FAQ - Improperly Handling Firearms in Columbus and Central Ohio
A: In Ohio, the crime of Improperly Handling Firearms generally is committed by transporting a firearm in an unlawful manner, discharging it from the vehicle, or possessing it in a motor vehicle while under the influence. This law is complicated, and there are many different ways a person can end-up charged with this offense.Q: What are the Most Common Types of Improperly Handling Firearms Charges in Ohio?
A: There are three common types of charges.
- Discharging a firearm while in a motor vehicle. This offense is categorized as a fourth-degree felony.
- Transporting a firearm unlawfully. If a firearm is transported in a motor vehicle, it must be transported in one of four acceptable ways to be lawful. If a firearm is transported unlawfully, this offense is categorized as a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
- Transporting or possessing a firearm in a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol/drug (or ‘over the limit’) for alcohol/drugs. This offense is applicable to drivers and passengers alike. This charge is a fifth-degree felony.
A: If an officer suspects a person in a vehicle, with a firearm, is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer will ask the person questions. This applies to drivers and passengers. The officer will likely then administer field sobriety tests, like the Walk And Turn and the One Leg Stand. The officer may administer a portable breath test at the scene. Later, the officer may conduct a stationary breath test or request a sample of the person’s blood or urine for forensic testing.Q: Can a Person Be Charged with Improperly Handling Firearms and OVI?
A: Yes. If an officer believes a driver had a loaded handgun in the vehicle and was under the influence or ‘over the limit’, the officer will likely charge with person with both offenses. Typically, the two offenses are completely separate cases. The OVI case is heard in a Municipal Court, and the Improperly Handling case is heard in a Common Pleas Court.Q: For Someone Who Holds a Concealed Handgun License, Are There Other Requirements?
A: Yes. A person who holds a concealed handgun license and possesses a loaded handgun must not knowingly do any of the following when stopped by an officer:
- Fail to quickly tell the officer about the CCW license and the loaded gun.
- Fail to remain in the vehicle.
- Fail to keep hands in plain sight unless otherwise directed by an officer.
- Touch the gun with fingers or hands unless otherwise directed by an officer.
- Disregard a lawful order of an officer.
A: Yes. The traditional defenses used in criminal cases are available for this offense. Additionally, Ohio law provides specific defenses to this offense, and a person charged with this offense can use the affirmative defenses from the law on Carrying a Concealed Weapon.Attorneys for Improperly Handling Firearms in Columbus and Central Ohio
The Dominy Law firm in Columbus, Ohio represents clients charged with Improperly Handling Firearms in Franklin County, Delaware County, and other central Ohio counties. To learn more about the Dominy Law Firm, please see this site’s ‘About Us’ page. You can also see what clients say about our firm’s representation on the ‘Client Reviews’ page. If you were charged with Improperly Handling Firearms in central Ohio and would like to discuss how our firm can help with your case, please call (614) 717-1177 or complete a CONTACT FORM to schedule a free phone consultation.