Potter Law Blog

Can You Get a DUI on a Golf Cart? - 8/17/2018

Everyone knows it’s illegal to get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But can you get a DUI/OVI for driving a golf cart while drunk or high on drugs? Under the laws of most states, you can get a DUI on a golf cart.

Many states have laws that impose specific requirements and restrictions on the operation of golf carts. However, anyone operating a golf cart must also abide by the rules of the road that apply to all motor vehicles—including laws that prohibit driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Generally, a person can get a DUI for operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or while actually impaired by drugs or alcohol. However, state laws differ in regard to specifically where driving under the influence is illegal. Some states prohibit driving under the influence everywhere in the state, while the DUI laws of other states the DUI apply only to public roadways and private properties that are open to the public.

So, while a golf cart normally qualifies as a “motor vehicle,” it’s possible that the DUI laws of some states might not apply to private golf courses that aren’t open to the general public.

Golf Cart DUI Penalties

In terms of penalties, there’s normally no difference between a DUI in a golf cart and a DUI in a car. The range of penalties a convicted motorist faces depends on the number of prior DUI convictions he or she has and the circumstances of the case.

For a first conviction, a person might be looking at fines ranging from about $500 to $2,500, up to a year in jail (but usually no mandatory jail time), and a license suspension of six months to a year. And for a second or subsequent offense, the penalties are usually more severe and may include mandatory time in jail. Anyone caught with open alcoholic beverages in a golf cart might also get cited for an open container violation.

If you are seeking representation, give our office a call to schedule a confidential consultation with Skip Potter.

SOURCE: https://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/golf-cart-dui.htm

Facing Criminal Charges? - 8/3/2018

Even if you have not been charged and if you are being investigated, you must contact an attorney immediately. Do not delay! Otherwise, you will be giving up important rights.

If you have been charged with a crime, your life is on the line. You need an experienced lawyer with the knowledge and resources to defend your rights. Skip Potter has over 35 years of legal experience fighting for the rights of those charged with a crime. From defense of adults to juvenile criminal defense, Skip has the experience and has built a strong record of success throughout Northwest Ohio by providing each case with the attention it requires. His vast experience in cases ranging from Drug Trafficking to DUI enables him to put that experience to work for you.

Commonly known charges that our office has handled:

If you’ve been arrested on criminal charges, it’s essential to talk to an attorney about your case before talking to investigators. To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case, contact Skip Potter a criminal defense lawyer by calling (419) 353-7547.

 

Ohio BMV Point System - 8/1/2018

In Ohio, traffic offenses consist of both moving and non-moving violations, many of which carry demerit points. Ohio traffic offenses can range in degree from minor misdemeanors, carrying a maximum penalty of up to a $150 fine to first-degree misdemeanors, carrying up to six (6) months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Some offenses carry points on your traffic record and auto insurance, while others do not. On that note, some offenses carry driver’s license suspensions and others do not. Below is a list of some of the more common moving violations and the points they carry on your license.

Moving Violations – Points on Your Driver’s License

Six-Point Moving Violations

-Aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, or vehicular assault
-Willful fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer
-Failing to stop and disclose identity at scene of an accident
-Street racing
-Driving under a 12-point, OVI, or ALS suspension
-Operating under the influence of alcohol, drugs of abuse, or both (OVI / DUI)
-Unauthorized use of a motor vehicle
-Any felony motor vehicle violation, any felony committed in a motor vehicle

Four-Point Moving Violations

-Operation of a vehicle after underage consumption
-Operation in willful and wanton disregard of public safety of persons or property
-Exceeding speed limit by > 30 mph

Two-Point Moving Violations

-Exceeding speed limit of > 55 or higher by > 10 mph but < 30 mph
-Exceeding speed limit of < 55 or higher by > 5 mph but < 30 mph
-Operating a vehicle in violation of registrar’s license restriction
-ORC 4510.11, ORC 4510.111, ORC 4510.16, ORC 4510.21, or any DUS ordinance
-All other moving violations, except 4510.12, which is 0 points

 

If you have been charged with driving under suspension, you’re probably wondering what your options are. Skip Potter has over 35 years of experience handling these types of cases and winning optimal outcomes for our clients. Call our office today for a free consultation if you are seeking a defense lawyer. To contact us, call us at (419) 353-7547.

