Apparent Authority Doctrine

Yesterday I was asked if a driver's consent to search their vehicle also includes the passenger's belongings within the vehicle; more specifically, purses left behind. Most officers are familiar with the ruling that upon receiving consent, police have the authority to search everything located within the vehicle including closed containers, purses, pagers, cell phones, etc. United States v. Galante, 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12376 and United States v. Ferrer-Montoya, 483 F.3d 565, 568 (8th Cir. 2007). However, it's not that simple and is entirely dependent upon the officer's reasonable belief that the the individual giving consent has either actual or apparent authority over the item(s) to be searched. If the individual does not have the requisite authority, the item may not be searched.
  • The apparent authority doctrine dictates that an officer cannot search the contents of passengers belongings upon receipt of consent from the driver unless it is apparent that the driver has authority to grant consent to search those belongings (i.e. a male driver consenting to search the vehicle does not include the female passenger's purse left behind in the vehicle).
  • With regard to actual authority to consent, a valid consent may be given by a third party who possesses common authority over the property at issue, which is generally shown by joint access or control of the property for most purposes.
    • A person possessing common authority has the authority to consent to a search. This common authority rests upon mutual use of the property and joint access or control to the location or item(s) searched. United States v. Matlock, 415 U.S. 164 (1974)
    • When officers obtain valid third-party consent, they are not also required to seek consent from a defendant, even if he is detained nearby. U.S. v. Amratriel, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 21166, October 14, 2010
    • The consent by one party to the seizure of property shared equally is valid even when the other party is present and refuses consent. U.S. v. King, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 8970 (April 30, 2010). The Georgia v. Randolph, 126 S. Ct. 1515 (2006), holding that the consent of one party with authority is trumped by the refusal of another present party with authority is limited to searches and seizures of the home, not property.

Case Example 1United States v. Welch, 4 F.3d 761 (9th Cir. 1993)
The driver gave consent to search his rental car. A female passenger in the vehicle had a purse stored in the trunk. Upon opening the purse, the police discovered $500.00 in counterfeit bills. The woman appealed her conviction, claiming that the police had illegally searched her purse without probable cause or valid consent. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, noting that the key issue in the case was not whether the driver could consent to a search of the vehicle generally, but rather whether the driver “had the authority, either actual or apparent, to give effective consent to the search of his companion’s purse.” Id. at 764 (emphasis in original)(footnote omitted)

"By sharing access to and use of the car with McGee, Welch relinquished, in part, her expectation of privacy in the vehicle. McGee’s voluntary consent to a search is sufficient to waive Welch’s Fourth Amendment interests in the car. Welch’s purse is another matter entirely. The fact that she had a limited expectation of privacy in the car by virtue of her sharing arrangement with McGee does not mean that she had similarly limited privacy expectation in items within the car which are independently the subject of such expectations. The shared control of ‘host’ property does not serve to forfeit the expectation of privacy in containers within that property. Id. (citation omitted)"

Case Example 2People v. James, 163 Ill.2d 302, 317 (1994)
The defendant was a passenger in a car that was stopped by officers of the Urbana police department. The officers directed the driver and the passengers to step out of the car. When the defendant exited the car, she left her purse on the front, passenger-side seat of the car. One of the officers then escorted the defendant away from the car. Although the defendant was not aware of it, the driver of the car agreed to a police search of the car.  During this search, the officer opened and looked into defendant’s purse, where they found cocaine.

The Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence found by police officers during the search of her purse. She argued that she had not consented to the search and that the driver lacked the authority to consent to a search of her purse. The State argued that the police officer may have incorrectly assumed that the purse belonged to the driver of the car.  Therefore, the State contended that the driver had the apparent authority to consent to a search of the defendant’s purse. The State further asserted that defendant assumed the risk that the driver of the car in which she was riding would agree to a police search of the car and its contents, including defendant’s purse. The State argues that it would be impractical to require police officers to “inquire of all of the occupants of an automobile whether they consent to the search of their belongings, and then sort out and classify all of those belongings.”

