March 22

Case Result: Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI) Reduced to Physical Control

October 2013 – Kettering Municipal Court

First time offender charged with Failure to Maintain Lanes, Seatbelt Violation, and Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI/DUI). Result: NO OVI Charge on client’s record. OVI reduced to a physical control violation, $200 fine, and 6 month driver licenses suspension with 60 hours per week of work privileges. Remaining two violations dismissed.

 

February 17

Juvenile Court Legal Options

Becoming involved in a Juvenile Court proceeding typically occurs in one of two ways.  The first and preferred method is by collaborating with an attorney to take deliberate and planned action toward a goal or set of goals.  The second is by surprise with realization occurring only when a subpoena or complaint is served by a police officer, process server, or arrives in the mail sent by the other parent, a family member, or a government agency.

Regardless of how involvement with the Juvenile Court began, it is important to know what type of case you’re dealing with and what legal options are available.  The best way to make these determinations is to consult an attorney directly.  The following looks at the various types of cases that a Juvenile Court typically handles starting with cases that do not involve a government agency.

Custody:

Juvenile Courts always consider the best interests of the child or children when making a determination as to Custody and Visitation.  For example, in Ohio, there is a presumption that Mothers are the legal custodians of any child they give birth to out of wedlock; however, due to extenuating circumstances, particularly when a child’s needs are not being met, custody could be changed from one parent to the other.  A custody or visitation filing can occur any time up until a child is eighteen or graduates from high school.  As with any legal matter, the facts of the case dictate the possible results.

Many parents also seek to work out Joint Custody or Shared Parenting Plans in which both parents share custody equally.  Courts are often times in favor of Joint Custody or Shared Parenting Plans as exposure to both parents is generally in the best interests of the child.  Joint Custody or Shared Parenting Plans can only be ordered if they are agreed upon by both parents.

Visitation:

Visitation is a relatively straightforward issue in the eyes of the court.  Every Juvenile Court has a Standard Order of Visitation.  The Standard Order of Visitation generally provides for the non-residential parent to have visitation every other weekend and Wednesday’s evenings.  It also governs Holidays and extended Spring Breaks on a rotating basis as well as Summer Visitation.  If there is no presently existing order for visitation, and if visitation is appropriate and in the best interests of the child, the non-residential payment is, under most circumstances, entitled to the Standard Order of Visitation.  The residential parent can contest visitation, but must show it is not in the best interests of the child or children.  Due to the presumption that the Mother is the legal custodian, a Father is at least entitled to a Standard Order of Visitation.  Of course a Mother is also at least entitled to a Standard Order of Visitation if the Father is the residential parent.  It is also possible for the Parents to agree on any visitation schedule that works for them.

Child Support:

The residential parent of a child is entitled to child support from the non-residential parent.  Issues of child support are often raised in tandem with custody and visitation issues.  Child support is determined by looking at a number of factors including but not limited to income, child care expenses, and number of children.

Contempt:

Once a Juvenile Court has issued an order with regards to custody, visitation, or child support, the Court expects that the order be adhered to and failure to do so can result in several consequences.  Consequences include fines, attorney’s fees, and in extreme cases jail time.  A contempt action can be an appropriate action to take if a party is not abiding by the order of the Court.

February 17

TEXTING WHILE DRIVING ILLEGAL IN OHIO

Effective August 31, 2012, Ohio became the 39th state to ban texting while driving by enacting Ohio Revised Code § 4511.204 and Ohio Revised Code § 4511.205.

Ohio Revised Code §4511.204 Driving while texting

R.C. § 4511.204 states, “no person shall drive a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar on any street, highway or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.” An “electronic wireless communications device” includes wireless telephones, text-messaging devices, personal digital assistants, computers, laptops, tablets, and, “any other substantially similar wireless device that is designed or used to communicate text.” Whoever violates this statute is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.

There are some interesting aspects of R.C. 4511.204, including that it is a secondary offense. Law enforcement officers cannot stop a vehicle for the sole purpose of determining whether R.C. 4511.204 has been violated. Officers must have a legitimate reason to stop the vehicle other than to determine whether the driver is texting. There are also ten exceptions to the statute which enumerate permissible uses of an electronic device. The most notable of the permissible uses are: use of a device for emergency purposes, the use of a device for navigation purposes, and the use of a device by an operator of public safety vehicle in the course of his or her duties.

Ohio Revised Code 4511.205 Use of devices by persons under 18 years of age

Ohio Revised Code § 4511.205 applies to the teenage portion of the population, and unlike the statute governing adults, a violation is a primary offense with harsher penalties. The statute provides that “no holder of a temporary instruction permit who has not attained the age of eighteen years and no holder of a probationary driver’s license shall drive a motor vehicle on any street, highway, or property used by the public for purposes of vehicular traffic or parking while using in any manner an electronic wireless communications device.” A first offense of this section results in a $150 fine and mandatory 60 day license suspension, while a second offense holds a $300 fine and a mandatory 1 year license suspension.