Using Weapons While Intoxicated

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Using Weapons While Intoxicated in Cincinnati, OH

Using weapons while intoxicated in Cincinnati is a crime. However, there may be extenuating circumstances and potential defenses if you are arrested for using a weapon while intoxicated.

Joslyn Law Firm understands how important the right to bear arms is for many people. We also know that someone who is drunk or high while brandishing a weapon can lead to innocent people being injured or killed. We review your case without judgment to help you find a solution to your weapon charges case.

If you are facing charges for using a weapon while intoxicated, we are here to defend your rights, freedom, and Second Amendment privileges. Our award-winning criminal defense firm has handled over 20,000 cases. We have a lengthy record of legal victories for people who find themselves facing serious criminal charges.

Our Law Firm Is Built on Years of Success

Our founding attorney, Brian Joslyn, is an esteemed lawyer who demands the same excellence from his team of attorneys and associates. Joslyn Law Firm has earned many national accolades, including:

  • National Trial Lawyers Association – Top 100 Attorneys
  • Columbus CEO – Top Lawyer in Columbus
  • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys – Nationally Ranked Attorney
  • Avvo Client’s Choice Award Nominee
  • Top American Lawyer Association – Nominated for Best American Lawyer

Please do not take chances with your freedom and your future. Our attorneys can help you if you were using weapons while intoxicated Call Joslyn Law Firm today for a consultation about your arrest, charges, or upcoming trial at (513) 399-6289.

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Information Center for Using Weapons While Intoxicated in Cincinnati

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Overview of Rights and Restrictions on Carrying and Using Weapons in Ohio

Ohio has relatively lenient firearm and gun carry laws. Legal gun owners may openly carry a loaded firearm with or without a concealed handgun license.

However, you must have a concealed carry license to transport an unloaded firearm in a vehicle with the following requirements:

  • The firearm must be in a closed package, bag, box, or case;
  • In a compartment that can only be accessed by leaving the vehicle (i.e., the trunk); or
  • The firearm is secured and in plain sight.

You must be 18 years old to purchase a long gun and 21 years old to buy a handgun, with exceptions for hunting, marksmanship, sporting, and other educational purposes, according to Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.21. Anyone who sells a gun to an individual who does not meet these age requirements may be charged with a fifth-degree felony.

“Having Weapons While Under Disability” Law

According to Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.13, the following individuals are considered disabled and are legally prohibited from keeping or carrying firearms:

  • Fugitives from justice
  • People convicted or indicted for a violent felony offense
  • People convicted or indicted for a felony drug offense
  • People who are adjudicated for mental incompetence, mental defect, or mental illness per a court order
  • People with chronic drug dependency or alcoholism adjudications

Anyone who violates this law and attempts to buy, possess, or carry a firearm may be charged with a third-degree felony.

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Ohio Statutes on Using Weapons While Intoxicated

Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.15 makes it illegal to use or carry a firearm or dangerous ordnance while “under the influence of alcohol or any drug of abuse.”

This statute fails to specifically address two important factors:

  • The standard of “under the influence” in terms of intoxication; and
  • Whether a firearm is yours to control.

Under Ohio Rev. Code § 5119.90 (f), the state defines intoxication as “being under the influence of alcohol, another drug, or both alcohol and another drug and, as a result, having a significantly impaired ability to function.”

There is no mention of blood alcohol content (BAC) in Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.15. An individual could have one drink and be considered under the influence, while another could drink several cocktails and not appear intoxicated.

Defining Use or Carry

The definition of “use” for a firearm generally means that you are handling a gun, including:

  • Cleaning
  • Disassembling
  • Pointing
  • Firing

Any conscious interaction with a weapon could be considered “use.” “Carry” refers to a weapon on your person (in a shoulder holster, for example) or within reach (for example, in your purse or backpack).

Our criminal gun defense lawyers could argue that use and carry do not apply if:

  • You simply move the firearm from one place to another, such as from a chair to a countertop.
  • The weapon is not under your control (i.e., it is not your gun).

You can see that “use,” “carry,” and “under the influence” are gray areas. That is why you are urged to call Joslyn Law Firm if you or a loved one was arrested for using a weapon while intoxicated.

We create a defensive strategy to seek a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you. Our goal is to have your case dropped, reduced, dismissed, or end in a “not guilty” verdict.

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Understanding “Drug of Abuse”

It is illegal to use a firearm while intoxicated, and it is also against the law to use a firearm while under the influence of a “drug of abuse.”

According to Ohio Rev. Code § 4506.01, there are three legal definitions to the term “drug of abuse”:

  • A dangerous drug
  • A controlled substance
  • A misused over-the-counter medicine

Dangerous Drugs

A dangerous drug that affects your physical and/or cognitive ability includes:

  • Prescription-only medicine with a warning label from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Injectable medications
  • Schedule V controlled substances that are prescribed, such as anti-seizure medications
  • Biological drugs, such as insulin

Controlled Substances

The U.S. Department of Justice has a long list of controlled substances that include:

Misused Over-the-Counter Medicine

Under Ohio law, you could be charged with using a weapon while under the influence of a non-prescription drug if it is being used improperly.

Over-the-counter medicines that can alter your physical and mental state include:

  • Allergy medicine
  • Cold medicine (especially drowsy or sleep-inducing formulas)
  • Caffeine supplements
  • Sleep medicine

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Penalties for Criminal Convictions for Using Weapons While Intoxicated in Cincinnati

If you are convicted of using a weapon while intoxicated, you could spend up to six months in prison and pay a fine of up to $1,000, according to Ohio Rev. Code § 2929.24. These are the sentencing guidelines for a misdemeanor in the first degree.