The appellate court determined that the issue on appeal was whether the driver had the apparent authority to give effective consent to the search of her companion’s purse. The court held that the officer should have ascertained who owned the purse he found in the car before he opened and searched the contents of the purse. The court further observed that it would have been objectively reasonable for the law enforcement officer to realize that the purse might belong to one of the passengers rather than to the driver.  A purse is normally carried by a woman, and all of the adult occupants of the vehicle were women.  Thus, the purse could logically have belonged to any one of the three adult women in the car.  The purse was found on a passenger seat in the car, not on the driver’s seat, thereby tending to the conclusion that the purse belonged to the passenger, not the driver.  It would have been unreasonable for the officer to believe that driver shared some common use in the purse with one of the passengers in the car, since a purse is generally not an object for which two or more persons share common use and authority. Therefore, the court held that the officer acted unreasonably when he proceeded to search the closed purse, although he was ignorant of the identity of the owner of the purse.

Other Cases 
State v. Vantreese, No. 03-00076 APANO (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. April 23, 2004). It was not reasonable for the deputy to assume that the driver had the apparent authority to consent to the passenger’s purse – passenger’s purse suggested individual ownership requiring consent before the search.

State v. Friedel, 714 N.E.2d 1231 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999). Based upon the driver’s consent to search the vehicle, the police searched the passenger’s purse found on the floor behind the driver’s seat, where the passenger had been sitting. Id. at 1235. The court found that it was not objectively reasonable for the police to believe that the driver had the authority to consent to search the purse because it was a woman’s handbag and the passenger was the only female occupant of the car. Id. at 1240. The court further ruled that the passenger’s consent to the search could not be implied from her silence or failure to object because she had never been asked for consent. Id. at 1241.

Pat-Down of Cruiser Passengers

First, allow me to reiterate the law does not allow for "searches" of persons unless 1) you have a warrant; 2) you have consent; 3) the search is made incident to arrest; or 4) the search is qualified by a pat-down revealing a possible weapon. Many recent convictions have been overturned because the officer used the term "search" in their testimony when they were actually describing a pat-down or frisk.

Addressing the topic at-hand, police are not entitled to pat-down a person, absent reasonable suspicion the person may be armed, simply because they have stopped that person pursuant to a lawful Terry stop and placed that person as a passenger in their cruiser. However, in
United States v. McCargo, 464 F.3d 192 (2d Cir. 09/13/2006) the court held in cases where the police may lawfully transport a suspect in the rear of a police car, the police may carry out a departmental policy, imposed for reasons of officer safety, by patting down that person. Because the police must have a legitimate law-enforcement reason to transport a suspect, the court saw little danger that policies such as these might be used as a pretext for a suspicionless frisk.

I also want to point out the decision in
U.S. v Muhammad, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 9575 (May 11, 2010), which held that an officer may remove all suspicious objects from a persons pocket for inspection to determine if the object is a weapon or concealing a weapon. Muhammad contended that because Agent McCrary knew that the object in Muhammad's back pocket was not a weapon or an object concealing a weapon, Agent McCrary could not lawfully remove the wallet from Muhammad's pocket. The record did not support this assertion. Agent McCrary testified that during a pat-down search it is often difficult to tell whether an object is a weapon or might conceal a weapon merely by touching the object. He stated that officers must generally "pull the suspicious object out and actually inspect it" to determine whether the object presents a safety concern. He further testified that he was not certain what the hard four-inch long and three-inch wide object in Muhammad's pocket was, but he said that the item "felt like an object that could conceal a weapon.” The court ruled this pat-down search stayed within the bounds of Terry, and the Fourth Amendment permitted Agent McCrary to remove the object from Muhammad's pocket.

Other Noteworthy Pat-Down Cases

Arizona v. Johnson, No. 07–1122 (2009). Police officers have leeway to frisk a passenger in a car stopped for a traffic violation even if nothing indicates the passenger has committed a crime or is about to do so. The justices accepted Arizona's argument that traffic stops are inherently dangerous for police and that pat-downs are permissible when an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the passenger may be armed and dangerous. The pat-down is allowed if the police “harbor reasonable suspicion that a person subjected to the frisk is armed, and therefore dangerous to the safety of the police and public,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.

