OVI / DUI & Improperly Handling Firearms In Ohio
When a driver in Ohio has contact with a law enforcement officer, the interaction between the officer and the driver may lead the officer to suspect the driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The officer then typically administers field sobriety tests which may result in the driver’s arrest for DUI (referred to as ‘OVI’ in Ohio). If, during the course of the investigation, the officer discovers there is a loaded handgun in the vehicle, the officer may charge the driver with Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle. The driver will then have two separate charges and will have to decide what to do: whether to contest the cases and whether to hire an Ohio lawyer for the charges of DUI / OVI and Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle.What to do When Facing These Charges
When facing charges of Improperly Handling Firearms and DUI / OVI, the first thing to do is learn about the situation. You should understand the court process, what the prosecution must prove, and the possible sentences. You should also be familiar with the defense strategies for these types of cases and the criteria for evaluating attorneys. As the charges depend on proof of DUI / OVI, other pages of this website will be helpful, as they explain many aspects of DUI / OVI defense.The Court Process for These Types of Charges
In this situation, the driver faces two separate charges. One of those charges, DUI / OVI, is a misdemeanor. The other charge, Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle, is a felony. The DUI / OVI charge can be filed on a traffic ticket in a Municipal Court. The Improper Handling charge ultimately must be filed by way of indictment in a Common Pleas Court.
In some instances, both charges are filed together in a Common Pleas Court. If that happens, the two charges will proceed through court as one case. In other instances, the charges are filed separately, in different courts, as two separate cases. If the charges are filed separately, each charge goes through the court process independently. This website has two separate pages explaining the court process for criminal cases and DUI / OVI cases.What the Prosecution Must Prove for These Charges
The proof required for DUI / OVI cases is explained thoroughly in other pages of this website. For Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle, the prosecution must prove the driver knowingly transported or possessed a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle and either:
- The driver was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of possessing or transporting the loaded firearm; or
- The driver’s blood, breath or urine contained a prohibited level of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of possessing or transporting the loaded firearm.
A passenger may be charged with Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle, but the passenger would not be charged with DUI / OVI.Sentencing for Improperly Handling Firearms & DUI/OVI
If the loaded handgun was in the vehicle but not concealed on the driver’s person, this type of Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle is categorized as a fifth-degree felony. The potential sentence includes incarceration for up to 12 months, a fine up to $2,500, and probation (also called ‘community control’) for up to five years. If the loaded handgun was concealed on the driver’s person, this charge is a fourth-degree felony, so the potential term of incarceration is 18 months, and the potential fine is up to $5,000. A charge of Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle also involves a potential suspension of the driver’s concealed handgun license.
DUI / OVI is categorized as a first-degree misdemeanor. For a first offense within ten years, there is jail term from three days to 180 days, a fine from $375 to $1,075, a driver license suspension from one year to three years, and up to five years of probation (community control). For additional DUI / OVI convictions within ten years, the penalties increase. The penalties for DUI / OVI are discussed in additional pages of this website.Representation for These Charges
The lawyers at the Dominy Law Firm represent clients for DUI / OVI and Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle. We understand the charges, the sentencing, and the court process. We also have effective strategies for defending clients against these charges. If you are charged with these offenses in Columbus or the Central Ohio area, we can help. To schedule a free phone consultation to discuss our representation, please submit a CONTACT FORM or call our office at 614-717-1177.