland II (Jan. 20, 2012)

 

Possession of a Controlled Substance: Drug Possession Laws

March 3rd, 2014

drug possession

Drug Possession, a.k.a. Possession of a controlled substance is defined in Ohio as knowingly obtaining, possessing or using a controlled substance under the Ohio Revised Code § 2925.11.  As applied to marijuana, possession of less than 100 grams (or about 3.5 ounces), giving 20 grams or less of marijuana to another person, or growing less than 100 grams of marijuana are each considered  “minor misdemeanors,” punishable by a maximum fine of $150. A minor misdemeanor is not a “jailable” offense, but a person’s driver’s license can be suspended for a period ranging from six months to five years, and a conviction on a person’s record can have far-reaching effects when it comes to job prospects and housing. Possession of marijuana is still a very serious charge in Ohio despite the national movements to legalize and/or decriminalize marijuana possession.  In fact, we have seen a dramatic increase in drug possession enforcement by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Under R.C. 3719.41, controlled substances in Ohio are classified into five schedules, ranging from the most serious drugs with the harshest penalties to the least serious drugs with the least harsh penalties.  Many are surprised to learn that marijuana is considered as a Schedule I (the highest) drug.  As such, drug possession involving marijuana is a very serious offense.

  • Schedule I – These substances have a high potential for abuse by users and no known or accepted medical use in the United States. Some examples of controlled substances in this category are marijuana, mescaline, morphine, peyote and psilocyn.
  • Schedule II – These substances have a high potential for abuse, but may have limited accepted medical use in the United States. Examples in this category include codeine, methadone and GHB.
  • Schedule III – These substances have some potential for abuse and accepted medical uses in the United States. Controlled substances in this schedule include anabolic steroids, ketamine and barbituric acid.
  • Schedule IV – These substances have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs and have known medical uses in the United States. Common examples in this schedule can include Xanax, Valium and the generic versions of these types of drugs.
  • Schedule V – Substances in this schedule have the least likelihood for abuse and are commonly used for medical treatment in the United States. Examples in this schedule can include medications with small amounts of narcotics.

Possessing an illegal drug in Ohio is punishable as a state offense, federal offense or both. Controlled substances or drugs can include medications with a prescription, medications without a prescription, street drugs, illegal drugs, natural substances and chemicals.  Because “drug possession” is a required element of the offense, if the prosecution is unable to prove the alleged offender had either actual or constructive possession of the controlled substance, they will most likely be unable to convict the offender.

The analysis of a drug possession investigation is very similar to the approach we take to an impaired driving case.  What that means is that we deconstruct each and every decision that the officer makes.  Was there proper justification for the traffic stop? Did the officer have reasonable and articulable suspicion to continue the detention to conduct a drug investigation?  Did the officer conduct an illegal search of your person and/or vehicle? Did the officer’s actions, based on a totality of the circumstances, establish probable cause for a drug possession arrest?  Was the evidence handled or tested properly?  Can the government establish a proper chain of custody for the evidence?  Our mission is to get your case thrown out! We act aggressively to keep you out of jail, keep your fines low and protect your freedom.

We have a great track record of defending drug trafficking, distribution, possession and other drug charges.  We know how to seek treatment in lieu of conviction and how to minimize penalties. We also have a track record consistent with fighting these charges.  For the past five years we have been the chosen team to represent Miami Valley N.O.R.M.L.  We speak, we advocate and we defend.

If you are facing a drug possession charge in the Miami Valley, call Charles M. Rowland II for a free consultation at (937) 318-1384.  If you need assistance after hours, please call the 24-7 Hotline at (937) 776-2671.