Common Misconceptions About Criminal Arrests in Ohio - 6/22/2018

When it comes to the law, there is perhaps no other area that is as widely misunderstood, misrepresented, and mythologized in popular culture quite like criminal law. Unfortunately, the popular depiction of police procedures, trials, and other facets of the criminal justice process have given rise to persistent legal misconceptions. While many of these popular misconceptions are benign, some are far from it. If relied upon, these myths can significantly damage your ability to protect yourself and your rights.

As with any discussion of legal issues, you need to consult a criminal defense lawyer if you ever need guidance regarding criminal law. A good understanding of basic legal concepts will always benefit you, but applying the concepts to your situation and individual needs is something you can only do if you receive guidance from a criminal defense attorney.

Misconception #1: You Have to Talk to the Police

If you choose to make a statement to the police or answer their questions, you have to be honest and cannot lie or mislead them, lest you be prosecuted for obstruction or similar crimes. However, refusing to answer questions or refusing to cooperate with an investigation is not the same as lying or misleading a criminal investigation, and does not rise to the level of obstruction.  As a rule, you are under no legal obligation to answer the questions asked to you by police or prosecutors, nor must you ever talk to the police if they want to talk to you.

All states have mandatory reporting laws that require some people (such as teachers, childcare providers, and medical professionals) to report suspected instances of child abuse or maltreatment to police or state officials. If you are obligated to report such suspected abuse and fail to do so, you can be charged with a crime. Furthermore, some states, such as Ohio, have laws that require you to report crimes.

Misconception #2: You Have the Right to a Phone Call

In general, if you are arrested, you have no recognized constitutional right to make a phone call. While the police are obligated to take certain actions, allowing you a phone call is not always one of them. However, in Ohio, we do have laws that specifically grant an arrestee the right to make a phone call, or at least the right to communicate with counsel or friends following a criminal arrest. In other states, procedures or rules adopted by county or municipal law enforcement agencies may afford arrestees the opportunity to make phone calls, even if there are no statewide laws that require them to do so.

Misconception #3: Cases Always Go to Trial

Criminal trials are dramatic, engaging, and incredibly popular subjects both for entertainment and news purposes. However, the trials that take place in the public eye and in popular entertainment can give the impression that most, if not all, criminal cases go to trial, and that all trials are long and complicated affairs.

The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved through plea bargain agreements between the prosecution and defense. The small number of cases that actually do make it to trial represent only a fraction of the total number of cases going on at any one time. Of those, only a fraction ever receive any significant media or popular attention.

In the End

If you rely on the popular depiction of the law and the criminal justice system, you may be at an even greater disadvantage.  Knowing your rights and obligations prior to making any decisions (or any potentially incriminating statements) is always in your best interests. Therefore, if faced with a situation in Ohio criminal law, always consult a criminal defense attorney or criminal law firm.

Verdict: Not Guilty - 6/8/2018

Operating a vehicle while intoxicated or OVI claimed 405 lives in the state of Ohio in 2017. There were about 279,000 enforcement stops, out of which there were about 10,000 OVI enforcement. Many of these have been attributed to teen drunk driving. This year there have already been 380 fatalities car crashes, 30% of which were OVI-related.

The Problem:

Over the years, OVI-related crashes and fatalities due to teen drunk driving have been on the rise in Ohio. Even though 10% of the licensed drivers are under 21, they account for over 13% of OVI-related fatalities. The Ohio DUI laws distinguish teen drunk driving as UDD (underage drinking and driving). The legal limit for blood alcohol level concentration (BAC) for drivers over 21 years is 0.08%, but a UDD can be triggered by a BAC of 0.02%. Penalties for 1st offense DUI can range from 3-6 days of jail time to a fine of $250 to $1000 and license suspension from 6 months to 3 years. A DUI conviction in an underage also carries 4 points on the driver’s record. A skilled DUI attorney can help provide the best defense against OVI. He/she will recognize the felony, charges and the penalties that come with teen drunk driving.   

