Rare situation, need help!!!

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Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby ShawnK1017 » Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:17 am

Hi everyone!
I could really use some help if anyone could give me some advice I'd really appreciate it. I know there's tons of posts about old marijuana charges and I'm up to speed on that, minor misdemeanor vs 1-4 and etc. I wasn't actually denied but when I called my sheriff's office whoever answered the phone told me to save my money and get the record sealed first. I contacted an attorney but they cost way too much, plus they didn't just want to seal records they insisted on a full rights restoration and I'm not technically weapons disabled, I've passed NICS checks before. I started looking into the matter myself while waiting for help from Legal Aid and low and behold there's definitely an error on my record. I was charged years ago for a small amount of pot under this guy's seat, I didn't know him real well and we both got charged. When I went to court the public defender acted like it was no big deal, said they just wanted to give me a fine not explaining I was going to have an M1 on my record. After doing some digging I finally came across the city ordinances for Campbell OH, and come to find out these were published roughly six months before I was charged and under city ordinance 513.03 possession of marijuana under 100 grams is a minor misdemeanor, almost mirroring state law. Why it comes up as an M1 is beyond me. So what should I do next? I am receiving help from legal aid and I actually have everything I need to file to have the record sealed but I'll be representing myself in the matter and I'm a little nervous about that. I contacted BCI to see if they could fix the error in their system and the lady I talked to said even though they're fingerprint based when she searched my name in the system she couldn't find anything. I've had people tell me just apply anyway, while I've had other people suggest a non resident permit from another state is also an option. I can't believe Ohio is that worried about old pot tickets and how these municipalities can take something so minor and make it seem like you were in borderline felony territory is ridiculous. I'm thinking about representing myself for the record sealing and hoping for the best but I was hoping that if I get denied I can show the sheriff the printout of the city ordinance that says it's a minor misdemeanor. Any advice is greatly appreciated thanks everyone!!!
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby EricTheBald » Tue Sep 21, 2021 9:27 am

You said that you were convicted under Campbell OH city ordinance 513.03

Are you certain you were not convicted under ORC 2925, 3719, or 4729?

If so, how are you certain?
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby JustaShooter » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:16 pm

EricTheBald wrote:You said that you were convicted under Campbell OH city ordinance 513.03

Are you certain you were not convicted under ORC 2925, 3719, or 4729?

If so, how are you certain?

Presumably, his court papers include that information. Likewise, if he went to municipal court vs county court, that would also tell you.
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby EricTheBald » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:24 pm

JustaShooter wrote:Presumably, his court papers...



I don't want to make any assumptions.
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby ShawnK1017 » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:44 pm

I was definitely 100% charged under Campbell city ordinance 513.03, not 2925 or any of the others orc laws. It's on my papers, the docket sheet, and a couple different background checks. It comes up as an M1 on my background check but if you look up the ordinance code itself it specifically states it's a minor misdemeanor. My guess is, because these ordinances were published about 6 months before I was charged, that maybe the clerk or whoever didn't realize it, maybe they just changed that when this version of the ordinances were published? Here's the link to the ordinance itself. https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/c ... 0-0-0-7455
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby ShawnK1017 » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:50 pm

Also here is the link to the main page of the ordinances that says complete to June 2015, so I could be wrong but essentially that means it would've been published around June 2015 right? I was charged I believe in November 2015.
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby ShawnK1017 » Sun Oct 10, 2021 12:12 am

Soo...can anyone shed some light on this situation?
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby ShawnK1017 » Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:22 am

So....can anyone offer any advice on this situation? It seemed like this was going somewhere but then no one got back to me after I confirmed I was charged under the municipal code not ORC.
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby JustaShooter » Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:55 am

I'd still get the record sealed, it's not hard or expensive. If you don't want to go that route, then you'd need to get your record corrected - and quite honestly I don't know how to go about that, or how hard and expensive it would be.
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby EricTheBald » Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:02 am

I am NOT a lawyer, though I do have experience as a research Paralegal.

The point is that I am not legally allowed to give you legal advice.