U.S. v. Baker, 78 F.3d 135, 137 (4th Cir. 1996). An officer may dispense with a pat-down of a person and direct the suspect to lift his shirt. When an officer has reasonable suspicion, this technique will always be less intrusive (because it is only searching one area of the body and the officer does not have to put his hands on the suspect) than a traditional frisk and consequently be justified.

United States v. Walker, Nos. 08-4680/4682, 2010 U.S. LEXIS 16684 (6th Cir. Decided August 12. 2010). If officers believe a suspect is armed, officers may search the contents of their bags.

United States v. Bustos-Torres, 396 F.3d 935, 943 (8th Cir. 2005). Police officers may perform a pat-down search of an individual upon reasonable suspicion that they may be armed and dangerous. . . ."A suspicion on the part of police that a person is involved in a drug transaction supports a reasonable belief that the person may be armed and dangerous because weapons and violence are frequently associated with drug transactions.

U.S. v. Meadows, 571 F.3d 131 (1st Cir. 2009). Although officers may not use handcuffs routinely during investigatory stops, officers are permitted to use handcuffs to protect themselves and others. Officers may handcuff a suspect within the scope of a valid investigatory stop if they reasonably believe the suspect is armed. An officers’ decision to handcuff a suspect before conducting the pat-frisk did not convert the stop into a de facto arrest.


Warrantless Attachment of GPS to Vehicles

There appears to be confusion regarding the application of U.S. v. Jones and the warrantless attachment of a GPS tracking device to vehicles. In Jones, “The Government physically occupied private property for the purpose of obtaining information. We have no doubt that such a physical intrusion would have been considered a ‘search’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment when it was adopted.” Therefore, the Court held that the use of the GPS was a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

Jones, the government had a warrant for the placement of the GPS device but the warrant expired by one day prior to the placement of the device. Therefore, the Court DID NOT address whether a warrant was even required since warrant had expired and was therefore moot. Instead of arguing the search was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, the government argued that placement of the GPS on the car was not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. However, during oral arguments, the government tried to argue the search was reasonable. This argument was not addressed by the Court. Therefore, the Court DID NOT address that even if placement of a GPS device is a search, such a search would be unreasonable to conduct without a warrant. The Court noted:

“The Government argues in the alternative that even if the attachment and use of the device was a search, it was reasonable--and thus lawful--under the Fourth Amendment because “officers had reasonable suspicion, and indeed probable cause, to believe that [Jones] was a leader in a large-scale cocaine distribution conspiracy.” We have no occasion to consider this argument. The Government did not raise it below, and the D. C. Circuit therefore did not address it. We consider the argument forfeited.” (cites omitted).

As it has always been understood, when in doubt, get a warrant. But know the precedent established in United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983) and United States v. Karo, 468 U. S. 705 (1984) still applies, which held that the warrantless monitoring of signals (beeper and wireless phone pings) inside an automobile traveling on public roads did not violate the Fourth Amendment because it did not reveal any information that was not also available through visual surveillance. However, Knotts and Karo are different then Jones in that the beeper had been placed in the container before it came into the defendants’ possession, with the consent of the then-owner. 460 U. S., at 278. Knotts did not challenge that installation, and the Court declined to consider its effect on the Fourth Amendment analysis. Id., at 279, n. However, in Karo, the installation was challenged. As in Knotts, at the time the beeper was installed the container belonged to a third party, and it did not come into possession of the suspect until later. 468 U. S., at 708. Thus, the specific question the Court considered was whether the installation “with the consent of the original owner constitute[d] a search or seizure . . . when the container is delivered to a buyer having no knowledge of the presence of the beeper.” Id., at 707 (emphasis added). The U.S. Supreme Court held not.

Conclusion: To date, there has been no U.S. Supreme Court decision that has established whether the placement of GPS device to the undercarriage of a vehicle, absent a warrant and in a public place, amounts to a "search" in violation of the Fourth Amendment. However, there have been multiple Federal Circuit Court decisions that support such placement:

United States v. Sparks, 750 F.Supp.2d 384 (2010), the court held that U.S. v. Moore's 1977 holding that probable cause is required for the installation of a tracking device, is no longer good law following the U.S. Supreme Court's 1983 holding in U.S. v. Knotts. District Court Justice Young commented that “where the use of a tracking device serves only as a technological substitute for an otherwise legal activity, it must remain constitutionally sound.” Knotts at 284. In Sparks, FBI agents attached a GPS unit to a suspected bank robber's vehicle. The Court ruled that the suspect had neither a subjective expectation of privacy in the open air parking lot (where GPS was affixed), the exterior of the vehicle, or the movement of his vehicle on the streets. Id. at 396. With the absence of any reasonable expectation of privacy, the Court indicated that no warrant or court order was needed to install or monitor the GPS. Id.

