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.
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual encounter without the consent of the person being pursued. Sexual assault can present itself in a number of different ways.
Statutory laws are used to prosecute offenses that are related to the victim being below the Ohio Age of Consent. Non-statutory rape laws are used to prosecute cases where force or coercion was used by the assailant.
Ohio has defined 5 crimes that are used to prosecute sexual assault in Ohio.
1. Gross Sexual Imposition § 2907.05: If the offender has or causes someone else to have sexual contact with someone whose ability to resist or consent is impaired due to a mental or physical condition for any reason. This includes advanced age, drug intoxication or by threat of force.
Punishment: 6-18 months in prison / If the victim is under age of consent: 1-5 years in prison
2. Rape § 2907.02: If the offender engages in sexual conduct with another through force or threat of force or when the victim’s ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired due to a mental or physical condition for any reason. This includes advanced age and drug intoxication.
Rape can take on several forms:
Date Rape – when a person is attacked by someone that they know Stranger Rape – when a person is attacked by someone they don’t know.
Punishment: minimum 5 years in prison / If victim under 10, life in prison
3. Sexual Battery § 2907.03: If the offender has sexual conduct with another, when the victim is a minor, and the offender is more than two years older than the other person, or when the offender is in a place of power or authority (such as a coach, teacher, law enforcement etc) and uses such to persuade the victim to consent.
Punishment: 1-5 years in prison / If the victim is under the age of 13: 2-8 years in prison
4. Sexual Imposition § 2907.06: If the offender engages in “sexual touching” (i.e., the touching of another person’s erogenous area) when the offender knows the sexual touching is offensive to the accuser or is reckless in that regard; this includes if the victim is either underage (older than 13 but younger than 16), impaired due to a mental or physical condition of any kind including drug intoxication.
Punishment: Up to 60 days in prison for the first offense / up to 6 months for subsequent offenses
5. Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor § 2907.04: If the offender is 18 years of age or older engages in sexual conduct with someone who is 13 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age or the offender is reckless in that regard.
Punishment: 6 months – 8 years in prison depending on several factors including age gap and previous offenses / If the offender is less than 4 years older than the victim – up to 6 months in prison
Managing False Allegations
If you’ve been accused of sexual assault, the thought of the legal process that you’re soon to encounter can be terrifying. Your life can be significantly impacted in a variety of ways. By responding quickly and aggressively with a criminal defense attorney by your side, you can move through the legal process as quickly as possible:
-Do not provide law enforcement with any information without your attorney present -Hire a criminal defense attorney with experience in this area -Write down your account of what happened, provide as many details as possible -Make a list of witnesses who can attest to the events at the time of the alleged assault
The consequences of a conviction for sexual assault are serious and could include: incarceration, difficulty obtaining employment in the future, becoming a registered sex offender, restrictions regarding where you can live, and much more.
If you’re falsely accused of sexual assault, call defense Attorney Terry Sherman for a free case evaluation. He has 45+ years experience and exceptional track record of success. To learn more about Sex Crimes Defense, click here.
Expungements are a legal process that can clear arrests, charges and minor convictions from someone’s record. Never heard of it? You’re not alone. See, that’s the thing about expungement: many people don’t even know it exists, let alone if they’re eligible, and of those who do, many don’t know how to get it.
Though “expunge” and “seal” are often used interchangeably, but they mean very different things. Expungement is to erase such documents while “sealing” simply means they’re no longer public record.
Am I Eligible to have my record expunged?
The law on who is eligible for either varies state by state, and there is no encompassing federal law on expunging adult crimes. In Ohio, the maximum allowable expungements, according to Ohio law, is one felony and one misdemeanor, or two misdemeanors. However there have been some changes in recent years, so the best way to know if you are eligible for records expungement by contacting a legal professional to review your case.
(Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Terry Sherman)
The difference between record expungement and record sealing.
There are some things you should know about expungements and sealed records. In the age of the Internet, expungement only goes so far. If your record is approved for expungement, the court will agree to toss out its records…but what about Google? How about news archives? Mugshots.com? It’s nearly impossible to expunge information in this cyber age. But that doesn’t mean expungements aren’t still an important step. You can still pare down someone’s record which helps them gain access to employment or housing. It’s vital.
An expunged record can still hurt your chances of landing a job. Beyond doing a simple Internet search, employers often turn to private information providers to run background checks on job candidates. Sometimes companies have downloaded the databases of the courts periodically, and they have them stored on their own databases.
The REDEEM Act.
Congress is considering whether to make more people eligible for expungement. The highly publicized REDEEM Act introduced by Senators Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, and Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, stands for “Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment.” Under the proposal, those convicted of nonviolent federal crimes could apply to have them sealed, and all nonviolent juvenile offenses would automatically be expunged or sealed, depending on age when the crime took place.
While a lawyer is not required, legal expertise can help navigate a complicated process.
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.
Don’t ever assume that your DUI case is unbeatable. These are very complex matters, and there are a wide range of defense strategies that have proven extremely effective in these types of cases.
While there are many effective defense strategies, here are 9 ways to win a Columbus DUI case.
1. The Traffic Stop Was Illegal And Wasn’t Supported By Probable Cause
A police officer needs to have a reasonable suspicion to pull a driver over. If the police officer can’t explain why he or she reasonably suspected the driver had broken the law, then the traffic stop may be declared unconstitutional and the DUI charge may be dismissed.
2. The Arrest Was Illegal And Not Supported By Probable Cause
An officer needs to have probable cause to arrest someone. If the officer didn’t have sufficient evidence to merit probable cause, the arrest may be declared unconstitutional. The drunk driving charge could be dismissed.
