What happens if I’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence?

What happens if I’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence?

According to the CDC**, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience some form of physical violence by their partner at some point during their lifetimes. About 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experience sexual violence during their lifetimes.

Note: This article has no intention of dismaying or minimizing the serious nature of valid domestic violence charges, nor undermining the suffering of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). It is intended to raise awareness and address the plight of the falsely accused.

Domestic Violence extends beyond physical harm.

Charges can result from physical, emotional, sexual, financial, mental or psychological, destruction of personal property, stalking, and cyberbullying. Whether the charges are misdemeanors or felonies depends on the allegations, the age of the individuals, and whether there were weapons involved.

Under duress, it is not uncommon for one party to call the police and fabricate a story in order to end a heated argument, retaliate, or try to gain an edge in pending child custody hearings. Once the charges are filed, they can not easily be retracted (dropped), and can adversely affect the life and future of the accused. The decision to go forward with charges is completely up to the State Prosecutor on the case.

Is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

Domestic Violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the seriousness of the charge, and both are separated into degrees, First Degree being the most serious. For an offense that has caused physical harm to the alleged victim, a defendant can be charged with anything from a 1st-degree misdemeanor to a 3rd-degree felony. The threat of physical harm against an alleged victim can result in being charged with anything from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree misdemeanor.

What are the Penalties of Domestic Violence in Ohio?

  • 1st-degree misdemeanor – up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1000
  • 2nd-degree misdemeanor – up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $750
  • 3rd-degree misdemeanor – up to 60 days in jail and fines up to $500
  • 5th-degree felony – 6-12 months in prison and fines up to $2500
  • 4th-degree felony – 6-18 months in prison and fines up to $5000
  • 3rd-degree felony – 9 months -3 years in prison and fines up to $10,000

If the victim was pregnant at the time of the offense – minimum 6 months-1 year in prison
*depending on the severity of the incident

Hire an Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Attorney Nathan Akamine is an experienced criminal defense lawyer that will work to dismiss or lessen the charges against you. As a private practice litigator and former Franklin County Prosecutor, he knows how to mitigate your charges and will personally work with you from start to finish.

** https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/fastfact.html

Should Vehicle Searches Based on Odor Be Allowed?

Should Vehicle Searches Based on Odor Be Allowed?

We all had a scratch and sniff book growing up. We would marvel at how accurately the artificial scent matched the real thing. But there are legal consequences to an officer detecting an odor of marijuana. If an officer smells cannabis coming from your car, everything and everyone in your vehicle can be searched.

This is because the odor of cannabis supposedly provides an officer probable cause that there is illegal marijuana in the car. Probable cause tends to be a touchy subject. When the law says that a police officer has “probable cause,” what it means is that the officer has reason to believe there is “a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.”

But, times are changing. There’s legal marijuana now, hemp, CBD infused everything.

Well, legal hemp and legal marijuana smell exactly like illegal marijuana. So, should the odor of cannabis still provide “probable cause” to search a vehicle? It seems that this position needs to give a little.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a hypothetical. Let’s say you’re stopped for not having your headlights on. When the officer comes to your window, he claims that he smells the odor of cannabis. Based on this, he searches both you and the car. Nothing is found on you, but inside your car, he finds a bag of weed and a pill bottle with some other illegal drug. You end up facing drug charges, or even marijuana dui charges.

Related article: Can someone get a DUI for using CBD oil?

In theory, we could file a Motion to Suppress all the evidence found in the car, arguing that the officer didn’t have probable cause to search because the scent of marijuana could have been from a perfectly legal substance.

Effective July 30, 2019, Senate Bill 1020 (the “Hemp” Bill) makes the cannabis plant legal in the State of Ohio. This creates a problem for law enforcement because the plant is exactly the same as a marijuana plant, however, it is used for the THC content only. So not only does it smell like fresh illegal cannabis, it looks exactly like illegal marijuana. In fact, it takes a lab test to sort out the difference.

So the question remains, is there still “a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found?”

Most states have made medical marijuana legal, but still permit a search of a vehicle based upon the odor of cannabis, but I’m not convinced that the odor of cannabis will always provide probable cause for a search.

For another hypothetical, let’s say you have a bunch of cars parked outside of a legal medical marijuana dispensary. Let’s say law enforcement waits until a patient pulls out of the dispensary parking lot, then pulls the car over. The officer searches the car based upon the odor of fresh cannabis. Does this still qualify a legal search?

