According to Prison Policy Initiative, 32% of the accused sit in prison cells serving time before they have even been convicted, solely because they can’t afford to post bail. In Columbus, the average bail amount is about $50,000 – an amount well out of reach for those arrested to be able to pay. Bail is an agreement between you (the defendant) and the court. As the defendant, you agree to post a specific amount of money in exchange for the assurance that you’ll return to court for your scheduled court date. Appear in court as scheduled and you get your money back. But if you don’t show up for even one of your court dates, you forfeit your $25,000 and a warrant for your arrest will be issued. If you can’t post bail, you stay in jail until your trial date – possibly for months.
How is the Bail Amount Determined?
Once you’ve been arrested, you’re immediately booked to jail.
Your vital information, your photo, and fingerprints are recorded in the police department’s database.
Your personal items are impounded.
After being booked, you’ll be given a sobriety test. This may be a second sobriety test if you’ve been arrested due to failing the first one.
You’ll be permitted to make one phone call, after which you’ll be put into a jail cell.
Your hearing will be scheduled and the judge decides the amount of your bail. This usually happens within 48 hrs of your arrest.
Normally the majority of jurisdictions use a schedule for bail to decide the bail amount that should be set. However, the judge hearing the case has considerable leeway when they decide to set bail.
Example #1: If this was your first offense, you are employed, and have family in the area, the judge may choose to reduce your bail amount below the scheduled amount; possibly discard it completely.
Example #2: If you have multiple offenses on your record and the judge thinks you might be a “flight risk”, the judge may choose to increase your bail or even revoke your ability and permission to post bail.
For a low-level offense, some jurisdictions may assign your bail as soon as you’re booked and not wait for an initial hearing. A police officer will advise you whether you will be able to immediately post bail using a credit card.
What is a Bail Bond?
Chances are you will have to get a bail bond to get out of jail if you or your loved one has been arrested for any type of serious crime. You may have also seen television commercials about bail bonds, but unless you’ve directly dealt with the issue of posting bail, you may find that you need a brush up on your knowledge about bail bonds.
How Bail Bonds Work:
You put down a small percentage for the total amount, a bail bondsman gives you the rest of the money needed for your bail. For example: If your bail is $15,000, you would deposit $2,000. The bail bondsman would provide the $15,000 bail needed for you to “post bail.” Most bail bond companies also will require collateral. Collateral is usually a deed to your house, car or jewelry of equal or greater value. After your trial is over, the court repays you, and the money is returned to your bail bondsman.
Bail bond companies typically do the following:
Require that your relative or friend put up the collateral for your bond. You will be less likely to miss a court date when your relative’s or friend’s property is on the line.
Call you before each court date to remind you of your upcoming trial.
Require you to make periodic check-ins at their bail bond office to make sure you haven’t left town.
Types of Bail Bonds:
Surety Bond: This type of bail bond is secured by an insurance company. It’s common for bail bondsmen to work with insurance companies in order to provide financial backing for their bonds.
Property Bond: If you own property (i.e., a house), the bail bondsman may be able to use this as collateral instead of putting down cash. With this type of bond, the court places a lien on your property and can sell it if you do not appear for your court date(s).
Release on Own Recognizance: Sometimes a judge will agree to release you without setting any bail amount. This normally happens only if you are accused of a low-level crime and the judge doesn’t consider you to be a flight risk.
Cite Out: This would be if you are caught doing something illegal and the officer then decides to issue a citation to appear in court instead of booking you into jail.
Immigration Bond: If you are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an immigration bond will permit you to be released from jail until your hearing is completed.
How much will a Bail Bondsman charge for this service?
They charge a fee that is usually 10-30% of your bail bond amount. This fee is normally not refundable. Sometimes they charge an “application fee”.
It is critical that you retain a criminal defense attorney with a record of success.
