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Lancaster Criminal Law Blog

Help! I got arrested at a college protest

College campuses across the nation have been a hotbed of political activities and protests ever since the 2016 presidential election. University students have traditionally engaged in all sorts of political and social protest activities over the years, and most participate with no undue harm coming to them.

But it doesn't always end harmlessly, as was seen just last month in Charlottesville, Virginia, at a counter-protest of a white nationalist march when a 32-year-old paralegal was killed by a man intentionally ramming the crowd with his car.

Job hunting tips for those with a criminal record

Do you have a criminal record? Are you searching for employment? If you answered yes to these questions, you know how difficult it can be to land a job.

While some companies may not check your background, most realize that this is an important part of the hiring process. When a background check shows that you have a criminal record, it could disqualify you from further consideration.

Charges for drug crimes could provide a wake-up call for some

The simple fact is that many Ohio residents have an addiction problem. Being addicted to drugs is a sickness, and until some of them face charges for drug crimes, they may not seek the help they need. Once in the criminal justice system, the future of someone addicted to drugs could go one of two ways: Either the individual receives much needed help, or he or she ends up in the system, which more than likely will not provide the ability to kick the drug habit.

Even though an addict could "dry out" in jail or prison, without the proper treatment for the core causes of the problem, he or she will probably just return to using after release. The whole person requires treatment, not just the drug use. Often, only the first time a person takes drugs is voluntary. Thereafter, the drugs can take over, and the situation spirals out of control.

Ohio criminal defense: What is the exclusionary rule?

When one is accused of a crime in Ohio or elsewhere, evidence or lack thereof will have a big impact on the outcome of his or her case. Prosecutors depend on investigators to collect evidence that can be used in court in order to obtain convictions. However, how evidence is gathered may actually help one's criminal defense.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was written and ratified to include the exclusionary rule, which protects people from illegal search and seizure. The exclusionary rule is meant to prevent law enforcement misconduct, and it allows the court to exclude evidence from trial if it was obtained without a warrant or legal justification. Victims of illegal search and seizure can have their legal counsel file motions in court in order to challenge evidence admissibility.

The punishments for cocaine-related drug crimes can be severe

Cocaine-related criminal offenses are treated rather harshly compared to crimes involving other types of drugs. This is a drug that is considered illegal in every state. Ohio residents who are accused of committing cocaine-related drug crimes may face severe punishments if convicted.

As with all drug crimes, there are various consequences for cocaine-related offenses, depending on the type of crime allegedly committed, one's intent and the amount of cocaine found in one's possession. For the crime of cocaine possession alone, there are five different levels of charges and associated punishments. All are considered felony level offenses, but the punishments range from six months in jail up to 11 years and fines ranging from $2,500 to $20,000.

What to do if your college student is charged with DUI

As the parent of a college student, you probably spend a lot of time wondering if he or she is making the right decisions.

At some point, your child may contact you to discuss a serious situation. For example, your son or daughter may inform you that he or she has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

In certain cases involving drug crimes, drug court a possibility

Those in Ohio who are charged with certain drug offenses may have the option to have their cases moved to drug court. In short, drug court offers a court-supervised treatment program for drug addiction. Drug crimes are not taken lightly by the state, so there are very specific qualifications one must meet in order to have his or her case moved to drug court. If you are admitted into this treatment program, criminal punishment may be waived if it is successfully completed.

Going to drug court requires a long-term commitment. You will be required to attend meetings, submit to drug testing, make court appearances and attend therapy sessions with an approved counselor. This can last for several months to over a year. If you fail to stick to the program in its entirety, your case will be sent back to the criminal court system for prosecution.

Auto-brewery syndrome, a possible DUI criminal defense

In Ohio and elsewhere, DUI cases may be dismissed for a number of reasons, including lack of evidence, testing errors and medical issues -- among others. When it comes to medical issues, there is one in particular that can cause a high blood-alcohol readout on a breath test, even if the individual accused of impaired driving has not partaken of any alcohol. The disorder, known as auto-brewery syndrome, is a real thing and may be used as a criminal defense in a DUI case.

If a person has auto-brewery syndrome, it means that his or her body turns excess yeast from foods into alcohol. The process of converting carbohydrates into alcohol takes place in the small bowel. While this will increase a person's blood-alcohol content (BAC), the individual may not feel intoxicated as he or she would were he or she to actually drink alcohol. This is believed to be a relatively rare condition, though more cases continue to be reported.

Ohio felonies: What elevates a crime to felony status?

Criminal charges are filed based on the severity of the crime allegedly committed. There are misdemeanors, which are considered relatively minor in nature, and there are felonies, which are for those crimes which are more severe. In the state of Ohio, what is it that elevates a crime to felony status?

Felony offenses tend to involve moral turpitude. In other words, these are acts that go against community standards. Violent crimes, certain drug crimes, DUI's resulting in injury or death and the like are all considered felony level offenses.

Those charged with weapons crimes can seek legal help

In Ohio and elsewhere, weapons charges are taken rather seriously. The potential penalties that often result from weapons crimes convictions can be quite severe. As a conviction can have a profound impact on your personal and professional life, seeking assistance when facing criminal charges may prove beneficial to your case. An experienced defense attorney can help you decide the best legal course to pursue in the effort to achieve the best possible outcome for your circumstances.

There are many types of weapons crimes -- some which are considered more serious than others. Examples of common weapons crimes include possession of stolen weapons, illegal sale, felon in possession, negligent discharge and carrying without a permit -- among various others. Unfortunately, many responsible weapon owners may, due to circumstances beyond their control, find themselves in trouble with the law.

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