That being said, it IS legal for me to say this: When I fill out a government questionnaire, I always answer the question that is actually ASKED and I do not concern myself with the question they did NOT ask.

I believe your concern is with this question:

(7A) Are you under indictment for, or otherwise charged with, or have you been convicted of, or pleaded
guilty to an offense under ORC 2925, 3719, or 4729, that involves illegal possession, use, sale,
administration, distribution of, or trafficking in a drug of abuse?

When reading a legal document, every word matters and so does the punctuation.


The way this is written would break down as follows:


Are you under indictment for, or otherwise charged with, or have you been convicted of, or pleaded
guilty to an offense under
ORC 2925, 3719, or 4729, that involves illegal possession, use, sale,
administration, distribution of, or trafficking in a drug of abuse?

Here the question is asking whether you have been charge, indicted, convicted of, or pled guilty to an offense under a specified set of laws.


Are you under indictment for, or otherwise charged with, or have you been convicted of, or pleaded
guilty to an offense under ORC 2925, 3719, or 4729, that involves illegal possession, use, sale,
administration, distribution of, or trafficking in a drug of abuse?

Here the question specifies the statutes that it is asking about.


Are you under indictment for, or otherwise charged with, or have you been convicted of, or pleaded
guilty to an offense under ORC 2925, 3719, or 4729, that involves illegal possession, use, sale,
administration, distribution of, or trafficking in a drug of abuse?


Here the question defines the crimes associated with those specifically named statutes.


Are you under indictment for, or otherwise charged with, or have you been convicted of, or pleaded
guilty to an offense under ORC 2925, 3719, or 4729, or other law, statute, or ordinance, that involves illegal possession, use, sale,
administration, distribution of, or trafficking in a drug of abuse?

And here I have added the text that I would have inserted if I were the one being paid to write the questionnaire.

Understand that I am only pointing out that the question specifically says "X" and does not say "Y".
There is no legal requirement anywhere in the United States that I am aware of, which would prevent me from pointing that out or from capitalizing on the chronic inability of legislators to actually write law. Which is good, because poorly written laws and legal documents are the only reason I still have a drivers license after decades of continually driving at relativistic speeds.


Now, all that is just a simple breakdown of what is WRITTEN on the questionnaire, which is perfectly legal for me to do. It is not an INTERPRETATION, nor is it intended to be construed as legal advice.

It is also worth mentioning that the person running the office in the county where you apply can STILL reject you based on THEIR interpretation of the law and the questionnaire. Which, by the way, is technically illegal.

I personally was rejected at my last renewal, even though nothing had changed since the last one except for me getting older, and the Deputy running the office attached a printed copy of the CCL guidebook (which is neither the questionnaire, nor the law), and it cost me $1,000 for a lawyer who used to work in the prosecutor's office to have one of his friends contact the Sheriff's office to inform them that they interpreted the situation differently and that I should be issued my renewal.


So, were I in your shoes, I would find a lawyer with contacts in the prosecutor's office and go to him/her for a consultation, which is generally free. What I would ask that lawyer is this: Given that it is probably LESS expensive to apply, get rejected, and appeal the rejection; than it is to have your record sealed/expunged, would they agree with my reading of the question being that it does NOT cover the specified municipal ordinance, and if so, would they handle the appeal if I get rejected and what would that cost.

IF MONEY WERE AN ISSUE...

If I didn't have the money to do that, I would write the Attorney General or Prosecutor for the county I wanted to apply in, and ask for a written opinion, PRIOR to submitting the application. I would do so understanding that he might not give the answer I was hoping for, which would not of course prevent me from trying one of the 87 other counties in Ohio. As a last resort, I would ask Dave Yost's office to provide an opinion. I say "last resort" because they don't like to issue opinions for anyone who isn't a practicing attorney, and because their opinion would be dispositive for the entire State.

There exists one more option I might choose to exercise.

I might choose to submit the application, answer the questions AS WRITTEN, and then specifically inform the person who runs that office that I did have a conviction under ordinance "xyz" in whatever city, but that the question, AS WRITTEN, specifically asks ONLY about ORC 2925, 3719, and 4729, so you therefore answered the question accurately and honestly.