We have achieved positive results under the most difficult opposition and earned a solid reputation in over 45 years practicing exclusively criminal defense. Attorney Sherman is included in “Best Lawyers in America®” (earned by 1% of all lawyers in the U.S.) for 16 years running. He is honored as “Ohio Super Lawyer®” (2.5% of Ohio attorneys), rated as “AV Superb” by his peers, and “top 100” by the National Trial Lawyers of America. Practicing in state & federal courts, he has represented hundreds of people and tried over 450 jury trials. Although alleged crimes vary the approach is the same; be meticulously prepared and be ready for trial.
Of course, it is your right to defend yourself against DUI/DWI charges; post bail, make a plea deal or plead guilty.
However, the outcome will have long-lasting consequences; fines, fees, stained permanent record (even appearing in Google searches for your name), suspension or revocation of a driving privilege, much higher auto insurance costs, and jail time.
1 – Reconsider Pleading Guilty
If you chose to “blow” or provide urine or blood sample at the time of your arrest, and your blood alcohol content (BAC) was above .08%, it doesn’t guarantee your conviction. A DUI lawyer can offer advice that could affect the severity of your sentence. If your BAC was lower than .08%, a DUI attorney may be able to use your low BAC to achieve a better plea bargain your case.
2- Plea Bargaining & Sentence Bargaining
Many states prohibit the prohibit plea bargaining of a DUI charge (e.g., DUI to reckless driving), hire an attorney who knows the prosecutors. This can make a vital difference in post-conviction & penalties.
Most states offer sentence bargaining for a DUI conviction that may reduce the period of incarceration. If it is your second DUI, for example, you may agree to a guilty plea if you know your sentence. For an aggravated DUI charge (your BAC was over .15% that resulted in injury or death) sentence bargaining is vital. A skilled DUI lawyer should manage the sentence bargaining for you.
3- The Penalties for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th DUI are Very Steep
Even if you pled guilty to your first DUI, you better get the assistance of an accomplished DUI attorney for subsequent DUI charges. Second, third, and fourth DUI offenses almost always involve incarceration, large bail bonds & steep penalties. Lawyers have familiarity with the court system, the prosecuting attorneys, what plea bargains and sentence bargains are available to you, and can navigate the complex administration procedures to achieve the best outcome possible.
4 – What About The Cost of A DUI Attorney?
Your DUI lawyer will be right there beside you in court; negotiating, entering your plea, and bargaining down your sentence so you may also have lower fines and fees. This may offset, if not cover, the cost of representation.
Self-defense is defined as the legal use of force when a person believes it is absolutely necessary to prevent injury or death to his person. Circumstances vary from case to case, but there are general guidelines to follow if you wish to plead self-defense to an assault charge.
Choose a criminal defense attorney who specializes in assault cases. Well-trained lawyers are your best friends when criminal charges are pressed. A good attorney will often know how best to build a case for self-defense and can advise you on what to do.
Explain why assault was the only option. A self-defense argument usually succeeds only if your actions came as a last resort. Be prepared to explain why other means of resolving the situation (such as retreating from the situation or calling the police) were not feasible in your case, and that you risked injury or death if you hadn’t acted immediately.
Point out that a felony was being committed, or that your assailant struck first. You are legally allowed to defend yourself if the other party is committing, or is about to commit, a crime. You may also legally defend yourself if you were attacked before attacking someone yourself. If you can demonstrate either of these two conditions, you may be able to plead self-defense successfully.
Show that the force you used was proportionate to the force with which you were threatened. The law weighs proportion very carefully in these cases. Be prepared to show that you did not escalate the situation and that you fought back using the same means and force with which you were attacked.
Demonstrate that you stopped when your assailant no longer posed a threat. Your ability to plead self-defense successfully may hinge on how much damage you inflicted after your assailant was clearly incapacitated. You should note when you stopped attacking, and be ready to explain why your assailant was still a danger up until that moment.
There is strict enforcement of underage drinking laws. Underage alcohol possession/consumption is one of the most common criminal charges for young people in Columbus and law enforcement has little tolerance. If you are under 21 and get caught possessing/consuming alcohol, expect the law to be enforced.
