The disruption of public services in the state of Ohio is a serious crime. Disruptions can range from the interruption of communications and transportation, in any form, to tampering with utilities such as gas, electric, and water. If you have been charged with disrupting public services, the sooner you enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney, the better your chances of building the best possible defense against this charge.
Section 2909.04 of the Ohio Revised Code defines disrupting public services
“(A) No person, purposely by any means or knowingly by damaging or tampering with any property, shall do any of the following:
(1) Interrupt or impair television, radio, telephone, telegraph, or other mass communications service; police, fire, or other public service communications; radar, loran, radio, or other electronic aids to air or marine navigation or communications; or amateur or citizens band radio communications being used for public service or emergency communications;
(2) Interrupt or impair public transportation, including without limitation school bus transportation, or water supply, gas, power, or other utility service to the public;
(3) Substantially impair the ability of law enforcement officers, firefighters, rescue personnel, emergency medical services personnel, or emergency facility personnel to respond to an emergency or to protect and preserve any person or property from serious physical harm.
(B) No person shall knowingly use any computer, computer system, computer network, telecommunications device, or other electronic device or system or the internet so as to disrupt, interrupt, or impair the functions of any police, fire, educational, commercial, or governmental operations….”
If you are convicted of disruption of a public services it is a felony of the fourth-degree. A fourth-degree felony is punishable between 6 and 18 months (in one month increments) in prison and a fine up to $5,000. You could receive court community control sanctions (also called probation) instead of a prison sentence and be required to pay court costs, restitution and fine. If you are sent to prison you may also be placed on three years of post-release control (also called parole) after your release from prison.
Understanding the Charges of Disrupting Public Services
In Ohio, you can be charged with disrupting public services if you take a cell phone from someone or pull the house phone off the wall. As you would expect defending against this charge takes experience and insight. The primary idea behind this law is to discourage individuals from interfering with or disrupting the many public services we all enjoy and take for granted. There are several situations that may fall under this statute.
- Disrupting Public Services: Communications
Interrupting communications in any manner can result in a charge of disrupting public services. This includes radio, video, and telephone transmissions, or interrupting the use of a computer.
- Disrupting Public Services: Transportation and Utilities
Public and school bus transportation is also a public service that falls under this law, as does the disruption of public utilities such as the water, gas, and electric.
- Disrupting Public Services: Personnel
One can also be charged with this crime if they substantially impair the ability of law enforcement officers, firefighters, rescue personnel, emergency medical services personnel, or nurses and doctors that work in a hospital emergency room in their efforts to respond to an emergency or attempting to protect and preserve any person or property from serious physical harm.
If you have been charged with disrupting public services in Ohio, an experienced criminal defense attorney will help determine whether you have any defense(s) to the charge(s) and will 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.