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Troy Ohio Law Blog

What defendants should know about plea bargains

For Ohio residents facing a criminal prosecution, a plea bargain may be a simple, inexpensive and relatively stress-free way to avoid having to go to trial and facing possible conviction by a jury. However, as FindLaw points out, before entering into a plea bargain, criminal defendants should discuss this option in detail with their attorneys and understand exactly what it entails. The consequences could impact them for many years to come.

The American Bar Association advises that plea bargains traditionally have been private negotiations between the prosecutor and the defendant’s attorney. This is slowly changing as some states, including Ohio, have begun to allow victim rights organizations to have input into the process.

Can an online prank send me to jail?

When you get online, it can be easy to forget that your interactions with others involve real people. This is especially true when the atmosphere is contentious or emotionally charged, such as a political discussion or a computer game involving multiple players. While it is unlikely that you and other Ohio residents might take an online dispute to the next level, the chance exists that your actions online might be construed as criminal activity.

One recent example you may have heard about was an incident in which a man from Los Angeles, California, allegedly instigated an online prank called “swatting,” which culminated in an innocent man’s death. ABC News reported that after an argument over an online game, a player asked the California man to “swat” another player from Wichita, Kansas. The man, who was known in the gaming community for playing such pranks on others, called authorities and made a report that the Kansas man was holding family members hostage in a violent situation. The man was fatally shot when officers went to his home and mistakenly thought he was reaching for a weapon.

Traumatic brain injury: know the signs

Even when Ohio drivers approach the road defensively while paying careful attention to the highway and to other motorists, collisions still happen. The jolting crash of metal against metal catches individuals off guard, jarring them at unnatural angles that break bones and strain soft tissues. Attorneys at Lopez, Severt & Pratt Co., L.P.A. have assisted numerous car accident victims in navigating the process of settling claims related to collisions.

The Mayo Clinic provides insight into the kinds of injuries motor vehicle accidents cause, noting traumatic brain injury is one of the most common. If you have been in a car accident, it is important to pay attention to the symptoms you experience in the days that follow. Signs of TBI can include headaches, excessive sleep, balance problems and sensitivity to light and sound. 

Weather appears to be a factor in recent OH Turnpike crashes

As most people in northern states are aware, winter is one of the most dangerous times of the year to drive. This is particularly true in Ohio, where freezing temperatures and devastating snow or ice storms combine with heavy traffic and slippery road conditions. Not surprisingly, the results can be deadly.

In a recent example, authorities reported numerous accidents on the Ohio Turnpike that snarled traffic for several hours. It was unknown whether there were injuries, as well as which factors contributed to the crashes. However, a video that was attached to the news article showed snowy conditions and wet roads, which might have created dangerous conditions on the highway.

How college can factor into a divorce (or marriage) decision

If you are considering divorce and have a child due to enroll in college in the next couple of years, it may be best to move forward with the divorce plans sooner rather than later. On the other hand, if you are thinking about marrying (or remarrying), then it could make financial sense to wait.

Here is a look at why.

The serious consequences of driving drunk

At Lopez, Severt & Pratt Co., L.P.A., we know how serious a drunk driving conviction can be. In Ohio, if you are charged with operating a vehicle under the influence, this is the same as being charged with driving under the influence or driving while impaired. OVI, DUI and DWI convictions all carry stiff penalties, even if this is your first conviction.

FindLaw adds that there are two Ohio statutes under which you can be charged. In addition to the OVI statute, the Operating a Vehicle After Underage Consumption statute applies if you are under 21 years of age. This OVAUC offense is also known as Ohio’s zero tolerance law.

Understanding stepparent adoption

The State of Ohio allows the stepparent of any child to adopt him or her. Stepparent adoption is relatively simple and inexpensive. Per the Ohio State Bar Association, a stepparent adoption can be accomplished by a nonbiological “parent” who is married to one of the child’s biological parents or by a nonbiological “parent” who is in a same-sex marriage with one of the child’s biological parents.

Deciding to adopt a stepchild is a loving thing to do, but potential stepparents should remember that this is a serious and irrevocable decision. Once adopted, the stepparent is considered to be the child’s legal parent just as if he or she had been born to the stepparent. The new legal parent has all the rights and responsibilities pertaining to that child.

Annie’s Law: Ohio’s new drunk driving crackdown

Anna Louise Rooney was a 36-year-old resident of Chillicothe, Ohio, when she was killed by a drunk driver on July 4, 2013. The driver’s blood alcohol content was over twice the legal limit, and he had had multiple previous convictions for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. As recounted by AnnieRooney.com, Annie, as she was known to family, friends and colleagues, had graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School and was a practicing attorney in Chillicothe at the time of her death. Nearly four years later, on April 1, 2017, Ohio instituted a new anti-drunk driving law known as Annie’s Law.

Under the new law, which seeks to cut down on the number of repeat OVI offenders who drive on Ohio’s roads and highways, judges can order that an offender have an ignition interlock system installed on his or her vehicle in order to be able to drive. IILs require that a driver blow into a breath device before turning on the car. If the machine detects alcohol on the driver’s breath, the vehicle will not start.

What financial considerations should be made post-crash?

Ohio motorcyclists who get into accidents have a lot of financial issues to take into consideration. Whether you've been in a small crash or one resulting in severe injury, this is where the expertise of Lopez, Severt & Pratt CO LPA can come into play. We work toward helping motorcyclists like you recover financially after an accident, which can help you in all other aspects of your healing journey.

First, you need to consider your medical bills. Not just the short term ones, either. Hospital stays do cost a lot of money, as do surgeries. But what about aftercare? What if your accident was bad enough that you now require physical therapy, medications, or other long-term treatment plans? You'll need to work out a settlement with the offending party to cover all medical bills, and not just the initial ones.

Do you need a reason to divorce in Ohio?

As divorce has become more commonplace over time, the laws have reflected society's change in attitude toward this once taboo subject. In short, you do not have to present a specific, valid reason anymore to end your marriage.

However, you still have the option to do so in Ohio. Understanding the different grounds for divorce can help you determine which approach will benefit your case the most. If you are still unsure, speak to a family law attorney for more personalized guidance.

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