5 Common Juvenile Crimes Committed During Summer Break

5 Common Juvenile Crimes Committed During Summer Break

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.

Arrested for legal medical pot? Here’s what you need to know about “affirmative defense”.

Arrested for legal medical pot? Here’s what you need to know about “affirmative defense”.

After months of waiting and several launch date push backs, Ohio’s online portal for medical marijuana registration finally went live. While doctors who have been certified by the State Medical Board to recommend marijuana can access the website, that doesn’t mean marijuana products are legally available for purchase yet.

State officials said medicinal cannabis products should be available for patient purchase by the end of January.

After receiving a recommendation from their doctor, patients will be able to access the registry for an annual fee of $50 ($25 for caregivers), and either print out a registration card or save it on their cell phone to show to licensed dispensaries.

Building an “Affirmative Defense”.

Although it’s been inconsistently applied, the law generally allows someone arrested for possession of or use of medical marijuana to argue before a judge they otherwise qualify under Ohio’s law.

If the patient displays a physician’s recommendation and is using cannabis in a form allowed under the law, it will then be up to the judge whether to accept the argument and look the other way.

This is called the “affirmative defense”, which is part of the 2016 law that legalized marijuana for medical use only. The law’s author intended it as possible protection for those in need of medical marijuana before the product was available in Ohio, and would potentially allow them to get it from another state, such as Michigan. However, there have been cases of people being charged for possession despite the defense.

“The affirmative defense has always been there,” said board spokesman Grant Miller. “We didn’t want a situation where we were registering people and 60 days later when the affirmative defense expires there still were no dispensaries open with the product.”

“We have literally thousands of patients who are ready to be enrolled,” said Connor Shore, president of Ohio Marijuana Card. “These are people who need marijuana, not to get high, but because it is medicine for them. We have cancer patients, veterans and pain patients who are really suffering, so this day is very exciting for them.”

A handful of licensed growers are prepping and have a limited amount of product expected to be available soon, however, it remains to be seen when a reliable supply will be produced to allow retail dispensaries to open their doors.

Know what’s legal.

According to House Bill 523, the 2016 law legalizing medical marijuana only allows for use in oils, tinctures, patches, edibles, and plant matter. The law strictly prohibits smoking, but it does allow vaping.

Keep in mind that all of those products will need to be purchased at a licensed dispensary. The law forbids the home-growing of marijuana.

Prior to the portals launch, no legal registration card had been available in Ohio, although some doctors were issuing recommendations before they were officially certified to do so.

Need to know more?

The board’s hotline for answering questions about the registry is 1-833-464-6627.

If you’ve been charged with marijuana possession and you believe you qualify for an affirmative defense, you need an experienced attorney by your side. Contact Terry Sherman 614-444-8800

Fentanyl is a growing epidemic: Cops are cracking down

Fentanyl is a growing epidemic: Cops are cracking down

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.

Federal Judge calls opioid crisis ‘man-made’ and urges action

Federal Judge calls opioid crisis ‘man-made’ and urges action

COLUMBUS (AP) – Tuesday, Federal Judge Dan Polster urged participants on all sides of the lawsuits against drugmakers and distributors to work toward a common goal of reducing overdose deaths. He stated that the lawsuits have come to his court “because other branches of the government have punted it”.

The judge currently oversees more than 180 lawsuits against drugmakers brought by local communities across the country; including those from Ohio. The Judge said that he believes everyone from drugmakers to doctors to individuals bear some responsibility for the crisis and haven’t done enough to stop it.

*Published IrontonTribune.com – Published January 10, 2018

During a hearing in his Cleveland courtroom, Polster stated, “What we have got to do is dramatically reduce the number of pills that are out there and make sure that the pills that are out there are being used properly. Because we all know that a whole lot of them have gone walking, with devastating results.”