There are also collateral penalties for this type of conviction, including:

  • Background checks: A misdemeanor conviction will appear on all criminal background checks conducted for a concealed carry license, international visas, and job interviews.
  • Community service: The court may order you to complete community service hours in addition to prison time or in the place of imprisonment.
  • Alcohol or drug dependent status: If the judge adjudicates you as an alcohol or drug dependent with rehabilitation requirements, you could be considered disabled and therefore ineligible to own a firearm.
  • Probation: You may have community control requirements after prison or in the place of prison.

The court considers if you are a first-time offender or if you have any prior arrests or convictions.

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Defenses to Using a Weapon While Intoxicated in Ohio

A weapon intoxication lawyer could dispute any evidence used against you by arguing it was illegally obtained. This is known as an evidentiary defense. There are also procedural defenses, which can be used if the law was improperly applied, such as a lengthy wait despite your constitutional right to a speedy trial.

An attorney with Joslyn Law Firm may also raise common law defenses. A common law defense means that even though you broke the law, your actions are either justified or excusable, such as:


An attorney may argue that you used a weapon while intoxicated because you believed that you were in immediate danger (i.e., serious bodily harm or death). There may be witnesses or videos that support this claim.

Defense of a Third Person

In this defense, an attorney will show that using a weapon while intoxicated was necessary to defend another person from serious bodily harm or death. The person may be a friend, family member, or stranger.

Necessity or/Lesser Harm 

You could avoid conviction for using a weapon while intoxicated if your lawyer proves that you were preventing greater harm. For example, you felt it was necessary to take a handgun away from another intoxicated individual who was threatening violence against others or self-harm.

Excusable Conduct Defenses

These defenses assert that it would be unjust to punish you given the circumstances, such as:

  • Mistake of Fact – You reasonably believed your actions were justified.
  • Involuntary Intoxication – You were given a drug or alcohol without your knowledge or consent.
  • Insanity –You did not know what you were doing at the time of the incident due to temporary insanity.
  • Duress –You were forced to use or carry a weapon while intoxicated under threat of harm to yourself or a third person.

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How a Conviction for Using Weapons While Intoxicated Affects Firearm Rights in Cincinnati, Ohio

Using weapons while intoxicated is not a felony offense. Therefore, it is unlikely that you would lose your firearm rights based upon a misdemeanor conviction alone.

However, if you were also arrested on a felony charge, particularly for a violent crime, you could lose your right to own and possess a handgun. Ex-offenders, people with active arrest warrants, fugitives from justice, and previously convicted felons are prohibited from owning firearms.

You may also be considered disabled by the state of Ohio if you are adjudicated as a chronic alcoholic or drug user or diagnosed with mental competency issues. It is possible to enter a drug treatment program without being considered disabled and therefore prohibited from gun ownership.

A gun crimes lawyer from our firm can help you understand the complexities of state law.

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Resources for Using Weapons While Intoxicated Charges in Cincinnati

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Ohio News Stories on Using Weapons While Intoxicated Cases

  • Ohio High Court Upholds Ban on Gun Possession While Drunk – State Supreme Court justices voted 4-3 to uphold Ohio law that prohibits using weapons while intoxicated. Lawyers for a 50-year-old defendant asserted that the law should not apply if an individual is intoxicated in his or her own home.
  • Ohio “Stand Your Ground” Law Starts – Senate Bill 175, known as the “Stand Your Ground” law, expands the rights of gun owners who use lethal force in self-defense. The law removes the “duty to retreat” requirement that was previously mandatory in these situations.

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FAQs for Using Weapons While Intoxicated Charges in Cincinnati

Q.Is it a felony for using weapons while intoxicated in Ohio?

A. This is not a felony crime. You could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if you are arrested for using weapons while intoxicated in Ohio.

Q. What are the penalties if I am convicted of using a weapon while intoxicated?

A. The sentencing guidelines for a first-degree misdemeanor include a maximum prison sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

Q. What are potential defenses for a using weapons while intoxicated charge?

A. Assuming that there are no irregularities with your arrest or with the prosecution’s evidence, potential defenses include self-defense and defense of a third person (like a family member, friend, or stranger).

Q. Someone slipped drugs into my drink while I had my legal firearm in my purse. Would I be convicted for carrying a weapon while under the influence?

A. Involuntary intoxication would be a valid defense in this situation. You were not aware, nor did you give consent, to be under the influence while you were carrying a firearm.

Q. Since it is not a felony charge, do I really need a lawyer for a using weapons while intoxicated case?

A. The maximum prison sentence for a first-degree misdemeanor is up to one year. There are also collateral penalties. This offense would appear on a criminal background check, which could interfere with your right to international travel, obtain a concealed weapon license, or be considered for certain jobs.

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Attorney for Using Weapons While Intoxicated in Cincinnati, OH

Joslyn Law Firm helps clients from all walks of life who find themselves in precarious legal situations. The criminal justice system is complex and not always sympathetic. That is why you are encouraged to call our Cincinnati criminal defense lawyers to help with your charges.

Our lawyers can negotiate reduced charges with the state’s prosecutors. We carefully examine the circumstances and evidence to see if there are valid procedural, evidentiary, or common law defenses.

Our goal is to help you avoid prison, hefty fines, and the stigma of being a convicted criminal. An attorney for using weapons while intoxicated in Cincinnati, Ohio, will protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome. We are an award-winning criminal defense firm with the knowledge and resources to defend your rights.

Call Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289 for a no-obligation consultation.

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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional excellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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