Consultation:

Let’s consider that a public defender is also capable enough to handle DUI conviction and DUI defense. However, the best DUI lawyer knows about OVI and its related intricacies inside out. They will not only be able to assess the situation from the point of view of the traffic officials but also the judges. So which DUI defense lawyer gives the best results? Always go or the ones who not only have the most experience in OVI cases but also the rights and interests of the offender. The best DUI lawyer will take a critical but aggressive stance on teen drunk driving. One who is familiar with all facets of Ohio DUI laws. One who is presumably a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Ohio State Bar Association. A myriad of social and personal pressures can make a teen commit OVI. The DUI attorney would be aware and sympathetic towards that. The best lawyer would provide DUI defense against the Ohio DUI laws regardless of how dire the circumstances are.

Solution:

The case against drunk teen driving can be charged on several grounds; breath test, serum test, previous traffic and criminal records, the level of BAC, etc. The DUI attorney might appeal for a higher breath test. For a 1st offense DUI, the DUI attorney might appeal to the lack of prior OVI records and the level of alcohol in the bloodstream. To clarify, it is not illegal for an underage person to drink and drive. However, the level of BAC has to be lower than 0.02%. For a DUI conviction, the state would have to prove that the defender was impaired by the consumption of alcohol. Therefore, the best DUI attorney would first attack the results of the breath test. He/she will then question whether or not the defender was impaired by consumption of alcohol and whether the case even registers as an OVI by the Ohio DUI laws. 

The extra mile:

DUI conviction for teen drunk driving is a serious offence under the Ohio DUI laws. However, an expert DUI attorney has a number of tricks up his sleeve to help his/her client. They will do a thorough investigation and preparation to gather positive evidence to present at the hearing. They can call for motions to curb evidence from the state on grounds of deficiency in proof and reprehensible handling of field sobriety tests. If everything fails, the best DUI attorney can negotiate for a reduced sentence even in high tier blow, which signifies a BAC of over 0.17%.

Conclusion:

In short, the Ohio DUI laws are strict specially on teen drunk driving. But the best DUI attorney will always have a trick or two up his sleeve in order to protect his client. They are dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of their client, examining every piece of evidence that the state produces against the presumed innocent and prevent it from being used. They will burden the prosecution to have all charges dropped. But if the case is too severe, they will always be capable of settling a lesser sentence with the state. 

First-Offense OVI/DUI in Ohio - 6/1/2018

In Ohio, DUI (driving under the influence) is generally referred to as “OVI” (operating a vehicle under the influence). You can be convicted of OVI if you operate a vehicle:

  • with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more (or a urine alcohol concentration of .110 or more)
  • with a certain concentration of amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, LSD, marijuana, methamphetamine, or PCP in your body, or
  • while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two.

For purposes of the OVI statute, “under the influence” means the person’s ability to drive is impaired by alcohol or drugs.

(See our facebook page for the BAC chart for an estimate of how many drinks it takes to get to the legal limit.)

When you’re arrested for most crimes, you aren’t subject to penalties unless actually convicted of the offense (either by plea bargaining or conviction at trial). But if you’re lawfully arrested for OVI, there can be administrative consequences—such as license suspension and fees—regardless of whether you’re convicted of an OVI in criminal court. And if you are ultimately convicted of OVI, you’ll face additional criminal penalties.

This article discusses first-offense OVI penalties (also see second and third offense consequences). For most purposes, an OVI is considered a first offense if you haven’t had an OVI in the past ten years.

Administrative Penalties

The process. If you’re lawfully arrested for a first-offense OVI and chemical testing shows your BAC or urine alcohol concentrations exceed the legal limits—or if you refuse testing—the arresting agency will immediately confiscate your license, and you will be subject to an administrative license suspension from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). You have 30 days from your arraignment to challenge the suspension.

Over the legal limit. If your blood test shows a BAC of .08% or more, or your urine test shows an alcohol concentration of .110 or more, the BMV will suspend your license for one to three years. After a 15-day “hard suspension” you may be eligible for a restricted license (see specifics below).

Refusals. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test in violation of Ohio’s “implied consent” law, your license will automatically be suspended for one year. You may still be eligible for a restricted license, but your hard suspension will be for 30 days.

Restricted license. Once you complete the hard suspension period, you can apply to the court for a restricted license. The judge can—but isn’t required to—grant limited driving privileges with requirements that might include restricted hours, special offender license plates, and any other conditions the judge deems appropriate. The judge can also grant unlimited driving privileges if you agree to install an ignition interlock device .