Morton v. Nassau County Police Department, 2007 WL 4264569 (E.D.N.Y. ), plaintiff’s brought a civil rights claim against police alleging the warrantless installation and use of a GPS violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Nassau County Police had attached a GPS device to plaintiff’s vehicle based upon previous sightings at residential burglaries. The Court cited approvingly to U.S. v. Knotts, “a person traveling in an automobile on public thoroughfares has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another.” Knotts at 281. The Court noted “the use of the GPS device did not permit the discovery of any information that could not have been obtained by following an automobile traveling on public roads either physically or through visual surveillance, conduct that neither requires a warrant nor implicated Fourth Amendment rights.” Id. at 282. In continuing to follow Knotts the Court held there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in one’s movements on public ways, and thus there was no search, seizure or Fourth Amendment implication by mere placement of a GPS device. at 4. See also U.S. v. Moran, 349 F.Supp. 2d 425 (N.D. N.Y. 2005).

The Fifth Circuit standard for the warrantless installation of an electronic tracking device is an “intermediate standard”, requiring law enforcement officers to have reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot.
United States v. Michael, 645 F.2d 252 (5th Cir. 1981). In U.S. v. Michael, the Fifth Circuit held that DEA’s warrantless attachment of an electronic tracking device, to the exterior of a suspect’s vehicle while parked in a public place, based upon reasonable suspicion was sufficient to reduce any Fourth Amendment concerns. Id. at 257. The 5th Circuit en banc, noted expressly “...under the facts presented, the installation of the beeper was permissible, even if we assume the installation was a search.” Id. at 256. Thus in the Fifth Circuit in an abundance of caution, ruled that the warrantless GPS installation should be based upon reasonable suspicion that the suspect (vehicle) is involved in criminal activity.

The Seventh Circuit has continually held that there is
no search or seizure under the 4th Amendment when police attach a GPS tracking device underneath a suspect’s vehicle, that does not draw power from the engine or battery, does not take up room occupied by passengers or packages, and does not alter the vehicles appearance. See, United States v. Garcia, 474 F.3d 994 (7th Cir. 2007), and United States v. Cuevas-Perez, 2011 WL 1585072 (C.A.7 (Ill.)).

United States v. Marquez, 605 F.3d 604 (8th Cir. 2010), the Eighth Circuit noted no reasonable expectation of privacy had been violated by DEA agents installing the GPS. Id. at 607. The Court explained that a person traveling in a motor vehicle via public roads has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one locale to another. Id. at 608. The 8th Circuit held that when police have reasonable suspicion that a specific vehicle is transporting drugs, a warrant is not required to install a non-invasive GPS tracking device, while the vehicle is parked in a public place, for a reasonable period of time. Id. at 610. Thus in the Eighth Circuit while law enforcement officials do not need a warrant to install a GPS device, they must possess a reasonable suspicion that the vehicle is involved in criminal activity.

The Ninth Circuit in following
U.S. v. Knotts, ruled that United States Forest Service officers warrantless placement of two electronic tracking devices on the undercarriage of a suspect’s vehicle while parked outside the curtilage did not constitute a seizure in a Fourth Amendment sense. United States v. McIver, 186 F.3d 1119, 1127 (9th Cir. 1999). The Ninth Circuit cited to several cases which indicated that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the exterior of a vehicle. See, New York v. Class, 475 U.S. 106 (1980) - “(t)he exterior of a car, of course, is thrust into the public eye, and thus to examine it does not constitute a search” Id. at 114.

