Michael C. Hennenberg

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Ohio Criminal Law Blog

You must understand how you could violate your probation

After a criminal case, you wind up on probation. This means you get to live at home and, to the outside, it appears that life moves on as normal for you. As a white-collar executive, you know how important your reputation is. You're glad that you can essentially live a normal life and put whatever happened behind you.

One key thing you need to keep in mind is that you can still make the situation worse. If you violate the terms of your probation, it's a criminal offense. You can do this intentionally or accidentally. You must understand the terms so that you don't make another mistake that puts you in a far worse position.

Difference between addiction and dependence

Knowledge about substance abuse in Ohio may prove useful in combatting it, but the terminology that often applies can be confusing. For example, when it comes to drug use, people often use the terms "addiction" and "dependence" interchangeably. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that they are not necessarily the same

Dependence refers to the physical effects that prolonged use of a drug has on a person's body, both while taking the drug and after ceasing its use. The two main components of dependence are tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance occurs while a person is taking the drug. Over time, the body adapts to the substance. Once this happens, in order to achieve the same effects, the individual needs to take a higher dosage of the drug. Withdrawal occurs when an individual abruptly ceases to use the drug and experiences specific mental and/or physical symptoms as a result. 

What is racketeering?

You may have encountered the word "racketeering" when reading or watching the news in Ohio but not fully understood what it meant. Your confusion is understandable; "racketeering" is a broad umbrella term used to describe a wide range of criminal schemes. CNN cites a law professor who describes racketeering as more of a prosecution strategy of thinking about crime in a particular way than a specific offense. Thus, two types of illegal activity that may seem to have little, if any, similarities with one another on the surface (e.g. organized crime and college admission scandals) could each incur racketeering charges. 

The broad scope of racketeering charges is by design. The purpose of the 1970 Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was to combat organized crime. As a result, there are 35 offenses altogether, including arson, bribery, extortion, kidnapping and murder, that the RICO Act describes as racketeering.

Should medical errors be grounds for prosecution?

There is no doubt among health care professionals in Ohio that medical errors are extremely serious. NPR cites an estimate that they may be the third leading cause of death in the United States. However, if you are a provider who makes a mistake that results in harm to a patient, you generally will not face criminal charges on account of it. On the rare occasions when providers do face charges, there is usually an indication that the provider was intoxicated or demonstrated malicious intent. 

Professionals in the medical field, including a director of the American Nurses Association, believe that it is best to address medical errors in a way that is not punitive. Otherwise, a provider may be less likely to report the error out of fear of retribution. Nevertheless, a recent high-profile case in which a district attorney filed criminal charges against a nurse for mistakenly administering the wrong medication to a patient who died as a result could set a new precedent. 

Willful vs. non-willful tax avoidance

If you are like most people in Ohio, you can find it hard to look at your paycheck and see how much money is taken out for taxes. Regardless of your political leaning or your financial situation, this can be hard. The tax laws in the United States allow for legal ways that taxpayers can lower their tax burden. Taking advantage of deductions or special types of investments are some examples of this.

However, as explained by Forbes, you should proceed with caution when determining what things you pursue and why when it comes to taxes. Despite allowing people to get breaks on what they owe in taxes, the government has some limits here and can clamp down on what it would call illegal efforts to avoid paying any or one's fair share of taxes. This can lead to allegations of tax evasion which can include both civil and criminal penalties.

Drug addiction, without help, creates a criminal cycle

When the police arrest someone for using or buying illegal drugs, the first response is simply to put that person in jail. If convicted, they spend time behind bars. They're then released and told not to do the same thing again. The authorities view prison time as enough of a deterrent.

But what if it's not? What if the person doesn't need a deterrent at all? What if what they really need is medical help to overcome a drug addiction?

Will I lose my nursing job after a DUI?

If you are one of the many people who has entered the field of nursing in Ohio, you know that your chosen profession is one of great need by many people. The care you provide to your patients and to their family members can go a long way in making a difference in their lives. You also know that you are held to a high standard of conduct, in part due to the very personal nature of your work. When you experience a minor indiscretion in your personal life, you will want to understand how it may impact your professional life and how you can protect that part of your life. One such indiscretion may be a charge of drunk driving.

As explained by RegisteredNursing.org, there are really two types of consequences you will need to be prepared for after an arrest for suspected driving under the influence. One of these is any punishment by the Ohio State Board of Nursing. There may not be any standard set of consequences here as these boards may well evaluate your past as well as the specific circumstances surrounding your arrest. How they learned about the DUI may also factor into their decisions about your professional license.

What happens when a commercial driver gets an OVI?

As a commercial driver, your license - a CDL - is your livelihood. It, alone, gives you the privilege of legally operating your vehicle on Ohio's roadways. Without it, you'd have no income, no career and very few options.

What you worry about is getting arrested on drunk driving charges. It's not that you drink and drive consistently, but you know plenty of people who say they got pulled over after simply having a bit too much at dinner. They thought they were fine, but the police said they were over the legal limit.

Finding a new job after a conviction

Today, it is becoming more understood that having a criminal record is something that can happen to just about anyone. Residents in Ohio should no longer think that a criminal record automatically carries with it the same stigma that it once did. That said, it can feel a bit overwhelming when the time comes to find a new job and a person has a conviction on their record. However, Monster indicates that it is definitely possible to get a good job even with a criminal record.

While an overwhelming majority of employers run pre-employment background checks on job candidates today, there is good news for job seekers who have been convicted of criminal offenses. A survey conducted by the Charles Koch Institute and the Society for Human Resources Management showed that the majority of hiring managers and human resources professionals consider candidates with criminal records to be able to provide just as much value to a company as their counterparts without criminal records.

How Ponzi schemes got their name

Most people in Ohio have likely heard references to Ponzi schemes but they may not fully understand what they are or why they are even called Ponzi schemes. These events are forms of fraud and classified as white collar crimes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation explains that the name dates back nearly a century when a man named Charles Ponzi was accused of illegally scheming to take money from supposed investors.

The crux of an alleged Ponzi scheme involves a person soliciting and accepting money that is intended to be invested in a particular venture. However, instead of investing the money into a business or activity that may generate a return, the person instead uses that money to pay dividends to previous investors. In essence, there is an assertion that no true business activity or investment opportunity exists.

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