FAQ – Improperly Handling Firearms and DUI/OVI in Columbus & Central Ohio
A: These charges typically arise from a traffic stop. If an officer stops a vehicle and suspects the driver is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, the officer will investigate the driver for DUI (called ‘OVI’ in Ohio). If, during the investigation, the officer concludes the driver is OVI and finds a loaded handgun in the vehicle, the officer charges the driver with Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle. The officer may also charge the driver with OVI.Q: What Is the Court Process for Charges of Improperly Handling Firearms and OVI?
A: The process depends on whether the charges are filed together or separately.
If the charges are being filed together, the officer submits an investigation packet to the county prosecutor’s office, and the county prosecutor takes the case to a grand jury. If the grand jury finds there is probable cause to believe the driver committed the offenses, an indictment is issued. The indictment is served on the driver, and the driver appears in the Common Pleas court for both charges.
If the charges are being filed separately, the above process is followed for the charge of Improperly Handling Firearms, and a traffic ticket is filed for OVI in the Municipal Court. The driver then has two separate cases: Improperly Handling Firearms in the Common Pleas Court, and OVI in the Municipal Court.Q: What Does the Prosecution Need to Prove for Improperly Handling Firearms Based on OVI?
A: To convict a driver (or passenger) of this type of Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle, the prosecution needs to prove the person knowingly possessed or transported a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle and the person was either ‘under the influence’ of alcohol/drugs or had a prohibited concentration of alcohol/drugs in the person’s body at the time.Q: What Is the Sentence for Improperly Handling Firearms Based on OVI?
A: The possible sentence depends on whether the handgun is concealed on the person. If the handgun is not concealed, this offense is a fifth-degree felony, so the maximum prison term is 12 months, and the maximum fine is $2,500. If the handgun is concealed, this offense is a fourth-degree felony, so the maximum prison term is 18 months, and the maximum fine is $5,000. For both offenses, there is also the possibility of probation (‘community control’) for up to five years and the suspension of the driver’s license to carry a concealed handgun.Q: Can a Person Be Sentenced for Both Improperly Handling Firearms and OVI?
A: Yes. A person can be sentenced for both offenses. The sentence for OVI depends on how many times the person has previously been convicted of OVI in the past ten years and the past 20 years. The OVI sentence is progressively tougher with each conviction. For a first offense within ten years, the sentence includes a jail term of three days to 180 days, a driver license suspension for one year to three years, a fine of $375 to $1,075, and probation (‘community control’) for up to five years.Attorneys For Improperly Handling Firearms & DUI / OVI in Columbus and Central Ohio
The Dominy Law Firm has attorneys with experience representing clients for Improperly Handling Firearms and OVI. If you were charged with Improperly Handling Firearms based on being ‘under the influence’, we can help. If you would like additional information about the Dominy Law Firm, please see the About Us page of this site. If you would like discuss your case, please submit a CONTACT FORM or call 614-717-1177 to arrange a free phone consultation.