United States v. Shovea, 580 F.2d 1382 (10th Cir. 1978), federal agents became aware of a suspicious order of precursor chemicals from a New York based company for the production of methamphetamine. Id. at 1383. Physical surveillance of the pick-up of the precursor chemicals, coupled with the suspicious manner of transport, and subsequent arrival at an airport for a trans-continental trip provided agents with the requisite probable cause to place an electronic tracking device onto a suspect’s vehicle. Id. at 1384. The 10th Circuit noted that although whether the installation of an electronic tracking device on a motor vehicle is a search or seizure under the 4th Amendment was a difficult question, it need not be reached in the present case. Id. at 1387. The 10th Circuit assumed without deciding that the installation of the tracking device was a search under the 4th Amd, that was justified by the existence of probable cause and exigent circumstances (ie., the inherent mobility of vehicles making the application for a warrant impracticable ie., motor vehicle exception) Id. at 1388. Thus in the 10th Circuit, the warrantless installation of a tracking device based upon probable cause without initially acquiring a court order does not violate the 4th Amendment. Id.

United States v. Smith, 387 Fed.Appx. 918 (C.A. 11th Circuit), a DEA Task-Force Officer, without the benefit of a warrant attached a GPS unit to a marijuana trafficker’s Cadillac Escalade. The Court found that the GPS was installed in a public place and held that Smith lacked any reasonable expectation of privacy in the exterior of his vehicle. Id. at 921. The Court indicated that without any legitimate expectations of privacy there were no 4th Amendment issues. See, United States v. Barton, 698 F.Supp.2d 1303 (N.D. Fla. 2010) – “there is no 4th Amd violation for using a tracking device as a substitute for visual surveillance”. In the 11th Circuit warrantless installation of GPS devices does not impede on any reasonable expectations of privacy, thus no 4th Amendments concerns exist.

Ohio Supreme Court: Warrantless Search of Abandoned Computer Hard Drive is Permissible

State v. Gould, Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-71. Case No. 2010-1315
Lucas App. No. L-08-1383, 2010-Ohio-3437

(Jan. 17, 2012) The Supreme Court of Ohio today held that a warrantless search of abandoned property does not violate the property owner’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches because the owner forfeits any expectation of privacy in the property after it has been abandoned. The Court held further that, to establish a reasonable expectation of privacy in property protected by the Fourth Amendment, a person must exhibit a subjective expectation of privacy that, viewed objectively, is reasonable under the circumstances.

Applying those holdings to a Lucas County criminal case, the Court reinstated the convictions and life prison sentence of Dennis Gould of Toledo on rape and child pornography charges.

The Court’s 7-0 decision reversed a ruling by the 6th District Court of Appeals that had vacated Gould’s convictions based on a finding that evidence obtained through a police search of a computer hard drive that Gould had left unattended at a former residence for several months after he left the city must be excluded because the search was unconstitutional.

In December 2005, after being laid off from his job, Gould moved in with his mother, Sharon Easterwood. At that time, he gave her a computer hard drive and told her to keep it and not ‘let anybody get their hands on it.’ Easterwood put the hard drive in an envelope and placed it in her nightstand. In May 2006, Gould moved into his own apartment, taking his belongings, but not the hard drive. About a month later, Gould’s twin brother, Douglas, told his mother that she should get the hard drive out of her house because it probably contained child pornography. As a result, she returned it to Gould.

Thereafter, in August 2006, after Gould’s older brother, Gregory had moved in with him, Gould stole Gregory’s truck and left Toledo without taking any of his belongings from the apartment, and he never advised anyone of his whereabouts. Sometime later, Gregory sold Gould’s belongings at a garage sale, but before the sale, Easterwood retrieved the hard drive because of her concerns about its contents.

On Sept. 6, 2006, Easterwood delivered the hard drive to Detective Regina Lester in the Special Victims Unit of the Toledo Police Department. According to Lester, Easterwood told her that it had been in her possession since December 2005. Easterwood further advised Lester that she believed that Gould had abandoned it and that she did not want it in her home because of her suspicions about its contents.

Lester did not attempt to access the data on the hard drive but booked it into the police property room and began efforts to locate Gould. In December 2006, after three months of attempts to contact Gould, Lester obtained permission from Easterwood for a police search of the hard drive.

