Summer break. It’s a time for barbeques, pool parties and…getting arrested? For some juveniles, the answer might be yes. Studies show that kids have a tendency to get into more trouble with the law during the months when they are not in school.
While overall juvenile arrest rates may be down, the number of teenagers who face criminal charges each summer remains high. The short and long term effects of a guilty conviction are harsh and can include:
- Impacting their ability to get a job or to get a Commercial Drivers License
- Impacting their ability to get public housing
- Impacting their ability to enlist in the military
- Depending on the severity of the crime, they may be prevented from carrying a firearm
- Drivers License Suspension
- Possible impact on return to school or transferring to a new school
- Having to pay fines, court costs, and restitution where assigned
- May affect immigration status
The following are 5 of the most common charges against juvenile offenders:
1. Operating a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence (DUI / OVI)
While Ohio’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for adults age 21 years and older is 0.08 percent, minors are subject to a law known as “zero tolerance.” What this means that a juvenile driver can be arrested and charged for DUI / OVI if they are caught driving with any amount of alcohol, marijuana, or drugs in his or her blood. Teenagers who are arrested for drunk driving may also face related charges, such as underage possession, and use of a fake ID.
2. Possession of Marijuana and Other Drug Offenses
A significant portion of juvenile arrests involve marijuana and other drug-related offenses. Although juveniles caught with small amounts of marijuana are typically only hit with a fine, any juvenile conviction for a drug-related offense can potentially have implications for school enrollment, employment eligibility, and driving privileges.
3. Sexual Assault
Sexual assault crimes are prosecuted in Ohio at both the adult and juvenile levels. Prosecutors can seek to charge younger juveniles as adults depending on age and severity of the crime. Any teenager facing sexual assault charges, regardless of the severity, should seek legal representation immediately.
4. Criminal Traffic Offenses
Most traffic violations are misdemeanors; distracted driving, disregarding a traffic control device, speed exhibition, and speeding. Others may accompany criminal charges; DUI / OVI, causing bodily harm by the operation of a motor vehicle, evading an officer, and failure to stop at the scene of an accident.
5. Theft (Shoplifting)
Theft is another common juvenile offense. In Ohio, the penalties for theft are determined by the value of the property stolen, with the felony offenses carrying the potential for significant fines and even imprisonment.
If you or your teenager has been arrested, we encourage you to contact us for a confidential consultation. We have extensive experience in Ohio criminal matters, and we can help protect you or your child.
You didn’t intend to get involved in a fight when you went out for a night with your friends, but one thing led to another and you ended up getting pulled into a violent altercation and the police got involved. Now, you’re facing assault charges and you’re not sure what to do. Making the wrong choices could be detrimental to your case.
Here’s a list of common mistakes made when facing assault charges.
Talking to Police. Police are trained to manipulate you to get what they want, this includes evidence against you. For example, let’s say that you’ve been involved in a violent bar fight and the police are called. They might take you aside, hand you an ice pack for your swollen knuckles, tell you the other guy is clearly at fault and ask you for your side of the story. Naturally, you’ll want to explain yourself and tell your side, so you do. At that point, the police arrest you and charge you with assault. Unfair but legal, and also avoidable. The truth is, you don’t have to talk to the police. You’ve heard of your right to remain silent. That’s not just for after you’re arrested. You don’t have to speak to the police ever. Exercise your right to remain silent and stay silent until you talk with an attorney.
Talking with Others About the Assault. Being involved in an assault can be traumatic. It’s natural to want to talk about what happened with other people, to explain your side of the story or ask for advice. Just like talking to the police can hurt you, anything you say to other people can be used against you in court. This even includes those closest to you, like siblings and parents. It’s best to not discuss the incident with anyone except your lawyer.
Posting About the Incident on Social Media. Any time you’re involved in an incident that might result in you appearing in court, do not post about it on any social media forum, including Facebook, Twitter, or SnapChat. Prosecutors absolutely love to blow up huge images and Tweets for the benefit of the jury and use your words against you. So post anything, not even a fist emoji. It can be taken out of context and turned around to hurt you.
Contacting The Victim of the Assault. You may want to apologize, or clear the air, especially if the victim was a friend. Regardless of the reason, don’t do it. This is because anything you say to the victim may be used against you in court. Even if you had the best intentions.
Destroying Evidence. Maybe you’re reading this after you’ve already posted a video of the incident. Don’t delete the post and don’t delete the video from your electronic devices. This considered destroying evidence and can actually land you in more trouble.
Just like there are there are lots of things you can do that will hurt your case, there are also things you can do to improve your situation. With the help of an expert criminal defense attorney, you can give yourself the best chances of putting this behind you. Call Terry Sherman today to schedule a free legal consultation!