Criminal Penalties

Penalties for a first OVI conviction in Ohio vary by degree of intoxication. For a “low level” OVI (BAC of less than .17%) you can be sentenced to:

  • a minimum three days in jail or mandatory attendance at a three-day Drivers Intervention Program
  • up to 5 years of probation
  • a fine from $375 to $1,075 and related fees, and
  • a court-imposed license suspension of one to three years.

You may be able to avoid some portion of Jail and license suspension by agreeing to use an ignition interlock device.

For a “high level” OVI—a BAC of .17% or higher or refusal of a chemical test—you can expect doubled jail time and mandated display of restricted license plates.

Getting Legal Help

Ohio’s DUI laws are complicated, and the facts of each case are different. If you’ve been arrested or charged for OVI, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area who can help you decide how best to proceed with your case. It’s never too late to contact an attorney. If you are seeking representation, contact Skip Potter for a consultation

SOURCE: https://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/ohio-first-offense-ovi-dui.htm

What Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony In Ohio? - 5/29/2018

 

In Ohio, criminal offenses are divided into Misdemeanors and Felonies based on their maximum potential punishment. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor in Ohio is up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Felonies have potential sentences that are far more severe and can result in imprisonment in the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

When charged with a crime, it makes a considerable difference whether the defendant is looking at misdemeanor or felony charges. This holds true in any state, and Ohio is no exception.

Felony charges carry a minimum sentence of a year in prison along with heavy fines. In contrast, for the most serious misdemeanor, the maximum sentence is a year in jail, not prison. Local governments and sheriffs run jails, which hold defendants waiting for trial or offenders convicted of misdemeanors. State and federal governments run prisons, which hold offenders convicted of felonies, ranging from violent crimes such as rape or murder to white-collar crimes like identity theft or embezzlement. Whenever a criminal defense lawyer can negotiate a plea that reduces charges from a felony to a misdemeanor, the defense crosses a milestone in handling the case.

Maximum sentences for misdemeanor offenses are set forth in R.C. 2929.24 and 2929.28.  You should check the current version of these sections for any changes.  However, the current maximum sentences for misdemeanors are as follows:

  • 1st Degree Misdemeanor Jail: 180 days maximum Fine: $1,000.00 maximum
  • 2nd Degree Misdemeanor Jail: 90 days maximum Fine: $750.00 maximum
  • 3rd Degree Misdemeanor Jail: 60 days maximum Fine: $500.00 maximum
  • 4th Degree Misdemeanor Jail 30 days maximum Fine: $250.00 maximum
  • Minor Misdemeanor  Jail: None allowed  Fine: $150.00 maximum

The classification of a charge as either a misdemeanor or felony also affects your right to a speedy trial. For example:

  • Minor misdemeanor – your speedy trial right is 30 days
  • 3rd or 4th degree misdemeanor – your right to a speedy trial is 45 days
  • 1st or 2nd degree misdemeanor – your right to a speedy trial is 90 days
  • Felony – your speedy trial right is 270 days

For the purpose of calculating whether your speedy trial rights have been violated, each day spent in jail counts as 3 days toward your speedy trial deadline.  Because your right to a speedy trial can be of critical strategic importance, you should never waive your right to a speedy trial without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

You are also entitled to a jury trial for both felony and misdemeanor offenses. However, if you are charged with a misdemeanor, you must immediately request a trial by jury in order to preserve your right.  If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense in Ohio, it is critical that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your right to a jury trial has been properly preserved.

If you are seeking an experienced criminal defense attorney and would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office to schedule an appointment

SOURCE: https://blogs.lawyers.com/attorney/criminal-law/the-difference-between-felonies-and-misdemeanors-in-ohio-16952/

What Happens If You Violate Your Probation? - 4/20/2018

What happens if you violate your probation?

In criminal cases, a judge will often grant probation, releasing a defendant convicted of a crime back into the community under certain restrictions. Conditions of probation can include drug testing, meeting with a probation officer, and electronic location monitoring — anything a judge deems reasonable and appropriate.