A forensic examination conducted by Detective Jim Dec disclosed child pornography, including images of Gould engaging in sexual conduct with a seven-year-old child. Police identified the victim as the daughter of Gould’s former girlfriend. Federal marshals ultimately arrested Gould in Lansing, Michigan, and returned him to Toledo.

Based on the images discovered on the hard drive, a grand jury subsequently indicted Gould on two counts of rape, one count of gross sexual imposition, six counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor, and five counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance. Gould moved to suppress the evidence obtained through the search of the hard drive, asserting that police had illegally searched it in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The trial court denied the motion, finding that “Lester reasonably could have believed that [Gould] had abandoned any reasonable expectation of privacy in the hard-drive,” such that the search did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

The case proceeded to trial, and a jury returned verdicts finding Gould guilty on all counts. He was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for the rape convictions, and received additional prison terms for the other offenses.

On review, the 6th District Court of Appeals court reversed the judgment of conviction and held that the trial court should have suppressed the evidence obtained from the hard drive as the product of an illegal search, stating that “Lester’s subjective belief that the hard drive had been abandoned was unsupported by the objective facts and Easterwood's testimony.” The 6th District therefore concluded that “the state failed to demonstrate by credible, competent evidence that the hard drive was abandoned.”

Writing for the Court in today’s decision, Justice Terrence O’Donnell referenced a line of federal court cases dating back to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1979 decision in Smith v. Maryland and including United States v. Hershenow (1982), United States v. Chandler (1999) and United States v. Davis (2010). He also cited the Supreme Court of Ohio’s 1980 decision in State v. Freeman as a state precedent addressing searches of property that an owner has abandoned.

Justice O’Donnell wrote: “The United States Supreme Court has long held that the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches does not apply to property that has been voluntarily abandoned, because society does not recognize an expectation of privacy in abandoned property as being objectively reasonable.”

“ ... As in Hershenow, Freeman, Chandler, and Davis, here the evidence similarly weighs against a finding that Gould had an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the hard drive. He left the hard drive in his apartment with his other belongings when he stole his brother’s truck and left Toledo sometime in August 2006. From the time he left Toledo until his arrest by federal marshals sometime before June 3, 2007, Gould never inquired about the hard drive or attempted to assert control over it or its location, he concealed his whereabouts, and he never knew the hard drive had been removed from his apartment when his brother sold his other belongings.”

“And even if we consider the period of time from when Gould left Toledo until Detective Dec searched the hard drive in December 2006, the facts reveal that Gould had not made any inquiry about the hard drive or asserted control over it for almost four months. Hence, the police could have reasonably concluded Gould had abandoned it.”

“Thus, based on his conduct, Gould had no objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the hard drive because when he relocated to Michigan he abandoned it by leaving it in his Toledo apartment without the ability to exert control over it. And, as the courts concluded in Chandler and Davis and as we held in Freeman, a warrantless search of abandoned property does not offend the Fourth Amendment. ... Accordingly, the judgment of the court of appeals ordering the exclusion of the evidence obtained from the hard drive is reversed, and Gould’s convictions and sentence are reinstated.”

Justice O’Donnell’s opinion was joined by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Judith Ann Lanzinger, Robert R. Cupp and Yvette McGee Brown. Justice Paul E. Pfeifer concurred in judgment only.

Starting October 17th, Spice & K2 Enforceable in Ohio

Ohio House Bill 64 (H.B. 64) became law. October 17, 2011, is the effective date of the new code sections impacted by H.B. 64. Once this law takes effect, Spice, also known as K2, will become a Schedule I controlled substance and the possession of or trafficking in Spice will be a violation of Ohio Revised Code.

In addition, if Spice is used in the offense of “corrupting another with drugs” under O.R.C. 2925.02 the penalty will be the same as if marijuana was used in the offense (F-4, or if in a school zone F-3). The chemical compounds related to K2 or Spice are listed under the Schedule I substances in O.R.C. 3719.41(C)(35) – (39).

In addition to criminalizing K2/Spice and conduct related to it, H.B. 64 added the six synthetic derivatives of cathinone that have been found in bath salts to the Schedule I controlled substances as a hallucinogen under O.R.C. 3719.41(C)(40) – (45).

