Common charges

Student Legal Services (SLS) attorneys are in Franklin County Municipal Court every weekday representing students charged with criminal misdemeanors and traffic offenses.

An OVI, also known as DUI, is operating a vehicle impaired by drugs or alcohol or a combination of them. Any substance that causes impairment, including prescribed medication, can lead to an OVI arrest.

OVI is a serious offense with a mandatory minimum penalty of: three days in jail or three days in a driver intervention program; a one year driver’s license suspension; a fine plus court costs; and six points on your driver’s license.   

OVI’s are expensive.  If convicted, you will pay $400-$500 for the driver intervention program, a $375 fine, around $125 in court costs and $475 to reinstate your license.  Plus, your car insurance premiums will go up.

No one should drive under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs.  But, if you have been charged with an OVI, you should consult with a Student Legal Services attorney as soon as possible.  Do not hire a private attorney and make the situation cost more than it already does.  The saying “you get what you pay for” does not apply here. Spending thousands of dollars for a private attorney is not necessary.  You have experienced SLS attorneys who help only students, who understand your concerns and are in the court every single day.  We are the best option in an otherwise awful situation.

In Ohio, it is illegal to possess, consume or be intoxicated by alcohol if you are under the age of 21.  There are several different law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction in and around Ohio State.  The can, and they will, charge students for alcohol possession, consumption and/or intoxication.

You can be charged with alcohol possession, even if you have not had a sip of alcohol.  You do not need to be drunk to be charged with alcohol consumption.

No. Plenty of students have plenty of fun without having a fake ID. Mere possession of a fake ID is a crime. To be charged with this offense, you do not have to use it to buy alcohol, or present it at a bar or other establishment. Simply having a Fake ID on you is enough. Also, it does not matter if it is a real state ID or a manufactured fake ID.

Providing, selling or buying alcohol for an individual under the age of 21 is illegal and you can be charged with furnishing to a minor. It does not matter whether you are aware the person is underage or not. The furnishing charge carries a mandatory minimum $500 fine.

In Ohio, your record cannot be “expunged”, but may rather be “sealed” in certain circumstances.  Many criminal records are eligible for sealing if you meet the requirements. However, the sealing of a record is not automatic. You must submit an application to the court, after which a hearing will be scheduled. The judge then decides to grant or deny the application. In Ohio, many convictions are eligible for sealing after one year and eligible dismissals often can be sealed immediately.

You do not have to go through the process alone. Student Legal Services regularly assists students with sealing their criminal records.  In addition, we will advise you about how to explain a criminal record and/or sealing if required for background checks, applications, licenses, etc.

Disorderly conduct includes a variety of conduct prohibited by law.  It is most commonly charged against those who are intoxicated and behaving in a manner that creates a risk of physical harm to themselves or others, or causes inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another. Although commonly associated with intoxication, you can be charged with disorderly conduct even when alcohol is not a factor.

Recreational marijuana possession and use is illegal in Ohio.  Medical marijuana is legal in Ohio, however there are very specific requirements and if not followed correctly you may be subject to criminal charges.  Marijuana use, including medical marijuana, is prohibited on Ohio State’s campus. 

Recently, the Columbus City Attorney’s office announced that they will not prosecute misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.  However, law enforcement can still charge for possession under the stricter state law.  Also, the City Attorney’s office will not drop charges that accompany the marijuana charge unless there is a separate reason to do so.  Possession of marijuana is also still a valid reason for police to stop and/or search you based on probable cause, and the City Attorney will continue prosecuting driving while impaired involving marijuana intoxication.

It is important to never leave the scene of an accident without providing your license and insurance information to the other driver. You must provide your information even if you hit an unoccupied vehicle.   If you do not provide your information, you could be charged with a “hit, skip.”

There are a variety of charges that can be filed against you out of a traffic accident.  If police are called to the scene, you are required to provide your information, however you should not admit liability or otherwise indicate liability for the accident.

Speeding is a strict liability offense. This means regardless of the reason for why you were speeding, you can be found guilty of the offense. Being unaware of the speed limit, or following the flow of traffic is not a defense.

  • If you drive a vehicle, you must have a valid driver’s license.
  • International driver’s licenses are not sufficient.
  • You must obtain an Ohio driver’s license once you have been here more than 30 days, unless you have a valid license from another state and are considered a permanent resident of that state for licensure purposes. 

If your license is suspended you cannot drive without first obtaining written permission from a court.

Your license can be suspended for various reasons, including: failure to show proof of insurance, failure to appear in court, conviction of a drug offense, conviction of OVI and failure to pay a ticket.

This is not an exhaustive list of the charges Student Legal Services handles.  If you do not know whether Student Legal Services can help with your issue, please call us.