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Navigating the Complexities of Firearms Use While Intoxicated in Youngstown, OH

In Youngstown, wielding a weapon under the influence is against the law. Still, certain situations and defenses could play a pivotal role if you’re apprehended for such actions.

At Youngstown Criminal Law Group, we deeply value the constitutional right to bear arms. Yet, we’re acutely aware of the dangers posed when firearms are handled by individuals impaired by alcohol or drugs, risking harm or fatal outcomes to bystanders. Our approach is to examine your case without prejudice, aiming to resolve your weapons-related charges effectively.

Facing allegations of intoxicated weapon use? Our commitment is to safeguard your rights, liberty, and Second Amendment freedoms. Boasting several cases managed, our criminal defense Youngstown Criminal Law Group is recognized for its substantial track record in securing legal triumphs for those confronted with grave criminal accusations.

Our Youngstown Criminal Law Group’s Foundation of Success

Sean Logue, our Youngstown criminal lawyer, sets a high standard of excellence, reflected across our team of legal professionals.Your freedom and future shouldn’t be left to chance. If you’ve been caught using a weapon while under the influence, our Youngstown criminal  attorneys are here to assist. Contact Youngstown criminal lawyer today for a detailed discussion on your arrest, charges, or impending court appearance at (330) 992-3036.

Understanding Ohio’s Stance on Firearms Possession and Usage

Ohio’s laws on firearms and gun carrying are comparatively permissive. Authorized gun owners are allowed to visibly carry a loaded firearm, with or without a concealed handgun license.

However, to transport an unloaded firearm in a vehicle, you must possess a concealed carry license and adhere to these stipulations:

  • The firearm must be enclosed in a package, bag, box, or case
  • Located in a vehicle compartment requiring exit for access (e.g., the trunk)
  • The firearm is fastened in an observable manner

Purchasing a long gun is permissible at 18 years, while handguns require the buyer to be at least 21, with specific exceptions for hunting, marksmanship, and similar lawful activities, as per Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.21. Selling firearms to individuals not meeting these age criteria could result in a fifth-degree felony charge.

“Possessing Weapons Under Disability” Regulation

Under Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.13, individuals classified under the following conditions are legally restricted from owning or carrying firearms:

  • Fugitives from justice
  • Individuals convicted or charged with a violent felony
  • Individuals convicted or charged with a felony drug offense
  • Persons ruled as mentally incompetent, defective, or ill by court order
  • Individuals diagnosed with chronic drug dependence or alcoholism

Violations of this statute, including attempts to purchase, own, or carry a firearm, can lead to third-degree felony charges.

Understanding Drugs of Abuse and Firearm Use

In the state of Ohio, it’s against the law to operate a firearm while under the influence, whether it’s due to alcohol or what’s legally referred to as a “drug of abuse.” But what exactly falls under this category? The Ohio Revised Code § 4506.01 breaks it down into three main types:

A. Dangerous Drugs

These are medications that can impair your physical and/or mental abilities, including:

  • Prescribed medications that come with a U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warning.
  • Injectable medications not over-the-counter.
  • Schedule V controlled prescriptions, for example, anti-seizure medications.
  • Biological medications, like insulin.

B. Controlled Substances

The U.S. Department of Justice categorizes certain drugs as controlled substances, which include:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Morphine
  • Peyote
  • Methamphetamine
  • Adderall
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • LSD

C. Misused Over-the-Counter Medicines

Ohio law specifies that misuse of non-prescription drugs can also lead to charges if they impair your ability to safely use a weapon. Some over-the-counter drugs that can affect your state include:

  • Allergy medications
  • Cold medicines, particularly those that induce drowsiness
  • Caffeine pills or supplements
  • Sleep aids

Penalties for Firearms Use While Intoxicated

If found guilty of using a firearm under the influence, Ohio Revised Code § 2929.24 stipulates that individuals could face up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000 for a first-degree misdemeanor. Other consequences include:

  • Background checks: This misdemeanor conviction will show up on all background checks for things like concealed carry licenses, visas, and job applications.
  • Community service: Courts may require completion of service hours in addition to or instead of jail time.
  • Alcohol or drug dependency: Being adjudicated as dependent could lead to being declared ineligible to own a firearm.
  • Probation: Post-prison community control measures might be enforced.
  • Courts will consider if the convicted individual is a first-time or repeat offender.