H.B. 64 also added a definition of a "controlled substance analog," O.R.C. 3719.01(HH)(1) and treats controlled substance analogs the same as Schedule I controlled substances, O.R.C. 3719.013. Keep in mind this bill does not take effect until October 17, 2011, but at that time K2 Spice and bath salts will be controlled substances under law.

Ohio Law Updates

I have noted some of the upcoming law changes for your reference (and mine). All law changes effective 9/23/2011 unless otherwise indicated.
  • 4510.111 - (New Law) DUS for failure to pay court fine or failure to pay child support (unclassified misdemeanor). Vehicle immobilization and forfeiture laws applicable to multiple violations of this section.

  • 4507.02 - Requires license plates to be impounded for the below offenses. Previous to this amendment, the law indicated the license plates “may” be impounded. New language indicates the license plates “shall” be impounded.
    1. 4510.11 - Driving under suspension or in violation of license restriction.
    2. 4510.14 - Driving under OVI suspension.
    3. 4510.16 (B)(3) - Driving under financial responsibility law suspension or cancellation with a prior conviction within previous five years.
    4. 4510.21 - Failure to reinstate license suspension
    5. 4507.164 (F) - Permitting operation by unlicensed driver

  • 4507.35 - Duty to display license or furnish satisfactory proof of license upon demand - Changed from M1 to Unclassified Misdemeanor.

  • Multiple DUS ORC sections - A non-certified copy of the LEADS sheet may be admitted into evidence as prima-facie evidence that the license of the person was under suspension at the time of the alleged violation.

  • 4510.16 (B) - (New Law) DUS for failure to pay civil judgment (unclassified misdemeanor).

  • 4510.21 - DUS for failure to pay reinstatement fees is now an unclassified misdemeanor.

  • 4510.41 (B)(1) - The arresting officer shall seize the vehicle that the person was operating at the time of, or that was involved in, the below listed offenses if the vehicle is registered in the arrested person’s name and its license plates:
    1. 4510.14 - Driving under OVI suspension
    2. 4511.203 - Wrongful entrustment of motor vehicle
    3. 4510.16 G2 - Driving under financial responsibility law suspension or cancellation (only if 3rd violation within 3 years)
    4. 4510.161 B - Municipal ordinance created for violating 4510.14 (OVI suspension) or 4510.16 (FRA suspension)

  • 4511.53 - New sections for motorcycle permit violations:
    1. (C)(1) - Helmets required for all passengers
    2. (C)(2)(a) - No nighttime riding
    3. (C)(2)(b) - No passengers permitted
    4. (C)(2)(c) - No freeway riding

  • 4511.69 (C) - Parking a vehicle in the opposite direction is now a violation of subsection (C)(1) and not just (C). Subsection (C)(2) was added to allow motorcycles to park at an angle opposite of direction of travel.

  • 4511.203 - All initial wrongful entrustment charges are now an unclassified misdemeanor.

  • Vehicle forfeiture is now applicable for 3rd violation in 3 years for DUS under R.C. sections 4510.11, 4510.14, and 4510.16.

  • 4549.02, 4549.021 & 4549.03 - Courts may add restitution up to $500 for accident victims

  • 2923.121 (Possession of firearm in liquor permit premises) - Most people didn’t pay attention to the current law. The current law allowed the consumption of BEER while possessing a firearm. The new law prohibits consuming both beer and liquor while possessing a firearm. This section effective 9/30/2011

  • 2923.16 (Improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle) - The subsections of this law were changed. New subsections: This section effective 9/30/2011
    1. (E)(1) Fail to notify officer
    2. (E)(2) Fail to notify other officers that approach vehicle (new)
    3. (E)(3) Fail to remain in the motor vehicle while stopped
    4. (E)(3) Fail to keep the person’s hands in plain sight at any time
    5. (E)(4) Having contact with firearm
    6. (E)(5) Disregard or fail to comply with any lawful order
    7. This amendment also removed the requirement that the gun be in a holster; or in a closed case, bag, box, or other container; or stored in a closed glove compartment or vehicle console or in a case that is locked. Subsection (E) of current law.
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