There is increased police presence and strict enforcement on game days at The Ohio State University and aggressive prosecution for underage drinking offenses that occur in the homes of fraternities & sororities. Even if is your first time, a lapse in judgment will likely become a criminal case with significant consequences.
A charge of underage drinking is typically accompanied by other charges. This charge may also be known as; “underage alcohol consumption”, “prohibition”, “underage alcohol possession”, “underage intoxication”, “offense involving underage persons”, and “certain acts prohibited”. If your behavior is obnoxious, you may be charged with Disorderly Conduct. If non-cooperative, you may be charged with Resisting Arrest. If you gave fake information, you may be charged with Obstructing Official Business or Falsification.What are the penalties for underage drinking violations? It is classified by Ohio law as a first degree misdemeanor. The potential sentence for conviction includes a jail term up to 6 months, a fine non-exceeding $1,000 plus court fees, community service, alcohol counseling, and probation. A conviction is a permanent, public criminal record that may influence education & employment opportunities. Since the information is public, it will typically appear in internet searches for your name.
What strategies might we use to defend you?
Diversion Program: If you are accepted into a diversion program and complete it successfully, the case is dismissed without a conviction, and the records for the case can be sealed (expunged).
We obtain all evidence that the prosecuting attorney intends to introduce, evaluate the strength of that evidence, and pursue potential defenses.
If a diversion program is disqualified or you choose not to participate in a diversion program, we may plead “not guilty” and begin a defense against your charges through the court process. The court process may include; pretrial hearings, hearings on motions to suppress evidence, and a trial. In all cases, we seek the best possible outcome.
Why choose Attorney Terry K Sherman to represent you? Practicing as a criminal defense attorney exclusively for his entire career, Attorney Sherman has represented many clients (including students) that had been charged with underage drinking offenses in Ohio courts. In most cases, the underage drinking charges were reduced or dismissed, and often he was able to get the records for the case sealed (expunged).
The stress of collegiate life leaves many college students turning to prescription stimulants to help manage their lives and get ahead.
According to new research published by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 20 percent of college students report abusing prescription stimulants at least once in their life. The study also noted upperclassmen are more likely to abuse the stimulants than younger college students.
Across college campuses, overwhelming amounts of students believe that Adderall is safe because doctors prescribe it, but continued use of the drug can create a dangerous addiction. College students are especially likely to take the drug as it produces an increase in concentration, confidence and an overall sense of euphoria. Classified as a stimulant, Adderall also keeps students awake, so they can cram for finals or write an entire 30 page term paper in a single night.
While some students only take the drug occasionally to give them a boost near finals, others rely on it to manage their overscheduled school, work, and social lives. Prolonged use can create a dependency on the drug. The brain of an Adderall addict might feel clouded & out of focus without the medication.
Adderall addiction symptoms may include:
Unable to finish work
Inability to feel alert
Needing increasingly larger dosage to feel it’s effect
Possession with a Perscription is Criminal
Under federal law, Adderall is considered a schedule II controlled substance due to its high potential for abuse. If you are caught in possession of Adderall or other prescription stimulants, and you do not have a prescription of your own, you could be charged with a criminal offense. If you are convicted of possession of a controlled substance in Ohio, you could face fines up to $5,000 and a year in jail. These penalties can only increase if you are caught in possession of an amount enough to be considered distribution.
Arrested for Possession of Adderall
If you or someone you know was recently arrested for possession of a prescription stimulant such as Adderall, you need a tenacious Columbus criminal attorney to navigate you through this process.
Existing law prohibits a person with a valid concealed handgun license from carrying a concealed handgun into a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship, unless the church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship posts or permits otherwise.
As related to House Bill 452, Republican Rep. Nino Vitale insisted to fellow House members seated on the State Government committee that his aim isn’t to change law to allow guns to be carried in churches. Rather, the object of the bill is to clarify what comprises a place of worship.
