Cincinnati Possession of Criminal Tools Lawyer
Criminal Tools Charge in Cincinnati? We Can Help.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, as long as any substance, device, instrument, or article is intended to be used in a criminal act, it is considered a criminal tool. Seemingly innocuous objects like flashlights, cell phones, or even money, like this appeal, can be ruled criminal tools if a court determines they meet the required elements.
The flexibility in what might qualify as a criminal tool can ultimately benefit prosecutors in their case against you. They may use a possession of criminal tools charge to penalize you when other charges apply. Or you may face additional charges, such as a weapons crime, and prosecutors are looking to maximize your punishment.
No matter the case, a possession of criminal tools conviction is serious in Ohio, and the consequences are severe. You should know what to expect and seek an experienced Cincinnati criminal defense attorney with Luftman, Heck & Associates, LLP, to help guide and defend you.
What is a Possession of Criminal Tools Charge in Ohio? (ORC 2923.24)
Although there is a broad range of objects that can be considered criminal tools, prosecutors still need to prove the following elements apply for your case to have a criminal tools offense:
1. Substance, Device, Instrument, or Article
An object can be a criminal tool if it falls under any of these four descriptions: a substance, a device, an instrument, or an article. Essentially, it must be a tangible object.
For instance, a hammer could be considered a criminal tool, but a computer virus cannot, even if it fits the remaining elements.
2. Within Your Possession or Control
The object must also be within your control to be charged with possessing a criminal tool. This means the device was accessible to you, and you were aware of its existence through direct ownership or the ability to use it. For example, a gun in your bedroom is likely to be within your possession or control.
However, if a gun is hidden in a room you share with other people, a prosecutor may have difficulty proving you had possession or control of the tool, as it could be owned by someone else and unknown or inaccessible to you.
3. Intended for Criminal Purposes
Finally, establishing criminal intent is a necessary element for criminal tools offenses. Criminal intent means an object meant to be used in a criminal act. For anything to be considered a criminal tool, prosecutors must prove there was criminal intent “beyond a reasonable doubt,” even for inherently dangerous items like knives.
Exceptions: Dangerous Ordnances
However, it is essential to note that there are particular objects inherently assumed to have criminal intent. In these instances, prosecutors do not need to prove criminal intent, as it is already established.
These objects are called “Dangerous Ordnance” under the Ohio Revised Code. If a dangerous ordnance is the tool in question, you and your criminal defense attorney then have the burden of proof to show it was not intended for illegal purposes.
Dangerous ordnances include but are not limited to:
- High explosives, such as TNT
- Sawed-off firearms, zip guns, or ballistic knives
- Firearm mufflers or suppressors
- Military weapons with ammunition
- Blasting agents, such as dynamite
Penalties and Jail Time for Possession of Criminal Tools in Ohio
If you are convicted of possessing criminal tools, you will most likely be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This entails up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
If you are convicted of possession of criminal tools and the circumstances indicate that the criminal tool was intended to commit a felony, then you will be charged with a fifth-degree felony. This involves at least six months and up to one year in jail in addition to fines of up to $2,500.
Additional Consequences of Possession of Criminal Tools
In addition to extensive prison time and hefty fines, a possession of criminal tools conviction will undoubtedly negatively impact other areas of your life. You may face difficulty keeping or finding a job, furthering your education, obtaining loans, maintaining professional licensures, and keeping custody of your children.
The sooner you speak with an attorney, the better your options will be regarding your sentence. The Cincinnati Criminal Defense team has successfully defended hundreds of individuals charged with possession of criminal tools. Their knowledge, experience, and compassion for your case will help you receive the justice you deserve.
How to Defend Against Possession of Criminal Tools Charges in Ohio
There are multiple routes you can take to help defend yourself against the consequences of the possession of criminal tools charge. Your lawyer will remain highly dedicated to collecting evidence and thoroughly investigating your case. Together, you can determine the best plan to secure your freedom. Potential arguments include the following:
Fourth Amendment Violation
The Fourth Amendment protects you against unreasonable search and seizure. If the police conducted a search and seizure without a warrant, probable cause, or other necessary precautions, it is almost always considered unreasonable and a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights.
Any evidence taken from an unreasonable search and seizure is thereby excluded from your case. This can serve as a significant advantage if your possession of criminal tools charge relies on evidence that gets omitted.
In Ohio, there are laws in place to prevent over-sentencing and ensure a punishment reasonably reflects the crime. Two charges will be reduced to a singular charge if one directly correlates with the other. The remaining charge will be the more severe of the two.
For example, if a criminal tool was a crucial weapon in an assault case, you can be charged with assault rather than assault and possessing criminal tools. Stacked or redundant charges can be argued against in your defense, which might result in a possession of criminal tools charge being eliminated.
Perhaps a prosecutor cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt that your case meets every element of a criminal tools offense. Your case might be missing an element entirely, or their evidence for an element might be insubstantial and easily challenged.
With criminal intent in particular, your lawyer can challenge prosecution by simply showing how the object served another purpose outside a criminal act. In your defense, If you can successfully prove there’s a missing element, the possessing criminal tools charge can be invalidated.
Call Our Cincinnati Possession of Criminal Tools Lawyer Today
Criminal charges can be an overwhelming and frightening experience. You might be anxious about your freedoms and privileges being at stake and have many questions. You can rest assured because the Cincinnati Criminal Defense team is here for you.