Ohio Criminal Law

The Militarized Police Have Become The Founders’ Worst Nightmare

July 22nd, 2014

militarized police force

 

In a great article for the New American, attorney Joe Wolverton reviews the horrors of militarized police set forth in the Randy Balko book, “Rise of the Warrior Cop.”  I have expressed my admiration for the book as a call for a return to “the law” as it was traditionally understood throughout our history.  The publisher of Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop book, explains:

 

The American approach to law enforcement was forged by the experience of revolution. Emerging as they did from the shadow of British rule, the country’s founders would likely have viewed police, as they exist today, as a standing army, and therefore a threat to liberty. Even so, excessive force and disregard for the Bill of Rights have become epidemic in today’s world. According to civil liberties reporter Radley Balko, these are all symptoms of a generation-long shift to increasingly aggressive, militaristic, and arguably unconstitutional policing—one that would have shocked the conscience of America’s founders.

 

Listed below are other quotes attributed in the article.  They set forth a very different law enforcement than the militarized police forces currently patrolling our cities in tanks and armored personnel carriers.  During the Virginia ratifying convention, James Madison described a standing army as the “greatest mischief that can happen.”

 

Fellow delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, George Mason put a finer point on it:

 

No man has a greater regard for the military gentlemen than I have. I admire their intrepidity, perseverance, and valor. But when once a standing army is established in any country, the people lose their liberty. When, against a regular and disciplined army, yeomanry are the only defence [sic], — yeomanry, unskilful and unarmed, — what chance is there for preserving freedom? Give me leave to recur to the page of history, to warn you of your present danger. Recollect the history of most nations of the world. What havoc, desolation, and destruction, have been perpetrated by standing armies!

 

In The Federalist, No. 29, Alexander Hamilton echoes not only Mason’s warning against a standing army, but his solution to the threat, as well.

 

If circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist.

 

In commenting on Blackstone’s Commentaries, founding era jurist St. George Tucker speaks as if he foresaw our day and the fatal combination of an increasingly militarized police force and the disarmament of civilians:

 

Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.

 

In an essay published in the Wall Street Journal last August, Radley Balko presented chilling and convincing evidence of the blurring of the line between cop and soldier:

 

Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment — from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers — American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop — armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.

 

Balko rightly connects the menace of the martial police with the decline in liberty and a disintegration of legal boundaries between sheriffs and generals.  The threat of the police becoming a standing army of the sort our forefathers believed to be “inconsistent with liberty” is a reality on our streets.  Understanding the issues of law and policy raised by a militarized police force will inform your understanding of any number of issues we will be struggling with as Americans for the next generation.

 

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.”

For more on militarized police issues or to schedule a free DUI consultation contact me, or check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburg, Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

 

OVI Checkpoints Are Corrupt

June 25th, 2014

ovi checkpointsOVI Checkpoints are corrupt! That is why I fight against them.

In his book Why People Obey The Law, legal scholar Tom Tyler argues that compliance with the law has less to do with deterrence (fear of penalty) than with the rational decision that complying with the law is in a person’s self-interest. More important to their compliance is the decision that following the law is the right thing to do. Having the biggest impact on their perception of the law is the belief in the legitimacy of the authority. “People who go to traffic court are less concerned with the outcome – even when it is a costly ticket or fine – than with the fairness of the process.” Vanderbilt, Tom. Traffic: why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us), 2008, pp 235. Thus the societal norm that driving within the speed limit and driving without being impaired, is an agreed upon social construct and is enforced best by our agreement that violating these laws is dangerous and deserving of punishment.

We can conclude from the evidence above that when there is less respect for the law and/or the process is deemed to be unfair the most important factor in compliance is compromised. Less effective governance means the law are less effective, which means that people are less likely to follow them. How do we know this? The answer lies in whether or not the enforcement of the law is perceived as corrupt. According to indices compiled by the anti corruption watchdog Transparency International, the higher a country (or law) ranks on the corruption index the less interested in following the law. “Lode Vereeck, a Belgian economist at Hasselt University, has noted that in survey after survey of people’s attitudes toward traffic regulations, Belgians seem resistant; they’re more hostile than their neighbors to things like seat belt laws, lower speed limits, and drunk-driving laws” (thus more likely to drink before driving). Vanderbilt, Id. Compared to the Netherlands (Belgiums nearest neighbor and best basis of comparison) the Belgians see their laws as more corrupt, leading to less adherence to the law and more traffic fatalities. The nations that rank as the least corrupt – such countries as Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden and Singapore – are the safest places in the world to drive. The lesson we draw from the research is that wealth and enforcement affect traffic fatalities less than real or perceived corruption.

The premise of my argument herein is that OVI checkpoints and speed/red-light cameras are perceived as corrupt by the vast majority of citizens. Our reliance on speed cameras and the attendant unfairness of the enforcement lessens the citizens adherence to the law. The perceived unfairness of a sobriety checkpoint lessens and diminishes the drunk driving law. The research suggests that following the law because it is fair and the right thing to do are more important than checkpoints and cameras. Which raises the question to law enforcement and to the political elite. If fairness is diminished at the cost of lives, are you doing a disservice by continuing the “corrupt” practices. At some level you are making the decision between money for your department/city over the potential loss of life due to possible disrespect for the law. I would argue (anecdotally) that respect for all law enforcement is diminished when they are perceived to be sanctioning unfair enforcement. The courts are lowered in esteem when they are seen as unfair or “rigged” against the average citizen.

The reason that I put forth this argument is because I have spent my life dedicated to our system of justice. I believe in our courts and in (the overwhelming majority of) law enforcement officials. I cannot go by silently and see the things I gave my life to broken. I do not want our children to grow up in a world where the rule of law is scoffed at as a naive concept. If my children (or yours) go into law enforcement I do not want their lives put in danger because they are seen as “other” rather than the agents of service and protection. This issues goes to the very core of what we are and what we want our communities to be. We can and should do better because “we are all in this together.”

Attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and fighting OVI checkpoints.  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 learn more about OVI checkpoints, speed cameras and red light cameras check these city-specific sites at the following links:

FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

A Trial Attorney’s Creed.

June 18th, 2014
trial attorney's creedA Trial Attorney’s Creed!

When someone asks, “How can you defend drunk drivers?” I respond with this quote from Don Quioxte.  I think it is the perfect creed for a trial attorney.

“It is not the responsibility of knights errant to discover whether the afflicted, the enchained and the oppressed whom they encounter on the road are reduced to these circumstances and suffer this distress for their vices, or for their virtues: the knight’s sole responsibility is to succor them as people in need, having eyes only for their sufferings, not for their misdeeds.” 
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Trial attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in the Miami Valley and throughout Ohio and fighting Ohio red light cameras.  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.”

For more on Trial Attorney Charles Rowland check these city-specific sites at the following links:
FairbornDaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXeniaMiamisburgSpringboro,Huber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville

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.