A change in the probable cause policy is sure to be re-evaluated in the future, but till then, if you’ve been charged with possession of illegal drugs, I’m here to help.

Call Nathan Akamine.

5 Things not to do when facing assault charges

5 Things not to do when facing assault charges

You may not have intended to get involved in a fight, but one thing led to another and you ended up getting into a violent altercation and the police got involved. Now, you’re facing assault charges and you’re not sure where to turn, and making the wrong choices can be detrimental to your case. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common mistakes that people make when they’re facing an assault charge.

Talking to Police.

Law enforcement officers are trained to manipulate you to get what they want, this includes using evidence against you. Let’s say you’ve been involved in a fight and the police are called. They may take you aside, hand you an ice pack for your swollen knuckles, tell you the other guy is clearly at fault and ask you for your side of the story.

It’s human nature to want to explain yourself and tell your side, so you do. At that point, the police arrest you, put you in handcuffs, and charge you with assault. An unfair but legal action, and also possibly avoidable. You’ve heard of your Miranda Rights. They begin with “You have the right to remain silent”. That’s not just for after you’ve been arrested. In most cases, you don’t have to speak to the police…ever. Exercise this right and stay silent until you speak with an attorney.

Talking to other people about the assault.

Being involved in a fight can be traumatic, and again, it’s natural to want to talk about what happened or ask for advice. Just like talking to the police can hurt you, so can talking to other people, including those closest to you like siblings and parents. It’s in your best interest to not discuss the incident with anyone other than your lawyer.

Posting about what happened on social media.

Social media is a place to share details about your life, your family, and your job, but there is such a thing as oversharing. Never post about an incident online when you’re facing charges, even if it’s to publicly claim your innocence. I can’t stress this enough. Prosecutors love blowing up huge images and Tweets for the benefit of the jury and using your words against you. So don’t post anything, not even a fist emoji. It can be taken out of context and turned around to hurt you.

Contacting the other person or persons involved in the assault.

Maybe you want to apologize or clear the air, especially if the alleged victim was a friend. Regardless of the reason, do not do it. Anything you say may be used against you in court. Even if your intentions were good.

There are lots of things you can do that will hurt your case, but there are also things you can do to improve your situation. Give yourself the best chances of putting this behind you. Call defense attorney Nathan Akamine to schedule a free legal consultation!

Can someone get a DUI for using CBD oil?

Can someone get a DUI for using CBD oil?

Although CBD products are advertised as being very low in THC (the compound in marijuana that gets you high), when it comes to regulation things get complicated. That means the CBD oil you bought could contain more THC than you expect. In fact, it may be enough to be detectable in a blood test, urine test, or enough to impair you.

In Ohio, you can be convicted of operating a vehicle impaired (OVI) for having any detectable amount of THC in your system. The State doesn’t have to prove that you were actually impaired by the drug, only that you had a prohibited amount in your system while driving.

That means it’s extremely important to choose CBD products that contain very little THC. Unfortunately, that is a difficult task.

CBD products vary greatly in potency.

A 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that over two-thirds of CBD products tested were mislabeled. Many contained a different amount of CBD than was listed on the label, and some, none at all. In fact, 18 of 84 samples tested had a great deal more THC than the federal limit of 0.3%. Others contained contaminants ranging from synthetic marijuana, cough medicine, and dangerous synthetics.

The FDA has sent warning letters to companies whose CBD products were found to contain different levels than claimed. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission has been sanctioning companies for making unproven health claims about CBD, but other than that, there is not much in the way of regulation.

Quest Diagnostics is the U.S.’s largest administrator of drug tests. According to the Senior Director of Science and Technology at Quest, most drug tests are not designed to catch CBD users. Instead, the tests are looking for a compound that the body produces when metabolizing THC.

However, the problem may be bigger than mislabeling. Even if you’re using CBD products that do fall under the 0.3% THC limit, metabolites can gradually build up in your body until it becomes detectable via a drug test.

This is why it’s important to only buy CBD products from manufacturers who can provide a certificate of analysis (COA) for their products. The COA should list results of a company test for THC, CBD, and contaminants.

What can you do if you are charged with an OVI?

If you’re arrested for OVI due to CBD use, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. At Akamine Law, we will fight to protect the rights of people who are facing OVI charges.

Contact our Columbus office now to schedule your free consultation.