Vitale’s resoluteness, however, is undercut to a degree by the bill’s summary, which notes the measure is “to generally permit a concealed handgun licensee to carry a concealed handgun in a place of worship.” “One of the biggest issues I hear is the confusion with lawful concealed carry in places of worship,” said Vitale, a gun instructor who also teaches state concealed carry classes. “Current Ohio law states a private property owner that does not wish permit holders to carry on their property must post a sign stating its prohibition. “However, with places of worship, one must obtain permission from ‘the proper church authority’ before carrying a concealed weapon in a place of worship. This is where the confusion lies.”
In the case of Catholics, such as Vitale, a lawfully permitted congregant must seek permission of the parish council, the bishop, the parish priest or the parochial vicar, he speculated during sponsor testimony of HB 452.
“If I worship in a rented facility, do I need to obtain permission from the leaders of the faith community as well as the private property owner?” he continued. “If I am not in the worship space, but a gathering hall, or corridor attached to the worship space, can a law abiding Ohio Conceal Carry holder legally carry in those areas? “The law is gray, at best.”
Existing law prohibits a person with a valid concealed handgun license from carrying a concealed handgun into a church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship, unless the church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship posts or permits otherwise. HB 452 would remove the prohibition, effectively permitting a licensee to carry a concealed handgun into a church or other place of worship, unless another provision of the concealed carry law prohibits a licensee from carrying a handgun into a place of worship.
According to Ohio Legislative Service Commission analysis of the bill, an ongoing provision of the law permits the owner or person in control of private land or premises to post a sign in a conspicuous location on that land or on those premises prohibiting persons from carrying firearms or concealed firearms on or onto that land or those premises. Were that the case and such a sign was placed in a conspicuous location at a place of worship, a licensee who knowingly carries a concealed handgun in the place of worship in violation of the posted sign is guilty of criminal trespass, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
“What this bill states is that we treat a worship space just like any other private facility,” the lawmaker said. “If they do not wish for law abiding Ohio CCW permit holders to carry, simply post a sign, as stated in the Ohio CCW Blue Book. All CCW permit holders are trained to look for this sign. And so are any out of state CCW permit holders.” The practice, Vitale said, is the same for retail establishments, restaurants, entertainment venues and small businesses. “It is very clear if the owner of the property allows or does not allow carry as we simply look for the posting sign or one like it,” he concluded.
The lawmaker also has backed House Bill 518, a measure to allow an elected Ohio office holder with a valid concealed handgun license to carry a concealed handgun in a state or local government facility. A prohibition against carrying a concealed handgun into a courthouse or another building in which a courtroom is located would remain intact. Under existing law and unchanged by the bill, “government facility of this state or a political subdivision of this state” means:
A building or part of a building that is owned or leased by the state or local government and where employees of the state or local government regularly are present for the purpose of performing their official duties; and
The office of a deputy registrar used to perform deputy registrar functions pursuant to the licensing of motor vehicles law.
Six fellow House members joined Vitale to cosponsor HB 452. Five of the aforementioned lawmakers joined three others to cosponsor HB 518. Neither bill was scheduled for subsequent hearings as of publication.
A Springfield, Ohio firefighter who traveled to assist the cleanup of the World Trade Center rubble, is not entitled to compensation as a victim of crime, the Ohio Court of Claims ruled on Tuesday.
The court wrote that Fred Zerkle didn’t prove that he was a victim of terrorism, and was not entitled to receive compensation from an Ohio fund for crime victims, because “he was not on the scene when the violent act or act dangerous to human life occurred.” Nor was Zerkle an indirect victim of crime, the court concluded.
Working as a firefighter in Springfield, Zerkle decided to assist with operations in New York City during the months following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. As part of his work, he filled out paperwork and dug through the rubble at ground zero. He stayed in the city for about a month.
After he returned to Ohio, Zerkle took a job as a postal worker, but he developed physical and mental health issues. He recounted that he had a light heart attack, then was diagnosed with respiratory problems and post-traumatic stress disorder. He had to stop working and has been unemployed since. He attributed the health problems to his time helping at the site of the terrorist attacks.