In 2016, the government registered 63,600 overdose drug deaths – another record. The vast majority of deaths involved prescription opioids, namely OxyContin, Vicodin, or related illicit drugs such as fentanyl and heroin. The epidemic shows little sign of abating. Hundreds of lawsuits filed by county and municipal governments could end up as part of a consolidated federal case overseen by Judge Polster, while others are unlikely to consolidate.

Some government bodies, including Ohio and at least 9 other states, are suing the industry in state courts. Additionally, most states have united in an investigation of the industry that could spark a settlement or even more litigation against the industry. Among the drugmakers targeted; Allergan, Purdue Pharma, and Johnson & Johnson. Also targeted are three large distributors; Amerisource Bergen, Ohio-based Cardinal Health, and McKesson. All parties named in these and other lawsuits have said that they don’t believe that litigation is the answer but have pledged to help solve the crisis.

Judge Polster likened this epidemic to the 1918 flu which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, while pointing out the key difference. “This is 100 percent man-made. I’m pretty ashamed that this has occured while I’ve been around.”

With opioids, just a tiny speck can kill.

With opioids, just a tiny speck can kill.

  • In July, 10 year old Alton Banks died of fentanyl poisoning in Florida. He walked 10 blocks from the community pool to his home. He vomited, collapsed, and died.
  • In Montgomery County: Two toddlers overdosed on opioids and died.
  • In Cleveland: An officer was hospitalized after coming into contact with what is believed to be fentanyl while executing a search warrant.
  • In East Liverpool: A police officer required four doses of naloxone after he accidentally came into contact with fentanyl.
  • In Massillon: Three nurses were treated with naloxone after aiding an overdose patient.
  • In Florida:  A drug-sniffing K-9 was rushed to an animal hospital after he was exposed to fentanyl during a drug raid with law enforcement.
A person doesn’t have to be an opioid abuser to be injured or killed by the drug. Children and first responders are among those at risk of injury or death from accidental exposure.

Fatal Doses:
The individual’s size, body chemistry, tolerance, and general health can all play a role into whether a dose is lethal. Obviously, the same amount would affect a child differently than an adult who has a history of abusing opiates.Heroin:  30 milligrams — or a little less than a half a pack of sugar — can be deadly.

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.

Carfentanil:   “About 20 micrograms — less than a grain of salt — can be a lethal dose for a human”, Toms said. “Carfentanil is so strong that it is used to sedate elephants.”

“The drugs can be absorbed into the skin”, Toms said, “but inhalation can kill faster. It is all about how much of the substance makes it into the bloodstream, and how quickly it can get there. For someone abusing drugs, injection is going to be the fastest and most dangerous route. But for someone who is exposed to it, inhalation of the substance is going to likely be the fastest route.”

“Both absorption through the skin and ingestion require that the substance be absorbed through multiple layers of skin or organ tissue prior to entering the bloodstream, this ultimately takes longer,” Toms said. “However, mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) will be faster as these areas of your skin are thinner and were naturally designed to absorb materials.”

To avoid accidental exposure, law enforcement should exercise caution and be aware of how they are handling items at crime scenes.

Last July, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned law enforcement agencies to reconsider testing drugs on the scene because of the danger involved. “Field testing is not a good idea,” he said. “The risk is too high.” DeWine urged BCI’s Criminal Intelligence Unit to put out a series of law enforcement bulletins to make sure officers are informed about opioids and the dangers of handling them.

If testing must be performed, officers should wear proper protective equipment and test in an open, well-ventilated space, she said. Officers should be aware of what they are touching while wearing their gloves as to avoid creating an exposure incident after their gloves have been removed.

“Lastly, we recommend that suspected drug evidence be packaged in plastic to prevent the substances from spilling or leaking,” Toms said.

In case of exposure, an officer should wash his or her hands and immediately seek medical assistance.

Signs of opioid exposure include respiratory depression; pinpoint pupils; vomiting; loss of consciousness; choking or gurgling; slow or absent pulse; bluish, clammy skin; and limpness.

Adderall Possession Charges & College Students

Adderall Possession Charges & College Students

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.