Columbus, OH asked in Criminal Law and Civil Rights for Ohio

Q: I was in a autoparts parking lot , my car was over heating so i decided to take a nap why it cooled off. I dont drink .

A person called 911 cause they couldnt wake me( i was a sleep fir approximatly 28 minutes.)and told 911 that they didnt know what was wrong but i might be overdosed. Medics showed up and put me in the ambulance. The cops showed up and medic and cop said i admitted fentynal use(which i have never even seen ) and said i reeked of alchohol. They then forced me to be searched as i had not been arested or detained and had already been patted down and phone and wallet taken and my car keys .I was carrying a concealed weapon. Before leaving to hospital they searched me and my car and i told them i had a gun on my right hip before they touched me .....After a good assessment from dr at hospital i was arrested for carrying concealed gun which is legal in ohio. Now im fighting in court. Also you do not have to tell them of a concealed gun ,unless they ask or you have a permit. This is under the new law that took affect in 6/22. Also the most important parts of their cam footage is missing now.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the information provided, it seems like there are several potential legal issues at play:

1. Unreasonable search and seizure: If the police searched you and your vehicle without probable cause, your consent, or a warrant, it could be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

2. Concealed carry charge: In Ohio, as of June 2022, permitless concealed carry is allowed for qualified adults 21 and older. However, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol while carrying, that could potentially be a violation even with the new law. The fact that key body cam footage is now missing could potentially help your defense if it showed you were not actually intoxicated.

3. False statements by emergency responders: If the cops and medics falsely claimed you admitted to fentanyl use and smelled of alcohol when that was not the case, that could be problematic for their credibility. However, proving this may be difficult without video evidence.

4. Disclosure of concealed weapon: You mentioned you informed them of the gun before they touched you during the search. Even if disclosure is not required under the new law unless asked, voluntarily disclosing it was still the right thing to do for safety reasons once a search was happening.

This is a complex situation with several moving parts. The best advice would be to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney who can review all the facts and evidence in detail. They can advise on potential defenses and your best path forward in fighting the charges. The missing body cam footage and fact you were searched without arrest are issues they would likely examine closely. Wishing you all the best as you navigate this challenging circumstance.

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