A skilled Youngstown OVI attorney might challenge the prosecution’s evidence by claiming it was unlawfully obtained, known as an evidentiary defense. Procedural defenses, arguing the law was misapplied, might involve issues like undue trial delays.

Additionally, common law defenses may apply, suggesting that, despite breaking the law, the actions were justifiable or excusable, such as:


This argument claims weapon use while intoxicated was in response to immediate danger, supported by witness accounts or video evidence.

Defense of Another

This approach justifies intoxicated weapon use to prevent harm to another individual, whether a friend, family member, or stranger.

Necessity/Lesser Harm

Avoiding conviction might be possible if it’s proven the action prevented a greater harm, like disarming a threatening individual.

Excusable Conduct Defenses

These defenses argue it would be unjust to convict given the circumstances, including:

  • Mistake of Fact: Believing your actions were justified under the circumstances.
  • Involuntary Intoxication: Consuming drugs or alcohol without your consent.
  • Insanity: Not understanding your actions at the time due to a mental condition.
  • Duress: Being coerced into using or carrying a weapon while intoxicated to avoid personal harm.

Understanding Firearm Rights After a Conviction for Weapon Use Under the Influence in Youngstown, Ohio

Navigating the consequences of using weapons while under the influence can be complex, especially when it concerns your rights to firearm ownership in Youngstown, Ohio. This guide aims to simplify these regulations and provide you with the necessary resources to understand your position better.

The Impact of a Conviction on Firearm Ownership

Being found guilty of handling weapons while intoxicated typically results in a misdemeanor charge, not a felony. This distinction is crucial because a misdemeanor, by itself, often does not lead to the forfeiture of your firearm rights.

Key Considerations:

  • A felony charge, especially related to violent crimes, could significantly affect your ability to own or possess firearms. The law restricts firearm ownership for individuals such as ex-offenders, those with active arrest warrants, individuals classified as fugitives, and anyone previously convicted of a felony.
  • The state of Ohio may label you as disabled if you’re legally recognized as a chronic alcoholic, a habitual drug user, or if you have been diagnosed with significant mental health issues. However, participating in a drug treatment program doesn’t automatically disqualify you from owning guns.

A specialized Youngstown criminal attorney in gun-related offenses can offer guidance through Ohio’s legal intricacies.

Essential Resources for Weapon Use While Intoxicated in Youngstown

Understanding the legal landscape and finding support can make a significant difference in managing your situation. Here are some invaluable resources:

  • Public Health Reports Study: An analysis on how alcohol and firearm use intersect across the U.S.
  • Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (MHAS): Offers comprehensive support for Ohio residents dealing with mental health or addiction concerns.
  • Crime Victims Compensation: Provides assistance, including financial support, for crime victims through the Ohio Youngstown criminal attorney General’s office.
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources Hunter Safety: Mandatory education course for aspiring hunters in Ohio, necessary before obtaining a hunting license.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is weapon use while intoxicated considered a felony in Ohio?

  • In Ohio, this offense is treated as a first-degree misdemeanor, not a felony.

What are the penalties for a conviction?

  • Penalties can include up to one year in prison and fines reaching $1,000.

Are there defenses against these charges?

  • Yes, potential defenses might include self-defense or defense of another person, assuming there are no issues with how your arrest was conducted or the evidence against you.

What if I was involuntarily intoxicated?

  • Being unknowingly drugged can serve as a valid defense if you were carrying a firearm at the time.

Do I need a lawyer for a misdemeanor charge?

  • Considering the potential for a one-year prison sentence and other penalties that could affect your employment and travel rights, legal representation is advisable.

The Youngstown Criminal Law Group is committed to supporting individuals from various backgrounds facing legal challenges. With the Ohio Revised Code and the complexities of the criminal justice system in mind, it’s crucial to have experienced legal counsel by your side.

Our Youngstown criminal attorneys work diligently to negotiate with prosecutors, explore procedural or evidentiary defenses, and aim to mitigate the consequences of a conviction. Our goal is to safeguard your rights and work towards the most favorable outcome possible.

For a comprehensive consultation without obligation, contact the Youngstown Criminal Law Group today at (330) 992-3036. Our award-winning team is ready to defend your rights and guide you through the legal process.

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