If you are charged with a Columbus, Ohio gun crime, you are probably aware of how complicated these cases can become. There are very specific definitions involving unlawful possession, usage, and related firearm offenses. Also, depending on the details, felony or misdemeanor charges may apply. In these gun cases, your sentence if convicted could mean incarceration, fines, and other penalties.
It’s easy to get confused about Ohio gun crimes, which is why you should trust a knowledgeable lawyer to protect your rights. At Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP, our Columbus criminal defense attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the firearm laws.
You might also benefit from reviewing some common firearms charges, which generally fall into two groups.
Columbus, Ohio Gun Crimes – Based Upon Status
This first category of firearms offenses relates to who or where you are when you have a gun in your possession.
Carrying Concealed Weapons
It’s a criminal offense to have a firearm on your person unless you have a permit for concealed carry issued by Ohio officials. In addition, the law only allows possession of handguns as defined by the statute.
Carrying any other type of deadly weapon, even with the proper permit, could lead to charges. You’ll face a First Degree Misdemeanor in most cases. This may include a sentence of 180 days in custody, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.
As a Prohibited Person
Ohio’s law on Having Weapons While Under Disability is directed at those who are not allowed to possess a firearm because of certain characteristics. You’re could be arrested for having a gun if:
- You’ve been arrested, are under indictment, or were convicted of a violent felony or felony drug offense;
You were processed through the juvenile system for an offense that would have been a violent felony or felony drug crime if you were an adult at the time;
- You’re addicted to drugs or alcohol; or,
- You’ve been adjudicated as having certain mental issues as designated by law.
This is a Third Degree Felony. You could be sentenced to up to 36 months and a fine up to $10,000.
Possession in Ohio Gun-Free Zones
This offense is based upon where you’re carrying a gun instead of who you are. Regardless of whether you have a concealed carry permit, you cannot be in possession of a firearm:
- In a courthouse;
- Within a school safety zones; and,
- At a bar or establishment with a liquor license.
For a first offense, you’re usually charged with a Fifth Degree Felony. If convicted, you could face six months to one year incarceration, plus a $2,500 fine.
Columbus, Ohio Gun Crimes – Illegal Usage
There are also Ohio gun laws that prohibit certain activities.
Firing a Gun Where Prohibited by Law
It’s against Ohio law to engage a firearm at or into a residence, school safety zone, or public roadway. Unless it’s your own property, it is also prohibited to fire adjacent to schools, churches, and structures with people within them.
The offense ranges from a Fourth Degree Misdemeanor to a Second Degree Felony depending on the circumstances.
Guns in Motor Vehicles
The statute on Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle makes it unlawful to engage certain actions while in a car as driver or passenger. For example, you could face Fourth Degree Felony charges for:
- Firing a gun from the vehicle;
- Transporting or possessing a loaded gun that’s accessible to any occupant; and,
- Transporting a firearm that is NOT in a closed compartment that can only be reached by stopping and exiting the vehicle.
Use of a Gun in Commission of a Crime
Though not a separate gun offense, the charges will be enhanced if you used a firearm when committing another crime. According to Ohio Incident-Based Reporting System data for 2010-2011, the most common offenses and their respective percentages of all firearm-related crimes are:
- Robbery, 37.2%
- Aggravated Assault, 17.1%
- Intimidation, 5.6%
- Burglary or Home Invasion 2.2%
- Murder 1.9%
The penalties for a conviction vary according to the underlying crime, surrounding circumstances, your criminal history, and many other factors. However, there are mandatory enhancements when the offense involves use of a firearm. Your sentence could increase by 1-7 years for possessing, brandishing, or firing a gun during commission of a felony.
Set Up a Free Consultation with Our Gun Crime Attorneys
Your rights and personal freedoms are at stake, so trust the team at Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP to defend your interests. To learn more about how we can help if you’re charged with a in a firearms-related crime, please call (614) 500-3836.
We can schedule a no-cost consultation to review your circumstances and what we can do for you.