Section 2923.24 of the Ohio Revised Code defines possessing criminal tools as follows:
(A) No person shall possess or have under the person’s control any substance, device, instrument, or article, with purpose to use it criminally.
(B) Each of the following constitutes prima-facie evidence of criminal purpose:
(1) Possession or control of any dangerous ordnance or the materials or parts for making dangerous ordnance, in the absence of circumstances indicating the dangerous ordnance, materials, or parts are intended for legitimate use;
(2) Possession or control of any substance, device, instrument, or article designed or specially adapted for criminal use;
(3) Possession or control of any substance, device, instrument, or article commonly used for criminal purposes, under circumstances indicating the item is intended for criminal use.
(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of possessing criminal tools. Except as otherwise provided in this division, possessing criminal tools is a misdemeanor of the first degree. If the circumstances indicate that the substance, device, instrument, or article involved in the offense was intended for use in the commission of a felony, possessing criminal tools is a felony of the fifth degree.
Possessing Criminal Tools (PCT) in Ohio Can Have Negative Consequences
Possessing criminal tools (often referred to as PCT) may initially strike you as a minor charge, but if convicted of PCT, it can have negative consequences to you financially, in custody matters, enrolling in college or a vocational school, or in your professional endeavors. If you are charged with PCT you need to find an experienced defense attorney who can analyze the facts in your case and craft a defense for you.
Possessing Criminal Tools in Ohio – Misdemeanor Charges
When you are in possession of a substance, device, instrument, or article (“Item”), it is your intent that is the determinative factor whether you are convicted of PCT, even if no underlying crime has actually been committed.
The crime of possessing criminal tools is presumed to have occurred if you are 1) In the possession of a dangerous ordnance, which includes but is not limited to, an automatic or sawed-off firearm, zip-gun, or ballistic knife; Any explosive or incendiary device or any weapon designed and manufactured for military purposes; 2) In the possession of an Item not originally designed for criminal purposes, but adapted for criminal purposes; 3) In the possession of an Item that is commonly used for a criminal purpose and under circumstances indicating the Item is intended for criminal use. For example, you are found with a “chain cutter” in your possession and the chain and bike that has been reported stolen are also in the back of you pick-up truck, the chain cutter will be assumed to be an Item commonly used for criminal purpose that is actually being used for such purpose.
In these forgoing circumstances, PCT is a misdemeanor of the first degree (M-1). If convicted, an M-1 is punishable up six months in jail, a fine not to exceed $1,000 and restitution can be ordered. An M-1 PCT is also a probationable offense.
Possessing Criminal Tools in Ohio – Felony Charges
It should be noted that a felony PCT is determined by the circumstances surrounding the offense. If it has been suspected or proven that the criminal tool in your possession was involved in the commission of a felony, you’ll be charged with a fifth-degree felony. A felony of the fifth degree is punishable from six to twelve months in prison, a fine not to exceed $2,500 and you may be ordered to pay restitution. In lieu of prison you may be placed on probation for up to five years.
The charge of PCT is something to be taken seriously, particularly since, to be convicted, you do not necessarily have to commit an underlying crime.
If you have been charged with possessing criminal tools in Ohio
If you have been charged with possessing criminal tools in Ohio, an experienced criminal defense attorney will help determine whether you have any defense(s) to the charge(s) and thoroughly discuss your options. Should you decide to go to trial, a skilled defense attorney is an absolute necessity. For more information and a free consultation, please contact Jeff Hastings, experienced Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney.