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Cleveland Criminal Law Blog

What are the three standard field sobriety tests?

When a motorist in Ohio is pulled over by police on suspicion of drunk driving, he or she may be asked to perform a field sobriety test. Unfortunately, these tests can be difficult to pass, even if a driver is sober, much less when he or she is under the stress of being pulled over. It is important to know what to expect.

There are three government-standardized field sobriety tests: the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. In the one-leg stand, the motorist will stand with one foot around six inches in the air, and will then count for half a minute. If the motorist sways, hops or has trouble balancing, he or she will not pass.

Cleveland police pursuing on-line scammer

The internet has become one of the most useful and familiar features of daily life for many Clevelanders, but it has also become the tool of choice for many persons who use it to commit fraud. In fact, internet fraud has become perhaps the newest form of white collar crime. A string of complaints to the Cleveland police department's financial crimes unit illustrates, yet another use of the internet to steal money.

The callers told police the same basic story. Each of them had responded to a Facebook page offering deep discounts on toddler and baby items. Unfortunately, the person who set up the Facebook page accepted payment, but never delivered the goods.

Police charge brother and sister with 16 armed robberies

Investigators from police departments recently cooperated in identifying two suspects in connection with a string of armed robberies in Northeast Ohio communities. The individuals are alleged to be brother and sister, and they now face charges for violent crimes.

A grand jury returned a 99-count indictment, commencing with an armed robbery on April 29 at CVS and ending on June 28 at a Speedway convenience store in Maple Heights. In all, the spree comprises 16 robberies.

Two women charged with embezzling $300,000 in grants

A woman formerly employed by MetroHealth and a female friend have been indicted for allegedly embezzling almost $300,000 from various grants awarded by Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. The grand jury handed in a 71-count indictment charging the two women with aggravated theft, money laundering and numerous counts of telecommunications fraud.

The indictment alleges that the former MetroHealth employee supervised the spending of grant money received by the system. She previously worked for Case Western in an analogous job and was able to learn details of the grant-making and administration process. She and a friend allegedly set up a shell corporation in 2013 that was used to submit fraudulent invoices for grant research to Case Western. None of the invoiced work was ever performed.

DUI arrest may lead to homicide charge

As most Ohioans realize, drunk driving is a crime that is punishable by a range of penalties that depend upon the driver's prior driving record. What is not always so obvious is how quickly a drunk driving incident can be converted into a far more serious crime. This phenomenon was demonstrated over the Fourth of July weekend in Malvern when a driver lost control of his car and plowed into three girls who were standing on the sidewalk.

According to police, the driver was intoxicated and lost control of his vehicle. The car climbed the curb and hit a sixteen-year-old girl and two younger girls. The sixteen-year-old was killed by the impact, and the two younger girls were seriously injured. Police at the scene said that the driver appeared to be drunk. He was arrested and charged with drunk driving and culpable homicide. The medical condition of the two young girls was not disclosed.

Drunk driving stop ends with additional charges

Alcohol can alter a person's mental state, and it can also cause a routine stop for suspected drunk driving escalating into other, more serious crimes. A recent drunk driving incident in the Cleveland suburb of Broadview Heights clearly demonstrates how this phenomenon occurs.

On the evening in question, police received a call from a local bar. The caller was a woman who described how she attempted to prevent another woman, presumably a friend, from driving drunk. The caller said that her friend had refused advice to avoid driving because she was drunk. The drunk woman refused the advice, and the caller then sat in the front seat in the car. The driver became angry and punched the woman before driving off. A police officer spotted the woman's car as it was weaving down Broadview Road. The officer approached the car after it entered a parking lot. The allegedly drunk woman told the officer that she was going to meet her boyfriend, who was sober and would drive her home.

What does 'implied consent' mean in Ohio?

Ohio drivers frequently hear the term "implied consent," but few have a proper understanding of the term. Because the term is poorly understood, people frequently make the wrong choice when asked to undergo a test to determine whether they have operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving can be a serious crime in Ohio, and the implied consent law is one method of enabling police to enforce the law.

In passing the implied consent law, the Ohio legislature decreed that "any person who operates a vehicle" upon a public highway shall "be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test" to measure the percentage of alcohol or drugs in a person's blood stream. The measurement is known as the blood alcohol content. Consent to the test is implied from the person's choice to operate a motor vehicle. A person can be asked to submit to such a test by any police officer who has "reasonable grounds" to believe that the person was operating a vehicle while intoxicated. If the person submits to the test, the results can generally be admitted into evidence to prove that the defendant was intoxicated.

Police search for man accused of armed robbery and assault

People who are confronted with accusations of robbery, violence and other allegations in Cleveland must be fully aware of their rights to lodge a defense. This is true regardless of the charges. In fact, those who have been arrested or being sought for violent crimes should be exceedingly cognizant of the essential nature of planning a strong defense because of the harshness of the penalties in the event of a conviction. There can be a long prison sentence, significant fines and other punishments that can affect a person's life for a long time, if not forever.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of a 30-year-old man accused of taking part in a robbery and carjacking. The incident occurred in late-May and the man has not yet been found. According to law enforcement, at approximately 11 p.m., two men were entering their vehicle - a 2003 Nissan Altima - when they were confronted by a man who had a gun.

When can law enforcement legally enter your home?

Many people are under the impression that law enforcement can only enter their home with a properly executed search warrant. In reality, however, there are many situations in which law enforcement can enter your home without a warrant.

The most common means of entry into a residence is typically an invitation. The cops show up knocking on your door, needing to ask you a few questions. You, assuming the best about other people, decide to let them inside. Unfortunately, when that happens, they can generally look around and try to find a reason to continue searching your home for evidence.

How is possession of drug paraphernalia determined?

Ohioans who are arrested for drug offenses do not necessarily have to have the actual drug on them to face charges. They can also face legal issues because of the possession of drug paraphernalia. Many of the items that are used in conjunction with drugs are of the basic household variety for which there is a perfectly rational explanation for having them. Understanding how law enforcement and the courts can determine whether an item is classified as drug paraphernalia can be the key to a case and lodging a successful defense when placed under arrest.

The officer or the court will assess any statement that was made by an owner or anyone who was in control of the material, equipment or product as to how it is used. The location of the items or that act that was linked to it and whether that was a violation of the drug laws will be considered. The proximity of the item to the controlled substance will play a role. The equipment will be tested to see if there is residue of a controlled substance and a determination can be made based on that.

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