If you fail to adhere to those conditions, you could just get off with a slap on the wrist — or you could fare much worse. Here are five potential consequences of a probation violation:

  • A warning. Probation officers have broad discretion for punishing probation violators. If your violation is minor or merely technical or unintentional, then your probation officer may just issue a warning and put you on notice that any future violations will be punished more severely.
  • A probation hearing. If you have already received a warning or have a history of past violations, your probation officer may order a probation hearing. If the judge at the probation hearing finds that you violated your probation, he may add additional terms to your probation or revoke it altogether. 
  • Additional probation terms. If the judge finds that you have violated the rules of your probation, he may simply add additional requirements to your original probation or extend it for a longer period of time. Like probation officers, judges have discretion to consider the circumstances of your violation, past violations and other factors in determining the punishment for violating your probation.
  • Fines. In addition to or in lieu of additional probation terms, a judge may order you to pay fines, even if you’ve already paid fines as part of your original sentencing.
  • Jail or prison. The judge may also sentence you to serve time in jail or prison, depending on the severity of your original offense and the severity of your violation. Because of your violation, your sentence may end up being longer than you would have had to serve in the first place. In most states, just as with a criminal conviction, a revocation of probation can be appealed.

If you are concerned that you may have violated your probation, or if you’re facing a probation violation hearing, a criminal defense attorney may be able to help you stay out of jail. If you are seeking representation, contact us now and schedule a confidential consultation.

SOURCE: http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2014/05/what-happens-if-you-violate-your-probation.html

Possession of Marijuana and What to Expect - 4/13/2018

Possession of Marijuana

Being caught with marijuana in Ohio can be scary. Because marijuana laws vary greatly from state to state, you are probably unsure of what kind of punishment you will be facing. Anytime there is a potential for a jail sentence, you are entitled to feel frightened.

Many people get caught in possession of marijuana. It is one controlled substance that has a low risk for dependency and Ohio law treats it accordingly. If this is your first offense of this kind, you have little to worry about.

However, if this is your first time within the criminal court system, it is understandable that you would be stressed and worried about what the outcome may be. Your safest first move is to retain qualified counsel who can help you wade through the Ohio criminal courts system and come out with a positive outcome.

Marijuana Possession – Laws & Penalties

Possession of marijuana in Ohio has been decriminalized to a certain extent. This just means that for minor possession charges you will not be prosecuted aggressively, and won’t face harsh penalties.

If you are caught with less than 100 grams of marijuana, you will be cited with a “minor misdemeanor” and pay a fine of $100.

When you are caught with more than 100 grams, the offense becomes a criminal matter and you will face more serious charges.

100-200 grams 4th degree misdemeanor Up to 30 days in jail $250 in fines.
200-1,000 grams 5th degree felony 6 months to 1 year in prison and $2,500 in fines.
1,000- 5,000 grams 3rd degree felony 1-5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
5,000- 20,000 grams 3rd degree felony 1-5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
20,000 grams or more 2nd degree felony 2-8 years and up to $15,000 in fines.

Ref: ORC2925.11

Possession of drug paraphernalia associated with marijuana (pipes, water bongs) is a minor misdemeanor, as is possession of under 100 grams.

This passed as Senate Bill 337 and went into effect on Sept 28, 2012. Previously, this offense was a categorized as a fourth degree misdemeanor.

Ohio Marijuana Sale/ Delivery Laws & Penalties

If you are charged with attempting to sell or actually delivering marijuana, the penalties are raised. However, if the amount is less than 20 grams you will only face a minor misdemeanor charge and $100 fine.

However, if you are caught trying to deliver or sell any amount greater than 20 grams, you could be facing serious felony charges and a lengthy prison term.

Can I Avoid Harsh Penalties on a Marijuana Offense in Ohio?

Yes, in many cases you can. Ohio criminal courts are typically lenient on first time offenders and offer pre-trial diversion and other sentencing alternatives to qualified defendants. Call for a consultation on your marijuana charge so we can discuss the alternatives that may be available to you.

We have defended cases just like yours in Ohio. We know the courtroom players and have gained respect within the legal community. We can be your advocate in a system that can sometimes seem overwhelming. 

SOURCE: http://www.myohiodefenselawyer.com/criminal-charges/possession-marijuana/