I would take care to point out FIRST, that I had an awkward situation to discuss and that I was NOT trying to be a wiseass, but simply wanted to be certain that nobody got the mistaken impression that I was lying.


And of course, I want to re-emphasize that I am only pointing out what the questionnaire actually SAY and talking about what I PERSONALLY would do in that situation. None of this has been legal advice as defined under the law, nor should it be interpreted as such.
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby JustaShooter » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:12 pm

EricTheBald wrote:<BIG SNIP OF DETAILED ANALYSIS OF THE CHL QUESTIONNAIRE>

I appreciate that you have carefully explained various aspects of the questionnaire, long as it may be ;). Perhaps the most important part of your post is as follows:
It is also worth mentioning that the person running the office in the county where you apply can STILL reject you based on THEIR interpretation of the law and the questionnaire.

While the OP may be able to truthfully answer the questionnaire based on your analysis, the fact remains the CHL clerk is most likely going to take one look at the M4 pot conviction and deny the application. Legal or not, the sheriff's office the OP contacted already indicated this would be the case unless the record was sealed. Fighting that denial will likely take far more time, effort, and money than sealing the record, and sealing the record is going to benefit the OP in more ways than the CHL application.

OP, find a different lawyer to get your record sealed, it shouldn't cost as much as you seem to indicate that lawyer wanted to charge, and you *certainly* don't need your firearm rights restored as they haven't been removed. Honestly, you could probably do it yourself - as I recall, the application itself is only about $50 and I've read in other posts that the clerk of courts in some counties is willing to help you fill it out.
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby Aesinsp » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:35 pm

And that is what being friendly and helpful is all about..
JustaShooter, I admire what you(and many others!) do here.
Kudos.
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby ShawnK1017 » Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:16 pm

Thank you guys! I actually have the paperwork to have the record sealed, the main thing I'm worried about is representing myself if it comes down to a hearing. I think I'm going to try and apply in a different county maybe first and then if I get denied I'll file to have the record sealed. You only have to wait a year to reapply if you appeal and lose right?
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby EricTheBald » Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:22 pm

Representing yourself (Pro Se) is really not all that hard. I've done it at the trial AND appellate levels. (I get a lot of traffic tickets)

I don't know offhand what the process is for this, but generally you can make appeals to the court in either written form, or verbal form with you showing up personally. THAT is the expensive one if you hire an attorney, but you can PROBABLY find an attorney to write a written appeal for $500 or less.

If you're going to do a written appeal, the lawyer is worth it, because most cases that get tossed by a Judge get tossed for procedural reasons, defective paperwork being a big one.

If you go yourself, you will want to think about all the questions he might ask you and practice your answers in advance. I assume you are basically going to say; "Hey, I was a dumbass kid, but I'm better now." Which is good, because that's essentially what they'll be expecting. ALL your answers should be solidly based in the truth, but you don't have to completely spill your guts either. Answer the Judges questions, which will likely be mostly pro forma, in a calm, confident manner, and don't volunteer stuff he didn't ask.

Google "4 square breathing", which is a breathing technique that is useful for calming you in stressful moments and getting more oxygen to your brain.


One last thing...
You could take your filled out paperwork into a different county and point out your honest answer BEFORE you hand them the paperwork and money. The worst they can do is tell you the same thing you already heard from the first place. No harm, no foul, right? And you didn't waste $65, or whatever they charge these days.
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Re: Rare situation, need help!!!

Postby JustaShooter » Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:17 pm

ShawnK1017 wrote:Thank you guys! I actually have the paperwork to have the record sealed, the main thing I'm worried about is representing myself if it comes down to a hearing. I think I'm going to try and apply in a different county maybe first and then if I get denied I'll file to have the record sealed. You only have to wait a year to reapply if you appeal and lose right?

If you do apply in another county and get denied, and *don't* Appeal, you can re-apply immediately after you get the record sealed. So, there's that.
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