Zerkle submitted claims to the 9/11 Fund and to Social Security for disability. In August 2015, he also applied to the Ohio Crime Victims Compensation Fund, asking for reimbursement of his medical costs as a victim of crime. The Office of Attorney General, which administers the program, rejected his application in March 2016, concluding that he traveled to New York City sometime between October and December 2001, months after the terrorist attacks, and didn’t prove he suffered criminally injurious conduct as required by state law to award compensation.
Zerkle appealed to the Ohio Court of Claims, which handles appeals from the attorney general’s decisions on applications made to the crime victims fund.
The law governing the Crime Victims Compensation Fund states that criminally injurious conduct includes terrorism, which is defined as an act that is violent or dangerous to human life. Zerkle contended that the 9/11 terrorist attacks extended months after that tragic day because people were injured during the cleanup afterward and the air in the area was contaminated for 6 months or longer.
The magistrate who heard the case recommended to the court that the attorney general’s decision be upheld, stating that “[t]he [a]ttorney [g]eneral does not dispute [Zerkle] suffered physical and mental injury in the cleanup effort, however, Mr. Zerkle was not the victim of terrorism.”
The magistrate concluded that Zerkle didn’t qualify for compensation as a crime victim because he wasn’t a victim of an act that was violent or dangerous to human life.
“[T]hese activities or acts have to be violent and cause an immediate threat of substantial personal injury or death,” the magistrate’s decision stated. “[A]pplicant was not injured as a direct result of any act of terrorism.”
In a 1989 case, the Court of Claims addressed whether a person could be an indirect victim of crime when arriving to a location after a crime has taken place. The court in that case explained that an applicant in this situation is a crime victim only if he or she arrived at the crime scene while the crime was still happening or immediately afterward. However, the magistrate concluded that Zerkle didn’t meet this requirement either.
On Oct. 11, Judge Patrick M. McGrath adopted the magistrate’s decision and recommendation denying Zerkle’s request for compensation.
The Court of Claims is given original jurisdiction to hear and determine all civil actions filed against the state. To access information on other cases, visit the Court of Claims website.
Victims of domestic violence and other crimes can now shield their home addresses from public documents, including their voter registrations, under a new state law that took effect this week.
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted announced the launch of the Safe at Home initiative during a news conference Thursday in Cleveland at the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center of Cleveland.
Residents who have been victims of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, rape or sexual battery can apply to the secretary of state’s office for inclusion in the program. “It is unacceptable that there are those in America who are forced to choose between their personal safety and their personal liberties” Husted said in a released statement afterward. “We know there are those in Ohio who choose to not register to vote and participate in our democracy out of fear for their well-being, but today, we’re bringing that to an end.”
The secretary of state then will provide a place for victims’ government-related mail to be collected without revealing their home addresses. Participants will also receive identification numbers for use in requesting ballots & participating in elections.
“The terrible reality is that victims in Ohio cannot safely register to vote, or provide a personal address on government documents, without making it a public record,” state Rep. Mike Duffey, R-Worthington, a primary sponsor of the law changes, said in a released statement. “In one case, a woman was tracked three times as she moved to avoid her abuser, but because her address wasn’t confidential, that abuser was able to find her and climb into her bedroom window at night carrying a gun. No person should have to choose between the right to vote and simply being safe at home.
Information about the program is available online at www.SafeAtHomeOhio.com. The website includes links to groups that will assist eligible residents with the sign-up process. Nearly 40 states have comparable address confidentiality programs in place.
A body-worn camera recorded a university police officer’s shooting and killing of a motorist, and a patrol cruiser’s dashboard-mounted video camera captured a high-speed car chase and arrest. In both cases the Cincinnati Enquirer’s requests for copies of the video were denied by law enforcement. The newspaper and other media outlets are now seeking to have the Ohio Supreme Court deem “bodycam” and “dashcam” videos as public records open to immediate inspection.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week on the Enquirer’s requests. The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office contend the videos should be classified as confidential law enforcement investigatory records (CLEIR) that are exempt from release in R.C. 149.43, known as Ohio public records act, and that the delayed release of the videos was reasonable.