3. The Field Sobriety Tests Were Administered Improperly
Field sobriety tests are always voluntary. If a police officer forced the driver to take a sobriety test, the accused individual’s Fourth Amendment rights might have been violated which means the test results could be thrown out.
Furthermore, it’s important these tests are administered properly. For example, if the tests are conducted on uneven ground, they could be considered invalid.
4. The Breath Test Was Administered Improperly Or With Faulty Equipment
There’s a right way and a wrong way to use a breath test machine. If an officer uses the machine incorrectly, the results could be thrown out. Additionally, mechanical issues may impact the accuracy of the results.
Some machines are affected by temperature. For example, if the machine is stored in the trunk on a cold day and not allowed to warm up prior to being used, the results might not be accurate and should be considered invalid.
5. A Medical Issue Or Some Other Factor Interfered With The Breath Test
Several everyday issues can lead to false positives on a breath test. Let’s say a person burps after recently consuming alcohol and then takes a breath test, the results might show a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) than normal. Or, if a person is running a fever when they take the test, the results may also be skewed.
Your lawyer will review the case to determine if any interfering factor was present and seek to have results thrown out.
6. The Blood Test Was Administered Improperly Or The Equipment Was Faulty
While blood tests are typically conducted in a more controlled environment than breathalyzers, there is still the possibility of errors. For example; Was an alcohol swab used on the draw site? Was the sample handled correctly during the testing process? Any issue that might interfere with the accuracy of the results could lead to the results being considered invalid.
7. A Medical Issue Interfered With The Blood Test
There is an enzymatic method is typically used for determining alcohol content in blood tests. However, this method may lead to inaccurately high readings that confuse serum alcohol, which might be produced by tissue trauma, like bruises, with ethyl alcohol. If there’s reason to believe that such a factor interfered with the blood test, the results should be thrown out.
8. The Accused Was Not Operating The Vehicle
Occasionally, a person will be charged with DUI even though he or she was merely caught sitting or sleeping in the vehicle. If the police officer did not personally witness the individual driving while intoxicated, the case can be dismissed.
In cases like these, the court must determine whether the evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was either in actual control of the vehicle (keys in ignition or engine running) or driving.
9. Jurisdictional Issues And Speedy Trial Issues
The location of the DUI dictates which courts will hear the case and which police officers can conduct the arrest. In some cases, if an officer makes an arrest outside of his or her jurisdiction, it can be used as part of a defense strategy. The prosecution has a limited amount of time to try your case. If the Commonwealth fails to prosecute during the allotted time frame, the case can be dismissed.
If you’ve been accused of DUI, take action to ensure that it doesn’t impact your life. Columbus DUI defense attorney Terry Sherman will help you secure the results that you need to be able to move forward with your life. Schedule your free consultation
Chances are that you’ve heard some version of the Miranda Rights before. You don’t have to be involved in a crime to have heard it, thanks to crime TV shows.
The Miranda Rights start with the famous “You have the right to remain silent…” It’s likely that you can recite the rest, but surprisingly, a lot of people don’t understand what the Miranda rights actually protect.
Protection Offered by the Miranda Rights
By law, a law enforcement officer is supposed to read the Miranda rights to the suspect at the time of his/her arrest. The major benefits include:
That you’re not required to speak to the police
That you are permitted to have an attorney advocate on your behalf at all times throughout police questioning
A defendant may choose to uphold these rights or waive them. In the event that the defendant chooses to waive his or her Miranda rights, and chooses to speak directly to officers in the absence of an attorney, then under the law, such correspondence is not coerced or involuntary.
Miranda Rights and Juveniles
Law enforcement officers also read Miranda rights to juveniles if they’re suspects. The issue is that juveniles often don’t fully understand the rights read to them, or even worse, the implication of waiving their Miranda rights. Because of this, the rate of waivers among juveniles is alarmingly as high as 90 percent.
This makes us question…Why?
One reason is of course understanding or lack thereof. In 2014, the Harvard Medical School and others identified 371 variations of the wording of Miranda rights. Of this number, an impressive 52 percent required at least an eighth-grade reading level for proper understanding. Comprehension becomes even more difficult once you factor in the added stress that plagues juveniles under arrest.
Another reason is the limited memory of all the rights that are included in Miranda. Taking advantage of one’s Miranda Rights goes far beyond understanding the verbiage. It’s equally, if not more important to remember all the rights later, after the arrest and during the interrogation.
Waiving of Miranda Rights by Juveniles
On the heels of these shocking stats are several cases relating to the waiving of Miranda rights by juveniles. On one hand are cases that dispute whether a juvenile actually waived his or her Miranda rights at all. On the other hand are cases that dispute whether the rights were stated in a way to make the juvenile understand what rights were protected.
A number of states are currently considering adopting a revised Miranda standard. This would address many of the concerns regarding Miranda rights and juveniles. Proposed processes that would address some of these concerns include:
Implementing a version of Miranda specifically for juveniles that are easier to understand.
Stipulating a minimum age requirement, meaning that juveniles below the age limit would be legally unable to waive their Miranda rights, make a confession or even speak to a police officer in the absence of a parent or guardian.
The foremost importance of Miranda rights is to protect against self-incrimination during questioning. Therefore, it’s critical to consult an experienced defense attorney like Terry Sherman if you or a loved one is of the belief that Miranda warnings were not properly provided or were improperly or unfairly waived. Call us now.