Fentanyl: “Just 2 milligrams — an equivalent to about 32 grains of salt — can be enough to kill a person”, said Jessica Toms, a laboratory supervisor at the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Investigation (BCI). Fentanyl is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The total number of fatal drug overdoses in Ohio, increased to a record 4,854 last year. That’s an astounding 20% increase from the previous year. According to the Ohio Department of Health, this was the 8th year in a row to show an increase with the synthetic opioid fentanyl fueling the epidemic.
A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health, says while a review of the data confirms fentanyl is absolutely driving overdose deaths, Ohio also is seeing significant progress in reducing the number of prescription opioids available for abuse.
A frightening state report on drug trends stated that drug cartels have flooded Ohio with fentanyl. In fact, many users don’t even realize they’ve taken fentanyl because it’s being cut into heroin, cocaine and even being pressed into prescription opioids.
According to the chief executive officer of the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers, Lori Criss, “Drug dealers are flooding communities with different drugs to see what takes. They are very smart business people.”
Gov. John Kasich’s administration is spending more than $1 billion a year to fight the drug epidemic, most of it to provide addiction treatment through Medicaid expansion. Ohio is also investing in providing the opioid-overdose antidote, naloxone, to first responders supporting efforts including drug courts, housing for addicts in recovery as well as educational programs.
Naturally, along with the fight against the drug epidemic, comes an increase in drug-related arrests, such as drug possession and DWI arrests. This only adds to Ohio’s increasingly overpopulated prisons.
Defense attorney Terry Sherman can fight for your freedom. Call 614.444.8800 to discuss your charges. Your phone call is free.
Fall is almost here and school is back in session. Many college students pack their bags and move away from home, possibly for the first time. They get ready to go out and experience college nightlife, a preconceived notion of what that means likely already formed in their mind. Underage drinking is an extremely common problem, not just in college, but in high school as well.
I’m going to explain what steps you can take in the instance you have contact with the police related to an underage drinking or a public drunkenness investigation. Let’s be clear, I’m not encouraging you to drink underage. I am merely going to enlighten you as to your rights.
In Columbus, underage drinking charges are common. However, you can take steps to avoid an underage drinking conviction.
1. Immediately talk to an Attorney.
My first tidbit of advice applies to all charges. If you receive a summary offense citation, the very first thing you should do is speak to an attorney! The fact that you may be factually guilty doesn’t mean that an attorney can’t help you. It’s far easier to nip these types of things in the bud than to try to get them off your record later.
2. “I would rather not answer”.
You have he right to remain silent. This next tip should be fairly obvious, but most people charged with underage drinking fall into this trap. If a cop asks you whether you have been drinking, don’t say yes! You have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. It becomes much more difficult to win a case at trial where there is a confession to one of the major elements of the offense.
However, I suggest that you not lie to the police if you were, in fact, drinking. You can either say, “I would rather not answer” or “I would like to invoke my Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.” At that point, the police officer is supposed to cease any further questioning.
3. “Just say no”….to a breathalyzer.
My next tip…don’t agree to submit to a breathalyzer test. Lots of people have a misconception that they have to submit to a breathalyzer test any time a police officer asks them to do so. That’s simply not true. What is true is that a motorist suspected of driving under the influence must submit to a chemical blood test or a certified breath test, or he’ll lose his driver’s license for a year for the refusal. You’re NEVER required to submit to a breath test while under investigation for underage drinking or public drunkenness.
If you do submit to a breathalyzer and test positive for alcohol, especially if your BAC is high, the officer will then try to manipulate you into a confession. The cop is just doing his or her job by using a tried and true police tactic. That being said, you aren’t obligated to make the cop’s job any easier.
4. Leave your ID at home.
Next, you need to be aware that you don’t have to show the cop your ID when you’re stopped, for the simple reason that in the United States, citizens are not required to carry identification with them….unless you’re driving.
In that case, you must present your driver’s license. But, if you’re just walking back to the dorms or standing around an OSU tailgate, you are not required to carry an ID with you just in case a cop happens to ask to see it.
This is really important for the simple reason that the crime of underage drinking in Ohio is defined as possession, consumption or the attempt to purchase alcohol while being less than 21 years of age. Meaning that the arresting officer, at trial, has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were, in fact, less than 21 years of age.
The mere fact that you really are 18, 19 or 20 years old is not enough for a conviction. The officer has to prove it. Typically at trial, the officer will testify that he or she observed your ID and noted your date of birth.
5. Don’t lie to the police.
While we’re on the subject of IDs, I should make it perfectly clear that you should NEVER lie about your identity or date of birth to the police. If you’re under an official police investigation for a crime like underage drinking, and you give the officer a fake name or date of birth, you could be charged with false identification.
6. Be polite.
Now for my final tip, which may be the most useful of all. You should never be rude or combative with the police. Expressing your frustration by being obnoxious to the police never does anyone any good. Being polite and cooperative will go a long way. Remain polite while explaining that you left your ID at home, declining a breath test or refusing to answer whether you have been drinking or not.
If you’ve been charged with underage drinking, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct or related offense, call Terry Sherman at (614) 444-8800 for a free consultation.