University of Cincinnati Bodycam Video Sought
In State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Deters, five other media outlets join the Enquirer in seeking a writ of mandamus compelling the Hamilton County prosecutor to promptly release bodycam videos. The writ is based on their complaint that video from the July 2015 shooting of Cincinnati resident Samuel DuBose wasn’t made available for nine days.
Ray Tensing, a University of Cincinnati police officer, pulled DuBose over during a traffic stop on a city street near the university. Tensing activated a bodycam as he approached DuBose, and the stop resulted in Tensing killing DuBose. As the Cincinnati Police Department and the university police investigated, a Hamilton County assistant prosecuting attorney arrived on the scene, requested a copy of the bodycam video, and advised the departments not to release the video publicly until the prosecutor’s office could present it to a grand jury.
The media requests for the video from the police and prosecutor were denied. The prosecutor issued a statement saying, “The video will be released at some point – just not right now.” The prosecutor raised the concern that the release of the video could jeopardize Tensing’s right to a fair trial guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, and maintained the video was a CLEIR under R.C. 149.43(A)(1)(h).
The media outlets filed the writ with the Court, but two days later a grand jury indicted Tensing for murder and voluntary manslaughter, and the prosecutor released the video the same day. The prosecutor argues the action to seek a writ is moot because the recording was released, but the media maintains the situation is capable of repetition and asks the Court to address the issue. Newspaper Seeks High-Speed Chase Recording
In State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v the Ohio Dept. of Pub. Safety, the Ohio State Highway Patrol received a 911 call in January 2015 from a motorist who saw a vehicle without a rear license plate traveling south on Interstate 71. When a Highway Patrol trooper saw a car matching the description, she followed and activated her emergency lights, which automatically turned on the cruiser’s dashcam. After about a half hour’s pursuit, officers were able to detain the driver, Aaron Teofilo, who was arrested and charged with multiple felonies.
An Enquirer reporter requested dashcam videos along with the 911 call and the arrest and incident report from the Highway Patrol. The records were denied after a county prosecutor asked the agency not to release the information. When the reporter asked about the basis for the rejection, the Patrol cited the CLEIR exception. Teofilo was indicted, and the Enquirer filed the writ. After Teofilo pled guilty to offenses related to the highway pursuit, the Ohio Public Safety Department supplied dashcam recordings to the Enquirer.
The newspaper argues the bodycam and dashcam videos are not investigatory records. Citing previous Court opinions, the Enquirer claims the videos are similar to 911 calls and incident reports, which initiate an investigation but aren’t part of the investigation. The Ohio attorney general, representing the Highway Patrol, and the Hamilton County prosecutor claim the videos are distinctly different from incident reports and 911 calls. They maintain the videos are part of the investigation and aren’t public records.
In addition to the police video cases, the Court will hear two other cases on Tuesday, June 14 at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus. The Court’s sessions begin at 9 a.m., and the arguments will be streamed live online at sc.ohio.gov and broadcast live on The Ohio Channel.
Along with the brief descriptions below of the remaining two cases, the Office of Public Information today released previews of the four cases. Groups representing business and retail consumers challenge the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s grant of a rate plan for the Dayton Power & Light Co. (DP&L) that includes a “service stability rider,” which pays the company $330 million over a three-year period. The groups argue In the Matter of the Application of The Dayton Power and Light Company that the rider contains “transition revenues” to be paid by electricity users. When the state deregulated electric generation service and let customers choose suppliers, it allowed DP&L to collect transition fees for a set term that has ended. The groups contend the PUCO is illegally allowing the fees to be passed on while the commission and company argue the fees can be assessed to ensure reliable and stable service within DP&L’s service territory.
In State v. James, a man whose 1998 conviction in Clark County was overturned because a proper waiver of counsel at trial wasn’t obtained has filed a civil case alleging wrongful imprisonment. The man maintains he has identified a procedural error that occurred after sentencing and during or after imprisonment, as mandated by the wrongful imprisonment statute. The state contends the counsel waiver error happened at trial, not post-sentencing, and the other errors the applicant has asserted, including the prosecutor’s decision not to retry him, also don’t meet the law’s requirements.